Subtitle: How to Write, Direct and Produce a New Musical by the Writer, Director and Producer of “How to Quit Your Day Job”
Step 1) Don’t. It’s too much work. No matter how much you love what you’re writing about – it’s too hard. The rewrite process alone will kill you.
Step 2) So you ignored my advice and did it anyways. I warned you. Now you need a composer. Find someone who is crazy enough to work with you. I was lucky to find Justin Paschalides, a superstar musician residing in VA who took my words and put them to the most incredible eclectic blend of traditional musical theatre melodies, funk, hip hop and blues. If you are lucky you will find your own Justin.
Step 3) Cast your show. Don’t create “types”. Don’t see the cast in your head. Be open. I managed to compile a cast of all people of color, not because I went out seeking a cast of PoC but because I was openminded and these happened to be the best four for the job. Vaughn Midder (TJ) is the guy in your show that goes above in beyond when he really doesn’t have to. He’s incredibly talented and that alone should be enough, but he’s always there to lend an extra hand and I couldn’t be more grateful. Remember that lifetime movie about Whitney Houston? Well Shannan E. Johnson (Kate) should have either been tapped to portray her or dub her vocals.
Janani Ramachandran (Izzy) is a breath of fresh air, with a voice that will make you smile and break your heart in the same sitting. Finally, Olufemi Daaka (Manny) is a rapper hailing from New Jersey who had never stepped foot on a stage prior to this but came armed with a keen ability to learn and grow as an artist. I can’t gush about them anymore or you’ll roll your eyes.
Step 4) Get a great crew who can put up with you. I’ve known my AD Marquia since she was 18 and I was…..older than 18. I’ve watched her grow so much as an artist and honesty couldn’t do this show without her. Our movement coach Vanessa Terghanzi is a jill of all trades and we are so lucky to have snagged her for this production.
I sit up at night saying ‘Why did you decide to create this show? This is too much work.’ But then I realize that I did it because I couldn’t NOT do it. We create because we have to. That’s what makes us artists. And that’s what this show is about – creating and giving your all to your art even when there’s no certainty that it’ll return the favor. I had to tell this story, my story. And I hope on July 10 you all will be there to listen.
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
How to Quit Your Day Job is at Corner Store Arts
starting July 10
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Fringe details and Tickets
Star Johnson is a writer, director and theatre curator thriving in DC.
She also serves on the Board of Directors at Silver Spring Stage
and enjoys seeing plays in her free time. J/K…she has no free time.