Backstage Blog

Your Guide to Rocky Horror!

Rocky Guide Image

Whether you’re a Rocky Virgin or you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ll need to know a few things before coming to our production. We only ask that you have two things with you to see The Rocky Horror Show – A sense of humor and money for your ticket. Everything else is up to you.

Audience Participation:

  • No throwing of anything onto the stage. Period.
  • If you’re going to yell out – don’t be offensive.  If you’re vulgar Frank will throw you out.
  • That being said, there will be swearing.
  • Dress up…or don’t. Just make sure your naughty bits are covered. And don’t be an a**hole like Brad by blocking anyone’s view with a huge hat.
  • Costume Contests will take place before the late night shows on April 15, 22, and 29 as well as Out @ Cygnet on March 23.

“Performance Enhancers” aka Props:
Cygnet will have prop kits available for purchase for $5 at concessions. Please see a doctor if your props last longer than 4 hours.

What is absolutely forbidden:

  • Food of any kind: Toast, rice, hotdogs, prunes – Can anyone say ants?
  • Noisemakers/Bell – Nope.
  • Toilet paper – Great Scott! TP is hard to clean.
  • Water guns – Just no.
  • Lighters and matches – We’d have to put out the fires with water guns but they aren’t allowed.
  • Confetti – Known as the herpes of art supplies, confetti is hard to get rid of so we’re not allowing it.

Cygnet Theatre reserves the right to determine what is allowed into the venue. All persons and property are subject to search upon entry…hey, you might even like it! Anything that is not allowed will be confiscated.

Give yourself over to absolute pleasure:
Again, our goal is to provide a safe, enjoyable and authentic “Rocky Horror” experience. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated, dammit!

 

Season 14 Announced!

From classic musicals to shocking contemporary works, Season 2016-17 promises to be a true “Cygnet” Season

Every season must reflect the mission of the company and for the past 13 years, Artistic Director Sean Murray has crafted uniquely Cygnet seasons that reflect the commitment to “startle the soul, embrace diversity and ignite debate.” This year is no exception. The seven productions in Season 14 range from the traditional to the avant- garde and include two musical theatre classics, a two-show repertory by a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, the return of a holiday favorite and two contemporary works sure to shock and amaze.

“I’m really proud of the diversity and quality of this season,” says Murray. “Leave it to us to go from a stripper, to an ex-con, to one naughty little boy in just one season. That’s exciting. That’s Cygnet!”

SEASON XIV: 2016-2017
List of Plays

GYPSY
July 14th – Sept 4th
Music by Jule Styne and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Arthur Laurents
Directed by Sean Murray
Choreography by David Brannen
Music Direction by Terry O’Donnell

Indomitable stage mother Rose chases vicarious success and stardom as she pushes her daughters through the vaudeville circuit. When Dainty June flees the act to elope, Rose vows to make introverted Louise into a star. Boasting one show-stopping song after another—like “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Let Me Entertain You”—this classic musical was inspired by the memoirs of the legendary burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee. Featuring Linda Libby as Mama Rose, Allison Spratt Pearce as Louise, Katie Whalley-Banville as Dainty June, and Manny Fernandes as Herbie.

“The quintessential American musical” – Hollywood Reporter

Gypsy cast members: Manny Fernandes, Allison Spratt-Pearce, Linda Libby, Katie Whalley-Banville

Gypsy cast members: Manny Fernandes, Allison Spratt-Pearce, Linda Libby, Katie Whalley-Banville

Repertory
SEVEN GUITARS
Sept 28th – Nov 6th
By August Wilson
San Diego Premiere

In the backyard of a Pittsburgh tenement in 1948, friends gather to mourn for a blues guitarist and singer who died just as his career was on the verge of taking off. The action that follows is a flashback to the busy week leading up to Floyd’s sudden and unnatural death. Seven Guitars is part bawdy comedy, part dark elegy and part mystery. This lyrical play is the sixth in August Wilson’s ten-play cycle which charts the African-American experience through each decade of the 20th century and is performed in rep with King Hedley II.

