We spoke to Brett Smock, the Producing Artistic Director of Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, about their upcoming production of Loch Ness, A New Musical by Marshall Pailet and A.D. Penedo. Both writers are Festival Alumni for The Chocolate Tree (Fest ’07). This upcoming production of Loch Ness has received a Frank Young Fund for New Musicals Production Grant.
On the mysterious waters of the Scottish Highlands, a father and daughter embark on a quest to discover a legendary creature—and rediscover their relationship—in this epic new musical adventure. Magically theatrical, and brought to life by fascinating puppetry and innovative ensemble storytelling, Loch Ness takes us on a mystical journey about finding your way…where you least expect it. Perfect for the entire family.
I saw the production last year at Adirondack Theatre Festival and was intrigued by its smart, sophisticated handling of poignant material combined with a magical treatment of this mythic creature.
What inspired you to produce the show?
The team, their smarts, the vision and their passion for the show. I appreciated its diverse appeal to audiences of all ages coupled with the wonderful humor and humanity in the story.
How does this new production of Loch Ness fit into FLMTF’s overall commitment to new works development?
We are dedicated to the development of new musicals here at the Festival. Loch Ness gives us a chance to deepen our investment in stories with wide appeal and we’re honored to partner with the team to bring to life such a unique and innovative piece of theatre.
What has the developmental process looked like as you’ve worked with the writers to prepare for this new production?
The team is focused on specific goals and targets. We have been working together for over a year now hand in hand with the commercial producers and the creative team. Casting is complete, designs are finalizing, marketing is well underway, developmental work sessions have taken place over the year to help the team prep for this production and deepen the process of realizing the design, puppet and choreography needs for this coming production. There really hasn’t been a time when the team wasn’t working on the piece.
What makes FLMTF a great partner for the piece, and why are your audiences the perfect fit for this show?
The commercial producers wanted another production to help realize a specific set of targeted goals and after much consideration and discussion, I believed we could help. So we will serve as a development opportunity for many aspects of the show, while also allowing our audiences to benefit from this great story and its wide appeal.
Why should folks plan a trip to Auburn to see the show, and check out your other summer programming?
We’re close to the city—only four hours away. Producers and investors can fly up and back in the same day to see the show. However, we also provide some nice seclusion for teams to take up residency, immerse and focus on the world of their new musical. We avoid scrutiny by New York press and that allows teams to focus on their process in a pure way. Due to our new works initiative, The PiTCH, our audiences are primed and enthusiastic about new works and increasingly interested in the process of how a large scale musical is developed. To date, the PiTCH has seen 65 new musicals pass through its doors. On our mainstage, we have had the great pleasure of being part of the developmental process for five new musicals as they each chart their path toward Broadway. We care a great deal about ensuring producers and creatives have a supported and encouraging environment that nurtures their process and product.