Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Spotlight On...Bryan D. Leys
Hometown: Amherst, NY
Education: BA, SUNY Fredonia, MFA University of Connecticut
Favorite Credits: Won the Michael Stewart Award for lyrics.
Why theater?: Musical theatre is the one art form that combines song, dance and dialogue to tell a story. The challenge (and the fun) is getting all three elements in the right proportion.
Tell us about Hell’s Belles: Hell’s Belles uses the format of a hellish nightclub show to satirize morals and attitudes. It addresses the way that society judges unconventional women. Plus there are jokes, lots and lots of jokes about politics, show business, the media and other targets.
What inspired you to write Hell’s Belles?: It was just a flash of a novel and funny idea. It owes a lot to shows like Scrambled Feet and Forbidden Broadway where four actors get to play a multitude of roles.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theatre without pretention. So much theatre simply re-affirms values that the audience has already accepted; preaching to the choir, so to speak. I like theatre that opens you up to things you’ve never considered.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I’d like to work with a lot of the good composers out there who think they can write lyrics, and can’t.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I loved the irreverent humor of Hand to God and the zaniness of Something Rotten
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Sir Alec Guinness in a movie called “Taste Takes a Holiday.”
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Watching “Castle” and “Z-Nation.” Also those little cocktail franks.
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “The Music Goes Down and Around.” I have a room full of Broadway shows and pop and rock CD’s so I don’t really need iTtunes.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: If I could sing, I would just sing professionally and never write a lyric.
What’s up next?: I have a few brand new shows: A motorcycle musical; The Black Crook reset in 1880’s Colorado; and the story of the dragon empress of China, staged as an act at the Forbidden City Nightclub. I’m also developing The Union and Crystal Ann McKay at the Barter Theatre.