“Rich, music-drenched drama” – New York Times

Repertory
KING HEDLEY II
Sep. 29th
– Nov. 6th
By August Wilson
San Diego Premiere

King Hedley II shares the story of King –a man recently released from prison, attempting to rebuild his 
life amid changing times and a backdrop of the crime and drug struggles in the community he exists in. King dreams of a life 
of stability and self-reliance beyond incarceration, gangs and broken family. The play dares to ask what it takes to transcend 
the limitations of life and personal circumstance, and if pure will is enough to change a man’s destiny. King Hedley II is the eighth play in August Wilson’s ten-play cycle that, decade by decade, examines African American life in the United States during the twentieth century.

“Mesmerizing…. Full of powerful images that convey the darkly comic dialogue between hope and hopelessness in African American life.” – N.Y. Daily News

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Nov 22nd – Dec 24th
Adaptation & Lyrics by Sean Murray
Original Score by Billy Thompson
Directed by Sean Murray
Musical Direction by Patrick Marion

Cygnet Theatre invites you to start your own family tradition with one of ours. This season welcomes the return of the holiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption. This re-imagined, fully staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry, and live sound effects. Step into a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling experience that is sure to delight the entire family!

“Critics Pick” in 2014 – San Diego Union Tribune

A Christmas Carol (2015)

A Christmas Carol (2015)

BAD JEWS
Jan 12th – Feb 12th
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Rob Lutfy
San Diego Premiere

The night after their grandfather’s funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal battle royale over a family heirloom. In one corner is the unstoppable and self-assured force of “Super Jew” Daphna. In the other, the immovable and entitled object of her secular cousin Liam. And in the middle is Liam’s brother Jonah, trying to stay out of the fray. Bad Jews is a savage comedy about family, faith, and legacy.

“The funniest play of the year.”-The Washington Post
“Delectably savage humor” – The New York Times

ON THE 20TH CENTURY
March 9th – April 30th
San Diego Premiere
Book and Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Music by Cy Coleman
Directed by Sean Murray

Its nonstop laughs aboard the Twentieth Century, a luxury train traveling from Chicago to New York City. Luck, love and mischief collide when the bankrupt theater producer Oscar Jaffee embarks on a madcap mission to cajole glamorous Hollywood starlet Lily Garland into playing the lead in his new, non-existent epic drama. But is the train ride long enough to reignite the spark between these former lovers, create a play from scratch, and find the money to get it all the way to Broadway? Featuring Eileen Bowman as Lily Garland and Melinda Gilb as Letitia Primrose.

“Old-fashioned musical comedy magic”– USA Today
“The show is a nonstop delight.” – The New York Post

On the Twentieth Century cast members: Melinda Gilb & Eileen Bowmann

On the Twentieth Century cast members: Melinda Gilb & Eileen Bowmann

SHOCKHEADED PETER
May 18th – June 18th
West Coast Regional Premiere
Music by Adrian Huge, Martyn Jacques, Adrian Stout
Lyrics by Martyn Jacques
Book by Julian Bleach, Anthony Cairns, Graeme Gilmour, Tamzin Griffen
Based on Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann
Directed by Rob Lutfy

Fall into the world of Victorian Steam-punk nightmares as a manic music-box spins stories of naughty children and misguided parents. Silly and sinister, Shockheaded Peter dares us to ask what’s beneath the floorboards. Don’t miss the most damning tale ever told on stage!

“A vile and repulsive story told by reprehensible characters in a thoroughly degenerate fashion – Absolute Bliss” – David Bowie
“A wryly seedy cabaret-punk musical” -Variety

 Come join us for this wild ride! Tickets and new subscriptions will be available for purchase on March 1st.  

Interview with the Master Puppeteer

From The Lion King to Avenue Q to Hand to God, puppets have long been a part of the theatre scene. At Cygnet Theatre, this year’s holiday favorite A Christmas Carol features updated puppets designed by master San Diego Puppeteer Lynne Jennings. Jennings, a local institution, is Board President of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry, which has been creating lasting memories for nearly 60 years here in beautiful San Diego. They teach, perform, build and share the magic of puppet theatre with the community. 

We reached Lynne in her home studio to ask a few questions about her creative process.

How did you get started designing puppets for the theatre?

