Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5-Question NYMF Interviews: JUST LIKE MAGIC

We're changing things up a little in today's NYMF interview, as our questions for NYMF Special Event Just Like Magic (written by Ryan Mercy, Christopher W. Barnes, and Cameron Cole) are answered here by the show's star, Christopher T. Magician. Featuring a magic show gone wrong, Just Like Magic is sure to be a zany ride with real magic and puppets (including what I can already tell is one of my favorites, Sammy the Safety Donut). If you want a taste of the insanity, check out the show's mini webseries, Operation Sutton, in which Christopher T. Magician tries to convince Sutton Foster to come out to a NYMF performance as his date.

Even if you're not Sutton Foster, you can buy your ticket to one of Just Like Magic's 3 performances here. In the meantime, here's Christopher T. Magician...

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

Christopher T. Magician: Hi! Christopher T. Magician here!

How would I describe my show Just Like Magic in one sentence?

A kid’s birthday party magic show gone horribly wrong!

Actually, that’s a sentence fragment. “A kid’s birthday party magic show gone horribly wrong” would be the direct object. Or it could possibly be the subject complement depending on whether the verb preceding it was of the action or linking variety. In any case, a complete sentence would definitely need some type of verb. And while we’re on the subject … a subject. So in conclusion, it’s really funny.

Me: What role does magic play in Just Like Magic?

Christopher T. Magician: Magic is the glue that holds Just Like Magic together. It’s like watching 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. You’re watching, waiting and hoping for her to finally have her inevitable complete nervous breakdown on camera, but meanwhile, you get to enjoy seeing her cook food!

In Just Like Magic, Christopher T. Magician (that’s me, I often talk about myself in third person) and his puppet entourage have been hired to perform at a child’s birthday party, but the show takes a turn as Christopher suffers a complete mental breakdown in front of his young audience. Think Blue’s Clues meets Hedwig and the Angry Inch! And while you’re watching in anticipation to see the cracks finally explode, you get to enjoy some fun toe-tapping songs and super neato magic tricks!

Me: What is it like writing for puppets?

Christopher T. Magician: Writing for puppets is a lot like writing for yourself. Come to think of it, it’s literally like writing for yourself.

There is one perk for creating puppet dialogue. Puppets don’t complain when you make last minute script changes. They can be divas at times though. I once asked Sammy the Safety Donut to say, “Something seems strange since summer started.” But he insisted it was an insult to his speech impediment (Sammy suffers from a strong sibilant ‘s’ – or a shtrong shibilant ‘esh,’ as he would put it, but don’t tell him I said that).

Jojo the Dodo bird is more carefree. He never complains about the words I choose for him. Then again, he never reads the script. Or memorizes it. Or performs it at all as written.


Jojo’s a real a@%hole.

Me: Where did the idea for Operation Sutton come from, and what has it been like working on those videos?

Christopher T. Magician: Working on the Operation Sutton videos has been a total blast! But how did it all begin?

Allow me to set the scene:

There we were eating Chick-Fil-A at the Paramus Park Mall in Jersey.

Now that I have your attention…

We knew we wanted to make a small YouTube campaign for Just Like Magic, but what? We considered a “Road to NYMF” type documentary. Or a “Day in the Life of Christopher T. Magician” series. Or even an “Important Life Lessons Taught Through Magic” series, in which every lesson ended with Christopher’s eye popping out.

Having seen Anything Goes the previous night, the subject of Sutton Foster arose. The idea actually began as a mock smear campaign, implying that she can sing, dance, and act better than Christopher, so she better never even try doing magic or else.

We abandoned that idea due to our utmost respect and adoration of Ms. Foster (not to mention the possible creepiness of it and likely lawsuit from it).

In truth, my co-writers and I are all gigantic Sutton Foster fans. She is the only star on Broadway that I will go see in a show specifically because she is in it** (And I’m not just writing that on the off chance she might be reading this). She has every right to be a complete diva, but by all accounts she is easy-going, down-to-earth, and enjoyable to work with. Not to mention, she seems to have a wonderful sense of humor.

For all these reasons, we created Operation Sutton, a YouTube video series in which Christopher T. Magician asks Ms. Foster to be his date to the NYMF opening night party in many creative and hilarious ways that reflect the humor in our show Just Like Magic. (YouTube “Operation Sutton” to see for yourself).

Maybe if we can make her laugh hard enough, there might be a chance she will say yes. The jury is still out…

**Not including the cast of Most Likely to Die, our show we wrote that had its world premier at last year’s NYMF. We’d go see those guys in anything.

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

Christopher T. Magician: We are passionate about musical theatre, and NYC -- and the world for that matter -- is lucky to have NYMF to promote up-and-coming artists in the field to ensure that the art form continues to evolve and new voices are heard.

We are truly honored to be a part of those new voices for the second year in a row.

What we are looking forward to at this year’s NYMF? Making people laugh, putting on a really fun show, and the obvious next step … the Broadway! I’m talking to you, Sir Cameron Mackintosh!

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