This month, we caught up with David Darrow, the writer of 2017 Festival show The Passage, to check in with him before the show is featured at Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals this summer.
I was really happy with the response since the NAMT Festival. The show is built around one moment that happens at the very end and with our cutting, we chose not to show that moment, but instead to leave the audience wondering what the fate of our heroes would be. It lead to a lot of great conversations immediately after the readings and throughout the rest of the Festival. We sent materials to several theaters who’d expressed interest, and I’m thrilled that Village Theatre decided to include it in their Festival of New Musicals this August in Issaquah.
Did presenting The Passage at the Festival help you discover anything new about the show? What work have you done on it since then?
Absolutely. Creating the cut for the NAMT Festival presentation is an exercise in economy. I like to think I’m pretty efficient but it’s amazing how much we were able to cut and still get the story across for the truncated presentation. A lot of the cuts we made for the Festival I ended up keeping. There’s at least one new song that we’re trying out at Village. The Passage is a bit unusual because the lead characters, two twelve-year-olds, don’t sing at all. Instead, an ensemble of adults do all of the singing, providing the voice for the kids’ inner lives. Brandon Ivie, one of the consultants for The Passage at the NAMT Festival, and the director of the Village reading, suggested that we break that convention at the very end of the play and give Albert, the main character, a song of his own. I thought it was a really powerful idea and I ended up writing the song in a few hours.
What are you most excited to share with audiences at Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals this summer?
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this whole show in front of an audience. It builds for such a long time, and while it was successful to leave the NAMT audience hanging, I’m excited for audiences to experience the full arc with the new material we’ve created.
What do you hope is next for The Passage and how can interested NAMT members get involved now?
I’m working with a producer, Franki de la Vega, who was a huge help at NAMT and has been working with me and Brandon on the show, getting it ready for the Village reading. We’re looking to stage the updated version of The Passage at a regional theatre, and we are happy to send the latest draft of the show to any NAMT members that might be interested in the latest version of the show.
Why should everyone mark their calendars and make plans to visit Issaquah and see The Passage this summer?
The story is so universal—it’s this fantastic adventure full of monsters and epic danger, and the audience is drawn into this extraordinary journey these children are on, but in the end, there are many in the audience who have fought or are fighting the same monster, the same battle. It’s about them, but they don’t know it till the very end.