Lynne Jennings

Lynne Jennings

I got my start designing puppets and scripts for my own shows, and for the shows of other puppeteers. The advent of Julie Taymor’s “Lion King” and other similar productions brought the form more visibility, and with that, more opportunities to collaborate with the “regular” theatre world. Several examples of Guild collaborations with SD theatres include San Diego Symphony’s “Carnival of the Animals”, USD’s “Anonymous”, Point Loma Nazarene’s “Magic Flute”, and La Jolla Playhouse’s Pop Tour production of “Recipe for Disaster”.

Is this your first time working with Cygnet? First holiday show?

Yes, although Sean (director) mentioned wanting to eventually do an all puppet version of “A Christmas Carol” close to 20 years ago. Needless to say, I was delighted to finally be asked to work with this company.

It is not my first holiday show. We did a number for what was initially called “Christmas on the Prado” in Balboa Park, back in the days when we were in the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. Most notably, “Joanie and the Toy Thief”, our initial production for the event and the familiar classic, “The Shoemaker and the Elves”. Adult theatre holiday collaborations have included Diversionary Theatre’s “Long Christmas Ride Home” and most recently, Stephen Metcalf’s “The Gift Teller” for Scripps Ranch Theatre in 2013, directed by Lisa Berger.

What was your assignment for A Christmas Carol? What were you looking to achieve?

I was asked to build a new, larger (3 feet high), lighter, more lifelike “Tiny Tim” that was easier to manipulate for the guys over at contactvirginmedia.com. This led to Sean’s feeling they needed a new Young Scrooge who was similar in design to “Tim”, re-rigging last year’s “Turkey Boy”, to be closer to the style of Tim and Young Scrooge, and lastly, the two puppets of “Want” and “Ignorance”.

Foam block and patterns

Foam block and patterns

Are these a particular style?

Tim and Young Scrooge are full body, Americanized “Bunraku” style puppets, also referred to as “Tabletop”, although in this production they are not operated on a table. Turkey Boy is a soft body marionette, and Want and Ignorance are hand puppets. They were originally flat figures I made several years ago for another theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol that attached to the inside of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s cloak. When Sean decided that the figures he had been using didn’t work as he had wanted, I reworked these so they became 3D hand puppets that could appear and play from underneath the hem of the Ghost.

Young Scrooge in Process

Young Scrooge in Process

Give us some facts and figures for the show.

I ended up making two from scratch and revamping three existing puppets. There are seven total “traditional” puppets in the show. Tim, Young Scrooge, Urchin, Past, Ignorance, Want, and Future.  However from a puppeteer’s perspective, I’d say there are over a dozen in the show including Marley’s ghost chains (they are manipulated by actors from behind); the coal scuttle; the small flying versions of Christmas Present and Scrooge and more.

Ignorance and Want

Ignorance and Want

What was your biggest challenge?

Squeezing in the time to create the additional puppets. It would have been great to have had double or triple the time, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

Do you work with the actors to help them “perform” with their puppet partners? 

Normally, yes! In the majority of our collaborative work with theatres we work hand in hand with the productions’ director, teaching the actors how to bring their puppets to life. In this show, my input was minimal as Sean is highly capable and has a great eye for puppetry.

Tiny Tim and Scrooge

Tiny Tim and Scrooge

What is one thing you think audiences would be surprised to find out about these puppets?

Perhaps that they are created of upholstery foam; their general shapes cut on a band saw, and the fine detail work carved with razor blades, and curve bladed manicure scissors.

Catch this classic holiday musical (and its puppets!) directed by Sean Murray, Nov. 27 – Dec. 27 at Cygnet Theatre.

Sean Murray on Noël Coward

In the last of our three part interview series, we talked Noël Coward with Artistic Director Sean Murray, who will be directing The Vortex in rep with Hay Fever (directed by Rob Lutfy). Here’s what Sean had to say….

What drew you to Coward and these two very different shows in particular?

Sean Murray

Sean Murray

I’ve been enamored with Noel Coward and his work since I was introduced to his writing while I was in high school. First I was attracted to his wit, glamor and talent. His music was fun and clever. With time I began to discover that there is a deeper level in his work than readily apparent on the surface. He was consistently making revolutionary waves couched in his trademark style and glib barbs. Underneath the wit were biting commentaries on society and culture. He was a young playwright responding to a world that had recently come out of the other end of World War I. The War had shattered all sense of status quo and it was impossible for the young people who fought and survived that war to return to the social system from before the mayhem. For the youth of the 1920s, very little that had come before made any sense. Their disaffected and disillusioned view of life began to manifest itself into a decade of breaking norms and indulging in such scandalous things such as jazz, alcohol, drugs, and new fashions.

