Monday, September 26, 2011

5-Question NYMF Interviews: GREENWOOD

Even if the end of summer is getting you down, you can relive some of those golden summer camp memories with the musical Greenwood. Telling the story of long lost friends who meet at a performing arts camp and are reunited years later, this heartfelt story was actually modeled after the writers' own experiences at French Woods. Some NYMF shows officially start today, but you can catch Greenwood starting October 6th (purchase tickets here). While you wait, read on to see what writers Adam LeBow and Tor Hyams had to say about the show.

Me: How would you describe your show in one sentence?

Adam LeBow and Tor Hyams: Greenwood is about reclaiming your past so you may forge a new future.

Me: What role did your own experiences as a summer performing arts camp play in the writing of Greenwood?

Adam: Everything. French Woods is the template for Camp Greenwood; the people we remember from camp became the models for our characters; and who we were when we were there inspired the show's themes. In short, our performing arts summer camp experiences sired the whole idea. That being said, we feel that everyone has a Greenwood inside of him or her. For us, it was a camp; but it could be anything. It's that most special time of youth when you were confident of your place in the world, when you felt connected, when you felt like you belonged. The message of Greenwood (we hope!) is that it is possible to regain the fire of exuberant youth, to recapture that spirit and energy and bring it with us as we move forward in our lives.

Tor: It sired the whole idea. It was the inspiration from which we drew on to create characters (almost everyone in the show is based on someone we knew at camp). Mostly, though, it was the very recollection of those special summers we spent at French Woods that inspired the concept that it is possible to regain the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed feeling of exuberant youth and reclaim that elan as we move forward in our lives.

Me: How would you describe Greenwood musically?

Adam and Tor: It's a mix of rock and pop with a touch of "contemporary musical theater thrown in." The musical influences of our youth show up in our songs—The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, etc., plus, of course, Sondheim. Always Sondheim!

Me: How did you decide to bring Greenwood to NYMF?

Adam: It was a difficult decision. NYMF tells us that we were very much liked by their adjudicators, but they weren't sure they had a venue for a show of our size. So we were one of the last to be notified! Though we were, naturally, thrilled to be invited, we had to weigh all the pros and cons before we said yes—it meant a ton of work in a very short time. Ultimately, we decided to participate because we felt that we could indeed pull off the right presentation for the festival. Our director, Paul Stancato—along with our amazing cast and the creative, design, tech, and production team—is accomplishing miracles!

Tor: Though we were thrilled to be invited, Adam and I weighed all the pros and cons before we pulled the trigger, especially since it meant a ton of work in a very short time. Ultimately, we decided to participate because we thought we could pull off the right presentation for the festival. It ain't the Broadway version, but it is world's further than it ever has been.

Me: What are you most looking forward to about NYMF?

Adam: Seeing Greenwood up on its feet! In Los Angeles—where Greenwood's first two drafts were written—we did two table readings and a concert reading. The NYMF production will be the first time we will be seeing Greenwood played out in a fully realized form... a moment we've been dreaming of for two and a half years! Judging from what we've seen in rehearsals, it will be a dream come true indeed!

Tor: We've had table reads and a concert reading, but I've been dreaming about seeing Greewnood play out in this way. The work our director, Paul Stancato, has done is amazing. Can't wait!

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