Monday, August 4, 2014
Spotlight On...Sara Cooper
Hometown: Sound Beach, NY
Education: MFA in Musical Theatre Writing, BFA in Dramatic Writing, both from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU
Favorite Credits: The Memory Show (book & lyrics by me, music by Zach Redler) with Transport Group at The Duke on 42nd Street AND in Seoul, South Korea last year!
Why theater?: For me, there's nothing more thrilling than learning something you already knew but never understood till you saw it (felt it) onstage in front of you. There's nothing else like it.
Tell us about Things I Left in Long Island?: Things I Left On Long Island is the story of a 28-year-old who finds a lump in her breast, drops everything, and moves back home to Long Island.
There, she finds everything more or less the way she left it: her grandmother the pyromaniac; her co-dependent aunt and cousin; and her mother, a breast cancer survivor with whom she has a historically difficult relationship. As her life is falling apart, she tries desperately to maintain control of the play, but her family also speaks directly to the audience and everyone wants to tell their story. It's about generations and about being a woman. It's a story about stories and how we pass things on--stories, genetics, love.
What inspired you to write Things I Left in Long Island?: My mother is actually a breast cancer survivor (go, Mom!!!) and I've always wanted to write something about it, but it really scared the crap out of me and I never really knew what to write. When I got to my late twenties, I started thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman right now, especially for those of us delaying starting a family, and this is what came out.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theater that's funny and sad at the same time. I think there's a really fine line between the two. I'm inspired a lot by my collaborators; I love working with people who are passionate about theater and about telling stories in a new and unique way that really means something to them. I feel really lucky on this one; all of my collaborators on this project are people I really respect and adore. Noah came on as director during the first draft (this is our fourth collaboration!!) and we did a couple of readings with four of the five actors in this production, and I've never been in a rehearsal room where I felt more love. And then we added Greg and Arys and Nikki and all our designers, and every single one of them has gone above and beyond and has just been so fantastic. It's been such a great journey. I'm so beyond excited to see it up in my beloved New York International Fringe Festival, which, by the way, gave me my first ever full-length production back in 2006 that featured four of the five actors from "Things I Left On Long Island!" Amazing. I'm loving every moment.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Ben Vereen. But I think I would pass out.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I really loved Southern Comfort by Julianne Wick-Davis and Dan Collins at CAP21 a couple of years ago. On Broadway, I was totally blown away by the current revival of Pippin.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The movie would be called "Gunpowder In A Candy-Coated Shell," and I have no idea who I would be played by! Probably, realistically, Lamb Chop.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: 16 Handles: cookies 'n' cream with All The Chocolate Chips.
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Right now, "Shuggie" by Foxygen. But usually, if I'm being honest, it's Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy."
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Crying!
What’s up next?: Well, I'm working on a new musical with my collaborator Zach Redler called Putting Off Goodbye, so hopefully a whole lot of that!