For a new nihilistic post-war world, Coward created plays that told these stories in ways that the middle and upper classes could enjoy them for their wit, but also allow themselves to be scandalized by their flagrant lack of morality. His plays dealt with characters who were divorced, inside society but critical of society; they did drugs, they had torrid affairs, terrible manners (in a country that rely on manners to keep things civil.) He was portraying a lost generation in search of meaning. His songs Play Orchestra Play, Poor Little Rich Girl, World Weary, etc, were songs that depicted a disillusioned generation dancing frantically to keep ahead of the haunting notion that nothing matters.

Coward had written several plays when a producer came to him to propose his West End debut and asked him which one should be his introduction to the West End audience. Both The Vortex and Hay Fever were in his list. He chose The Vortex because as he put it, “there was a ripping good role in it for [himself]” So The Vortex opened with Coward playing the central role of Nicky. He became an over night sensation and continued to be so for his entire career.

Coward in The Vortex (1925)

Coward in The Vortex (1925)

Hay Fever opened shortly thereafter, both plays running for a time concurrently on the West End. Both plays deal with a family who are outside of the accepted norms of society, for differing reasons. One is a comedy of manners, light, funny and a little naughty. The other is one of Coward’s only serious dramas. As he’s not particularly known for his serious side, The Vortex is seldom produced. By pairing it up with it’s doppleganger, Hay Fever, we can explore to very different sides of Noel Coward: his popular persona full of wit and clever barbs, and the other his less known but revolutionary and scathingly serious persona.

Hay Fever (1925)

Hay Fever (1925)

Why is he an important playwright and/or how is he a distinctly “Cygnet” choice?

It’s good to present Coward with fresh contemporary eyes. Allow his social critic voice to be heard. We like to do familiar work and bring it a fresh perspective.

Rosina Rep

Rosina Reynolds in The Vortex and Hay Fever

How do you feel these two plays work together? How is presenting in rep exciting? Challenging? 

There are some similar themes between these two plays. they are opposites in terms of their energy and the style of their story telling. The Vortex being a serious drama, a story about an alienated mother and her son facing hard truths about their relationship together, and Hay Fever, a light comedy of manners about an ill mannered and self absorbed family “entertaining” guests in their own indifferent and rude way.

What do you want audiences to experience from seeing both?
To be entertained, and to gain an appreciation for Coward, the playwright.

Catch The Vortex, directed by Sean Murray, in rep with Hay Fever, Sept. 23 – Nov. 8th at Cygnet Theatre.  Buy tickets now. 

Want more? Read Rosina Reynolds on Noel Coward.

Rob Lutfy on Noël Coward

In Part 2 of our three part interview series, we talked Noël Coward with Rob Lutfy, who will be directing Hay Fever in rep with The Vortex (directed by Sean Murray). Here’s what Rob had to say….

What drew you to Coward and these two very different shows in particular?

CYGNET 2014 (43)

Rob Lutfy

Coward was born to a middle class family and began a very successful acting career very young. He found himself at a young age accepted at the very top of society and managed to fit in there, while at the same time getting them to laugh at themselves and how shallow and misdirected they were.

Sean Murray articulates it better than I in our first email correspondence about the plays:

“Coward was dangerous, and safe. The perfect money maker. Remember that The Vortex was very close to being shut down by the censors for its flagrant display of drug use, homosexuality and loose morals. His first show was scandalous. His second show Hay Fever is just as scandalous but within the safe environs of drawing room comedy. He learned that he could make just as shocking a statement but palatable. Disguise the social commentary. His plays are vicious and naughty, not fa fa fa over martinis and vape pens as the cliché for him goes.”

Why is he an important playwright and/or how is he a distinctly “Cygnet” choice?

Coward wrote over 50 published plays and many albums of original songs, in addition to musical theatre, comic revues, poetry, short stories, a novel and three volumes of autobiography. His stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, including an Academy Honorary Award. Oh yes and he was knighted in 1969. So yes I’d say he is an important playwright.

