July 21, 2008

Live Theatre Says ‘I Do!’ to First Musical

By Jennifer Sterba, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

Jul. 21--Live Theatre Workshop celebrates two firsts this month -- the directorial debut of Tucsonan Missie Scheffman and the intimate theater's first main-stage musical production.

"I Do! I Do!" opens this weekend. The musical looks at the evolving relationship of a married couple, starting from the day they take their vows.

The original production was written for a large stage, says Scheffman, and the Live Theatre is an "intimate space." This production sets a smaller stage and prompts the two-person cast to interact with the audience through the wedding ceremony, their arguments and other moments in their relationship.

Scheffman chatted recently about keeping the flow of a musical on a smaller scale, as well as how she made the transition from acting to directing.

Why choose now to direct?

"I've wanted to direct for a while. I feel like I've been a pretty active part in the community in terms of acting, so this is something I've always been interested in doing. . . . The opportunity came up and I was very excited to take it on."

What's the transition from acting to directing been like?

"The most interesting thing is the fact that you go from focusing on everything about you -- it's sort of a one-track focus on your character.

"You just have to sort of bring together so many elements of the show. You're not only weighing what you have to do, but how this is going to affect everybody else in this production. You just have to take on so many different perspectives.

"How is this going to affect props? How is lighting going to affect the acting? It's a broader range of coordination.

"When you're acting you get a lot more personal feedback. In directing, the feedback comes in a good production -- all of these elements coming together to make a nice show. That's really rewarding."

Who will this story appeal to?

"The wonderful thing about this show is that most people who have ever encountered any kind of romantic relationship can relate to many different things in the show. While we've tried to focus on choreography and dance . . . ultimately what people are going to relate to is the great chemistry of the characters on stage. We thought the most important part of the show was to develop their relationship. I think that's going to capture the audience.

"I think people will be able to empathize and relate to what's going on in the show."

What is the obstacle to telling this story?

"The hardest part in general is the fact that we are asking so much of the cast. Not only are they singing, there's only two of them on stage, but they're also doing costume changes, they're doing a lot with props on stage. The hardest part has been coordinating different aspects of the show with a two-person cast and making it flow."

How did you overcome that obstacle?

"We've got great people we're working with. We've got a choreographer, two stage managers, a pianist, a costumer and a props person. I think we really put together a great team of people to work on the show.

"We delegated a lot of the responsibility to a good group who are excited to work on it. It's an exciting time for LTW because it's the first main-stage musical."

How will the cast interact with the audience?

"There are some songs and numbers that are directed at the audience. Just be open to having a good time.

"For example, in a couple of the scenes where they're having a fun argument, the cast members try to get the audience members on their side, so to speak.

"In the opening scene when they're getting ready, the audience becomes the congregation to the ceremony. The bride will throw a bouquet of flowers to the audience."


"I Do! I Do!"

--Story by: Tom Jones.

--Music by: Harvey Schmidt.

--Lyrics by: Tom Jones.

--Directed by: Missie Scheffman.

--Plot summary: We follow the lives of a young couple, Michael (Michael Martinez) and Agnes (Molly Holleran), from marriage, to children, to grandchildren and an entire life shared. This is Live Theatre Workshop's first musical.

--Runs: Previews are Thursday and Friday. Regular performances Saturday-Aug. 24.

--Where: Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway.

--Times and days: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Meet the cast at a post-show opening reception Saturday.

--Tickets: $19; $16 for military, seniors, students or those paying cash; $13 for preview performances Thursday and Friday. Call 327-4242 for reservations.

--Contact reporter Jennifer Sterba at 573-4179 or at [email protected]


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