Friday, July 6, 2012

5-Question NYMF Interviews: SHELTER

Next up in the 5-question interview series is Shelter, a new musical showcasing the voices of women in a Philadelphia women's shelter. Written by Brittany Bullen (with music by Newell Bullen), this heartfelt show tells the story of a woman trying to start over, and has also taken on a philanthropic angle, having raised over $10,000 for homeless shelters. Below, Brittany Bullen shares more about bringing Shelter to NYMF:

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

Brittany Bullen: A contemporary pop/rock musical about love, loss and starting over.

Me: What was it like collaborating with your brother-in-law on this show?

Brittany: It was a fun process. I had a great deal of the music written in my head when I asked for his help, but I never could have done it without him. Several days a week, I'd take my 2 year old son Thomas to Newell's apartment and we'd spend most of the day working on the show while Thomas played (more like fought over toys) with his daughter, Laura Klein. I'd sing a song for him and give him a general idea for what I wanted the instruments to do and he'd flush it out. He was like my musical translator. We always knew we were on the right track when Thomas started dancing.

Me: This show is very female-centric. What has the process been like developing a show that is so rooted in women’s issues?

Brittany: Writing a show for women was always my goal, but there have been some unexpected challenges that came along with it. First of all, you are limited in the kinds of harmonies you can write. That said, I haven't been shy about testing the limits of our cast's vocal ranges!

Secondly, when you write a show for women, you have to be very careful about the subtext because even if you're not trying to convey a particular message, people expect one and will be looking for it. Ultimately, the show isn't just about women, it's about all those who feel weighed down by the past and are struggling to move on.

Me: What is it like as a writer to also be acting in the show?

Brittany: It's fun! I think in a different setting it might be difficult to wear so many hats, but because our process with the creative team and actors has been quite collaborative, it feels very natural. I wrote the role of Gloria with myself in mind. It's more like a cameo than a role, actually, because my character is basically mute for most of the show.

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

Brittany: I am excited to see how New York audiences respond to the show. We were received very well in Salt Lake City where we originated, but I am aware that New Yorkers are a much tougher crowd to please. We are up to the challenge and thrilled to have the opportunity to bring some more attention to what we feel is a really amazing piece with a message worth hearing.

For more information on Shelter, check out the show's blog, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.


Brittany said...

Thanks for this interview! Hope you get a chance to come out and see the show!

Kimberly Lew said...

Thanks, Brittany! I'll try to make it out. It was great to have you on the blog!