The playwright John Osborne said, “Mr Coward is his own invention and contribution to this century. Anyone who cannot see that should keep well away from the theatre.” The Times said of him, “None of the great figures of the English theatre has been more versatile than he.”

As to why this is a distinctly Cygnet choice, let me draw a generational line. Without Coward there would have been no Pinter, without Pinter there would be no Andrew Bovell (the writer of When the Rain Stops Falling). We produce shows in our Repertory series to contextualize other shows in our season, past and present. We see the shoulders contemporary playwrights stand on; and by doing, see how the torch has been passed.

The company of Hay Fever and The Vortex

The company of Hay Fever and The Vortex

How do you feel these two plays work together? How is presenting repertory works exciting? Challenging? 

When Sean and I first started talking about this water softener.Sean wanted to honor Coward by showing two very different sides of the same man. Coward wrote Hay Fever at the age of 24 in three days while he was performing in The Vortex. Despite being known for his high comedies, Coward was also an unhappy gay man. Coward lived his life behind a mask–he had a public and a private persona. In some ways these two plays show both of those personas. Hay Fever- the public and The Vortex- the private.

Noël Coward and Elaine Stritch

Noël Coward and Elaine Stritch

In England, homosexuality was considered a criminal act until 1967. According to actress Elaine Stritch, “He was one of the saddest men I have ever known.”

It is very stimulating to have two directors working with the same actors and designers. There are compromises of course because we have two distinctively different shows. The Vortex has more locations and Sean is setting it in the 1960s, after another very significant war.

What do you want audiences to experience from seeing both?

These plays are about the 1 percent and how fame and money affect people. They are post World War, a shell-shocked society where all norms have been blown up in the reality of the trenches. The characters in both plays are trying to hold onto status quo in a world that has been forever altered by that war. They are about amorality vs. weak morality, conventional vs. unconventional and rebellion. It is also about artists making their way into the leisure class for the first time. Sean Fanning has designed a set for these plays that is a glass house- these people love to be on display. The design reflects on the plastic, surfacy, glossy, shallow world of the people in BOTH of these plays.

Hay Fever and The Vortex

Hay Fever and The Vortex

How will you share directing duties, work with casts etc.?

We have to be organized and have a killer stage management team, luckily we do. We also have two incredible assistant directors that will be helping to ensure that nothing falls between the cracks. This will be the first time at Cygnet that two directors are working on the Rep series.

What is your own experience with Coward either in acting or directing?

I have never worked on a Coward play, only read and seen his work. My mentor, Gerald Freedman was famous for directing high comedy. I will be channeling all the comedy technique that he has taught me over the years.

Catch Hay Fever, directed by Rob Lutfy, in rep with The Vortex, Sept. 23 – Nov. 8th at Cygnet Theatre. Buy Tickets Now.

Want More?  Read Rosina Reynolds on Noel Coward. 

Rosina Reynolds on Noël Coward

In Part 1 of our three part interview series, we talked Noël Coward with one of the stars, Rosina Reynolds, who plays Judith Bliss in Hay Fever and Florence Lancaster in The Vortex.  Next up are directors Sean Murray (The Vortex) and Rob Lutfy (Hay Fever).

Here’s what Rosina had to say….

250px-NoelCoward

Noël Coward

What draws you to Coward? Coward has always been a particular favorite of mine. What couldn’t you ask for….style, fabulously complex characters, brilliant language, clever repartee, and you get to wear gorgeous costumes.

Why do you think he is an important playwright? Coward is one of the great figures of English theatre, his plays rank in the classical tradition of Congreve, Sheridan, Wilde and Shaw. Harold Pinter had a huge regard for Coward, and considered him a big influence. There are similarities in their construction of language. Pinter wrote that watching Coward taught him that a playwright can have two characters saying one thing while clearly thinking about and meaning something else.

How do you feel these two roles work together? How is presenting a repertory exciting for you as an actor? Challenging? Judith and Florence are women with similar stories but hugely different ways of living their lives…a kind of ying and yang of women. To explore both of them at the same time is a gift…to explore the polar opposites presented by these two women. Will it be challenging…you bet…but isn’t that why we do it?

