Show Week!

July 26, 2016

Archetype runs this week, so amidst rehearsals and the general craziness of everyday life, I was able to learn more about the show and the Musical  Theater Lab in general from the director and co-curator herself, Dev Bondarin!

Dev got involved with Prospect in 2005 as a part of her graduate school studies. Meanwhile, the Musical Theater Lab began in 2008 with Museum Pieces, a production comprised of eight short musicals that were each based upon a work of art. Prospect encourages collaboration and supports emerging artists, and the Lab does just this. As Dev recalls, “The event got such a wonderful response from audiences and participants that Prospect decided to bring it back again and again…and again.”

As for her initial involvement, she asked Cara (that’s Cara Reichel, the Producing Artistic Director of Prospect in case you didn’t know) if she could direct one of the eight Museum Pieces, and Cara agreed. By the time the Lab came back the next year, Dev was ready to take on the entire project, and she has been directing it herself ever since!

Since 2008, Dev notes some changes in how the Lab is run: “Cara and I have continued to hone the ideas of the assignments and also how we engage with the writers and facilitate the writers connecting with one another. It’s really important that the writers are connected from the start and don’t just meet at the dress rehearsal.” This mentality has cultivated a rewarding program that artists really enjoy.

So how does Archetype factor in?
The theme of each year’s Lab comes from a variety of things ranging from the time of year to any constraints based upon the venue. Each year, they “look to come up with something that is open ended enough so that writers can make their mark but also clear enough that the pieces will be connected.” Archetype was picked because of the characters’ multi-faceted natures; Dev and Cara were interested in doing a character-driven production rather than a visual-based production, and “archetypal characters are present onstage almost all the time.”
In terms of how the writers get picked, it’s generally an application process – although sometimes they reach out to writers they are interested in working with. Writing teams usually apply together (“unless of course they are what we refer to as a “team of one” which is someone who writes book, music, and lyrics”).
 Dev suggests definitely applying to the lab to meet people and share your work if you are pursuing a career in musical theatre writing! She also suggests checking out programs like those at NYU and BMI. As for her favorite part of the lab, she has a bunch! “I love the first rehearsal where everyone comes together for the first time and hears about all of the pieces. I also love the moments right before that rehearsal when I am the one person who knows what all the shows are about. Sharing the evening with an audience is also particularly special as viewers always have different moments and shows that they like the best.”
I hope you come join us this week for Archetype and experience the show as your own!

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