Saturday, August 3, 2013

Spotlight On...Gregory Jacobs-Roseman

Name: Gregory Jacobs-Roseman

Hometown: Hockessin, DE

Education: BA in Theatre Studies with emphasis in Musical Theatre and Musical Composition from Emerson College (studied Musical Composition at Berklee College of Music), MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Favorite Credits: Party Like Me, Cold Turkey, Chase.

Why theater?: I think the more important question is: why NOT theatre? I got bit by the theatre bug at a very early age when I played Jack in a 4th grade production of a musical adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. I totally broke character and yelled at my parents for not having the camcorder on me. Clearly I wasn’t meant to be an actor, but rather was meant to work behind the scenes. I’ve devoted my life’s study to theatre because there’s really nothing else I know how to do. I’d like to think I’m a born storyteller, and the medium of musical theatre is the only one that can accurately convey the heightened emotions of the stories I want to write.

Tell us about Save the Date: The show focuses on the friendship between a straight woman and a gay man and how that friendship changes from college to adult life. Just because they were "besties" when they were 20, does that mean they're still meant to be friends as they turn 30? Is it weird for them to be so co-dependent at that age? Is it keeping them from finding love? Can a friendship grow toxic as we age? In addition to focusing on the friendship of the two main characters, the show also is about growing up and coming of age. These characters are already adults, but they're not truly "grown up" yet. Like the TV show "Girls" the story takes place during that time of stasis between 22 and 30: that time after you graduate college but before you truly have your life together. The story also focuses on what it means to commit. These are characters on the outside looking in when it comes to marriage. They're at the age when everyone around them is committing their lives to someone else. They can't seem to do the same for some reason. It's not that they don't want to, it's just that they're scared.

What inspired you to create Save the Date?: This show is actually based on personal experience. It largely follows actual events that happened to myself and my then best friend in 2006. I just thought this ridiculous screwed-up trip we had taken was so bizarre and epic in scale that it needed to be told onstage. And because emotions were so high it definitely needed to be sung.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I work in musical theatre, so of course that comes to the forefront. When it comes to non-musical plays, my favorites run the gamut from Samuel Beckett to Neil Simon. Some of my favorite classic musical theatre composers are Marc Blitzstein, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson, and George Gershwin. Some of my favorite contemporary composers are Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Jason Robert Brown, William Finn, and Ricky Ian Gordon. As for my religion, I worship at the altar of Stephen Sondheim.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: That’s a pretty wide-open question. There are literally thousands of people I wish I could work with. So, I’m going to attack this one with what many non-composers may consider left field and say that in my dreams I’d get Jonathan Tunick to orchestrate one of my scores.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: If we’re talking this season’s FringeNYC festival, I’d say check out Ex Machina. It’s very different from Save The Date but my friend Sarah Wansley directed it and it is absolutely sure to please. If we’re just talking general New York theatre scene: go see the Pippin revival on Broadway RIGHT NOW. Not only is one of the Pippin understudies the husband of our Save The Date lead Kristine Reese, but OH. MY. GOD. it’s quite possibly the best directed piece of Broadway theatre I’ve seen in years.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Well, Noah Zachary is playing a character based off of me in Save The Date and is absolutely perfect! But if I had to pick a movie/TV star, it would be someone like Fred Savage if for no other reason that we slightly resemble each other and in my head I live my life with constant "Wonder Years"-style voiceover narration.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Any girl buddy movie or TV show. "The Sweetest Thing", "Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion", "Cybill", I love all of them.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I’m a certified sommelier, so I’d probably work in the wine industry. Probably as a winemaker in California as I don’t really have any interest in working in service.

What’s up next?:
Honestly, it’s hard for me to think past this production of Save The Date. I am also writing a new Christmas-themed musical currently titled Letters To Santa, though I’m uncertain if I’ll have a draft ready by this coming holiday season.

For more on Save the Date, visit  http://savethedatemusical.com/

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