Rosina Rep

Rosina as Florence in The Vortex and as Judith in Hay Fever

 Have you worked on a Rep before? Quite a while ago. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

How will you prepare for these very different roles in different eras? Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. And rehearsal. Costumes and wigs will inform greatly.

What is your own experience/background with Coward either in acting or directing? I have been in Hay Fever twice, both time playing Myra Arundel. I was Amanda in Private Lives (San Diego Critics Circle/Craig Noel award for Best Actress) I have directed Fallen Angels and Blythe Spirit.

How do you feel about being back at Cygnet? It’s like coming home.

Rosina in Noises Off, The Glass Menagerie, Arcadia, Little Foxes, and Copenhagen

Rosina in Noises Off, The Glass Menagerie, Arcadia, Little Foxes, and Copenhagen

My Fair Lady: The Myth, The Play, The Musical (Part 1)

Part One:The Myth

In this three part series, our resident dramaturge Taylor Wycoff, walks us through the history of how My Fair Lady came to be. Before it became one of the most popular musicals of the century, it was a play.  And before it was a play, it was a myth…

As a dramaturge, when you’re tasked with a beloved classic like My Fair Lady, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Things like Covent Garden in early 20th century London, or English currency PRE-decimalization. But one thing I found absolutely delightful about working on this show was revisiting its roots. It’s common knowledge that the critically acclaimed musical is based on George Bernard Shaw’s famous play-turned-Academy-Award-winning movie, Pygmalion. What’s lesser known is that the roots of Shaw’s play actually date all the way back to ancient Greece with the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Étienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion et Galatée

Étienne Maurice Falconet: Pygmalion et Galatée

So who was Pygmalion? And how did his story end up inspiring such a female-centric narrative? He is most familiar from Ovid’s narrative poem Metamorphoses as the legendary sculptor from Cyprus (Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton), who fell in love with a statue he carved. As the story goes, Pygmalion was so sick of the imperfections of women that he sculpted the perfect woman out of ivory and fell in love with her. At the festival of Aphrodite, when it came time to play his part in the processional, Pygmalion stood before the altar and timidly said, “Ye If you gods can give all things, may I have as my wife, I pray”- he dared not say “the ivory maiden,” but said instead-“one like the ivory maiden.” Aphrodite, who was present at the festival, heard him and knew the thought he would have uttered.

Pygmalion by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1786

Pygmalion by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1786

Showing her favor, she caused the altar’s flame to flare up three times, shooting a long flame of fire into the still air. After the day’s festivities, when Pygmalion returned home and kissed his Galatea, as was his custom, he was startled by the warmth of her kiss, for Aphrodite had answered his prayers. Aphrodite further blessed the happiness and union of this couple with a child. Pygmalion and Galatea named the child Paphos, for which the city is still known until this day.

Check back next week to learn about George Bernard Shaw and how he adapted this myth into the more well known play of the same title!

A Marriage Made in Theatre Heaven

At Cygnet Theatre, we like to think of ourselves as one big happy family, but two of our My Fair Lady cast members took it a bit more seriously! Featured in multiple roles in the show are married couple Bryan Banville (Assassins) and Katie Whalley Banville (Company, Man of La Mancha). This is not the first time a married couple has taken the stage. The Norman Conquests featured Sandy & Danny Campbell, Bed and Sofa featured Lance Arthur Smith & Colleen Kollar Smith and Assassins included Manny & Melissa Fernandes.

We love Bryan and Katie’s “meet cute” theatre love story and wanted to share it – including the roles fellow cast members Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby played in their romance. A little late for Valentines Day, but very romantic nonetheless! Bryan tells us the tale….

How did you two meet?

I saw Katie in ion theatre’s production of Gypsy. In awe of her performance – and her legs – I asked Ralph Johnson, who was also in the production with her, and Justin Tuazon-Martin, who was in Cygnet’s production of Man of La Mancha with Katie and I, to be introduced. Ralph gave Katie my information, and we connected MONTHS later – due to my shyness – and finally had our first date where I showed up 45 minutes early and waited at the restaurant while Katie showed up 30 minutes early and waited in her car. Although it took a while for the second date to happen, delayed by car troubles, injuries, and plain old scheduling, we both showed up to our second date in the same, identical rental car… And the rest is theatre history.

