Q&A with Chad McNamara

In Common The Musical is on stage at the Royal Theatre in Gananoque with one performance nightly through to closing night, August 17.

We highly recommend this new show, which received standing ovations in its opening week!

Here is a Q&A with Chad McNamara, the director and choreographer for In Common.

And for more about the story, music and creative team, visit http://www.incommonthemusical.com/:

Q: What does your role entail?

A: My role is director and choreographer. My job is to take the words that are on the page and create something visual. Often when you read a book, your imagination takes on a pivotal role, setting the scene, what the town looks like, where the characters live etc. This was my job, to take this beautiful story and translate to the stage. My goal was to allow my imagination to run free and create something we can all talk about after.

Q: Before rehearsals, how do you prepare?

A: Before rehearsals began, I read the script as many times as I could stand too, sometimes twice a day. My vision for the show kept changing, in fact, my fully realized thought and vision for how I wanted to tell this story didn’t come until a week into rehearsals. I allowed the actors to have a voice and I knew before that’s how I wanted to work. I wanted it to be special for each actor so that we can create these characters for the first time together.

Q: What happens at rehearsals?

A: A day of rehearsal was usually an open conversation of the previous work, and how we felt about it the next day… sometimes I would change a scene or musical number completely from the day previous. I asked the cast for patience and an open mind. There was a lot of music to learn, so many days it was constantly going back to the piano to learn something that may have been rewritten that morning.

Q: In Common The Musical is a new piece. What are the rewards and challenges of working on a new musical?

A: I love working on new work. It’s exciting, scary and nerve wracking – but so rewarding and fulfilling. You never know how people will react, and there is always a point where you have to let go and let it be. It’s very scary because you work on something for so long and put so much thought and care into it, and you risk one person saying, “I didn’t like that.” It’s hard but at the same time, that’s what makes theatre so awesome. Everyone can take what they want out of it. I chose to tell the story a certain way, I wanted the audience to go on a journey and have questions at intermission. This was a gamble as I chose to rearrange some scenes within the show – but it paid off. I have heard and listened in on many conversations wondering what is happening, some thinking it’s all a dream, some wondering if a certain person is dead and just in our head… all of those things are exactly what I wanted. Then we get all the answers in Act Two.

Q: And then it’s opening night. How does that feel for you as director/choreographer?

A: Opening night was awesome. Nothing was better than seeing your hard work performed on stage with a full house, and a standing ovation. I loved the many different reactions, everything from, “that’s so cool” to people crying in their seats. It affected different people in different ways. I am so excited to see how it touches different people.

In Common is on stage at Royal Theatre Thousand Islands until Saturday August 17.

Tickets available at www.royaltheatre.ca

Kingston audiences were introduced to In Common at a staged reading of Act One at the 2019 Kingston Storefront Fringe Festival.

Cast: Caitlyn Acheson, Clifford Atwell, Mitchell Bruce, Blake Crawford, Taylor Faye, Liz Horton, Sasha Knox, Lily Lachapelle, Emily Masurkevitch, Jordan Sabola, Monique Stinchcombe, Ajah Tanis

Interviewer: Heidi Stock, Writer/Producer, In Common The Musical
Music Director/Arranger: Aaron Eyre
Assistant Director/Choreographer: Bethany Papadopoulos
Stage Manager: Rachel Marks