Name: Josh Luxenberg
Education: Baltimore School for the Arts (high school), Oberlin College
Favorite Credits: There Will Come Soft Rains, Sinking Ship’s first show, which consisted of three adaptations of science fiction short stories by Ray Bradbury and others. Caroline, or Change at Centerstage in Baltimore. Working as script coordinator in the writers office of "The Wire".
Why theater?: There’s something incredibly exciting about telling a story live in front of an audience, using things the audience can see. When it works, it’s thrilling. And it’s really hard. I like the challenge.
Tell us about Powerhouse?: Powerhouse tells the story of Raymond Scott, the composer and bandleader whose Quintette was wildly popular in the 1930s and 40s, and who later went on to pioneer electronic music in the 60s—but who is perhaps best known now for writing music that was used in hundreds of Looney Tunes cartoons (though he never saw a cartoon in his life). We take an impressionistic, physical approach, using movement sequences, puppetry, and music to get inside Raymond’s head.
What inspired you to create and write Powerhouse?: There was something that seemed very theatrical about this man who wanted nothing more than to create music that connected with people—a new kind of swing music—and who was undermined by cartoons, of all things. And once we started looking into the details of Raymond’s life, we became more and more fascinated by every little thing—his unique way of speaking, his obsessions, his recorded phone calls…
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Surprising, smart, fun… I like theater that engages the audience. And anything that can’t be done another way, that actually benefits from the inescapable fact that theater is ultimately just a bunch of people on stage pretending.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tom Waits.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Recently, Here Lies Love, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: It would be written by Charlie Kaufman. My character would be portrayed alternatively by Peter Sellers and a muppet.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Taking time off.
What’s the most played song on your iPod?: Recently, any track from Here Lies Love, which has been on repeat as my writing music for Powerhouse. I generally end up listening to one album on repeat when I work (and I’m usually surprised by which one it is).
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A photographer (which has been my freelance work for many years).
What’s up next?: I recently took over as General Manager of the Connelly Theater in the East Village. It’s been a rental house for many years, and we’re looking at transitioning to a more curated model. I’m going to be diving into that full tilt now that Powerhouse is up and running.
For more on Powerhouse, visit www.powerhouse-theplay.com. For more on Sinking Ship Productions, visit www.sinkingshipproductions.com