Katie and Byran backstage in Man of La Mancha

Katie and Byran backstage in Man of La Mancha

 

When and where did you get married?

We were married at the beautiful and historical Lafayette Hotel in 2014. We had an amazing celebration marked with the love and support of our family, friends, and the wonderful members of the San Diego theater community. Sunny Haines (who often works backstage as a dresser at Cygnet) was our wedding planner, Kurt Norby provided all the music, David Brannen (choreographer of My Fair Lady) choreographed our first dance, Jen Wheeler-Khan (Stage Manager at the Playhouse and Old Globe) provided the wonderful decorations, Linda Libby read a beautiful passage during the ceremony, and the wonderful Ralph Johnson got ordained and married us!

The wedding ceremony performed by friend and Cygnet artist Ralph Johnson

The wedding ceremony performed by friend and Cygnet artist Ralph Johnson

What happens when two talented performers get married and share a first dance? Take a look here, we are able to provide this video to you thanks to phoenix video production who did an excellent job.

How many times have you worked together?

My Fair Lady will be our 7th production together since we met! Our first production as a couple was at Cygnet when we did Man of La Mancha together. We went on to perform in Mixtape for Lamb’s Players Theatre where we got to go to the 80’s prom every night together. Since we have been married we have done a total of 5 shows including My Fair Lady. Right after our wedding we started rehearsals for Passion at ion theatre and then spent the summer at Moonlight Theatre in Vista performing in Spamalot, Mary Poppins, and Catch Me If You Can - the last two, we got to be dance partners which was super fun!

Share your dream roles as a couple.

View More: http://brookealiceon.pass.us/bkwedding

The Newlyweds

This is an interesting question! We have discussed this a few times and have included some of them below:

1.) Jamie & Kathy in The Last Five Years. The music is so beautiful, and the story would be so challenging to tackle as a married couple!

2.) Millie & Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Wonderful show, and fun roles for us to play on our strengths!

3.) Baker & Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. This would be for when we are a bit older, but it would be an absolute pleasure getting to dive into two characters that reflect our personalities so well!

4.) Edward & Sandra Bloom in Big Fish. Again this would be for when we are older, but it’s one of the most real and loving stories to be told about a couple, and the music is GREAT!

Catch them now through April 26th in My Fair Lady at Cygnet Theatre!

Katie, Bryan, and the cast of My Fair Lady, including Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby.

Katie, Bryan, and the cast of My Fair Lady, including Ralph Johnson and Linda Libby.

Announcing Season Thirteen

 From a fish falling out of the sky in the year 2039, to a “sweet transvestite”, to one stupid established men review : a terrible fake sugar daddy site. And we’re excited to share it with you now.  Without further antici…pation, here’s our 2015-2016 season!

DOGFIGHT
Music and Lyrics by BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL
Book by PETER DUCHAN
Based on the Warner Bros. Film and Screenplay by BOB COMFORT
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
July 16th – August 23rd, 2015. Opening July 25th, 2015.

It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of compassion. Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and praised by countless critics, Dogfight takes audiences on a romantic and heartbreaking theatrical journey that stays with you long after the performance. Featuring Dave Thomas Brown (Shakespeare’s R&J, Spring Awakening)  “Superbly crafted, gratifyingly intelligent, richly observant, and immensely enjoyable. This is musical theatre at its finest.” – Backstage

Dave Thomas Brown in Spring Awakening

Dave Thomas Brown in Spring Awakening

HAY FEVER (Performed in Rep with The Vortex)
By NOËL COWARD
Directed by ROB LUTFY
Semptember 23rd – November 8th, 2015. Opening October 3rd, 2015.

Retired stage star Judith Bliss, her novelist husband and their two bohemian adult children have each invited houseguests for the weekend. But as the Blisses indulge their artistic eccentricities in a hilarious whirlwind of flirtation and histrionics, the guests begin to wonder if they’ve landed in a madhouse – and if they can survive with their own wits intact. Set in an English country house in the 1920’s, Noël Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners has been a favorite amongst theatregoers ever since it first dazzled London’s West End in 1925.  “An evening of intoxicating escape” – The New York Times

THE VORTEX (Performed in Rep with Hay Fever)
By NOËl COWARD
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
September 24th – November 8th, 2015. Opening October 3rd, 2015.

Nicky Lancaster brings his elegant fiancée, Bunty, home to introduce her to his famous mother, stage actress Florence Lancaster. Nicky is shocked to discover that Florence has taken a much younger lover, and when Bunty ditches Nicky to run off with his mother’s boy-toy, both are forced to confront the truth about themselves. Noël Coward’s first commercially successful hit, The Vortex premiered in 1924 in London, and its scandalous subject matter of drug abuse, repressed homosexuality, nymphomania and Oedipal jealousy made Coward an overnight sensation. Hay Fever and The Vortex will feature Rosina Reynolds (The Glass Menagerie, Noises Off)  The Vortex (1924) is the play that turned Noël Coward into a star….Almost nine decades later, it still packs a powerful punch.” -The Telegraph

Rosina Reynolds in The Glass Menagerie

Rosina Reynolds in The Glass Menagerie

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Adaptation and Lyrics by SEAN MURRAY
Score by BILLY THOMPSON
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
November 27th – December 27th, 2015. Opening December 5th, 2015.

Cygnet Theatre invites you to start your own family tradition with one of ours. This season welcomes the return of theholiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption. This re-imagined, fully staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry, and live sound effects. Step into a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling experience that is sure to delight the entire family!  “Critics Choice” in 2014 – UT San Diego

A Christmas Carol 2014

A Christmas Carol 2014

 WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING
By ANDREW BOVELL
Directed by ROB LUTFY
January 14th – February 14th, 2016. Opening January 23rd, 2016.

Alice Springs in the year 2039. A fish falls from the sky and lands at the feet of Gabriel York. And it still smells of the sea. It’s been raining for days, and Gabriel knows something is wrong. Fifty years earlier, his grandfather, Henry Law, predicts that fish will fall from the sky heralding a great flood which will end life on earth as we know it. In an intricate, multi-layered story that spans four generations and two continents, When the Rain Stops Falling explores patterns of betrayal, abandonment, destruction, forgiveness and love. This powerful drama unfolds with humanity, surprising humor and hope, as the past plays out into the future.  “The Best New Play of Year” in 2010 – Time Magazine

RICHARD O’BRIAN’S THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
Book, Music and Lyrics by RICHARD O’BRIEN
Directed by SEAN MURRAY
March 10th – May 1st, 2016. Opening March 19th, 2016.

A satirical tribute to the science fiction and B-list horror movies of the 20th century, the show centers around two naïve lovers, Brad and Janet. Seeking shelter from a thunderstorm in an old castle, they find themselves thrust into the laboratory of the cross-dressing mad scientist Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter and his motley crew. Stripped of inhibitions — and their clothes — Brad and Janet embark on a wild, unforgettable journey of pleasure and self-discovery. Reality, fiction, and camp collide in this mash-up of comics, rock and roll, and late-night horror flicks.  “A musical that deals with mutating identity and time warps becomes one of the most mutated, time warped phenomena in show business.” – The New York Times

STUPID F**KING BIRD
By AARON POSNER
Directed by ROB LUTFY
May 19th – June 19th, 2016. Opening May 28th, 2016.

In this irreverent, contemporary, and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, award-winning playwright Aaron Posner wages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, in search of the true meaning of it all. An aspiring young director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art, and growing up can be. With music, meta-theatricality, and mad humor, playwright Aaron Posner beats The Seagull to a bloody pulp.  “Bitterly sardonic…Ferociously funny” – Stage and Cinema

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Behind-the-Scenes of A Christmas Carol

For every production at Cygnet Theatre, we hold special Designer Forums that take our patrons behind-the-scenes with the creative team.  Listen to the director of each show talk about how they prepare for a show, and get a glimpse into the process of set design, costumes, sound, & lighting.  Check out our latest forum for A Christmas Carol.

Want to attend the next one?  Make sure you’re on our e-blast list to get invitations and reminders.

Director’s Insight: 

Creating the Characters: Costumes & Wigs

The Stage: Set Design

Creative Puppetry

The Magic of Mixing Live & Recorded Sound Effects