Thursday, April 7, 2016
Spotlight On...Edward W. Hardy
Hometown: Manhattan, New York
Education: Master of Music – Aaron Copland School of Music, Cum Laude, 2014-15, Bachelor of Music – SUNY Purchase College, Cum Laude, 2010-14
Favorite Credits: As a Composer / Solo Violinist, The Woodsman by James Ortiz, A Brooklyn Boy by Steven Prescod and Moises Belizario, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone directed by Dean Irby. Edward has composed and performed music for theatrical productions including Hamlet (Theatre of War), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Dean Irby), Master and Margarita (David Bassuk), No Exit (Yellow House Pictures), Mother Courage and Her Children (Dennis Reid), A Brooklyn Boy (National Black Theatre/Vineyard Theatre), The Woodsman (59E59/Ars Nova/Standard ToyKraft). Edward has worked in cooperation with BAFTA, The National Black Theatre, Native American Composers Apprenticeship Program, Trilogy Opera Company, SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Acting, Dance/NYC, Katana Flight Foundation, Bard Conductors Institute, Tony Bennett Exploring the Arts Foundation, Google, Grand Canyon Music Festival, Colour of Music Festival.
Why theater?: I found my love for theatre during my first undergraduate year at SUNY Purchase. The senior acting company, 12’, was looking for a violinist that could act and play two characters in their production of Chekov’s Three Sisters. I quickly submitted for an audition. The director Dean Irby and Composer/Music Director Jim McElwaine asked me to play anything I wanted. I played through all the different genres of music I could think of on the spot; Classical, Romantic, Jazz, Latin, Country, Waltz, and Hip-hop. After the audition, I was cast as a Russian soldier and a beggar that both played violin on stage and in costume. Soon after I fell in love with theater. The spotlight, the responsibility, being immersed in a character and the connection with the audience. Much like classical music, theater is the place where I can be a solo violinist with a strong presence.
Tell us about The Woodsman: As a composer and solo violinist, it was my task to express musically a complex set of emotions and communicate with immediacy underscoring each action, each moment, and each scene. I have invested my mind, love, body, sweat and time in creating all of this original music; the songs, percussion, sounds and violin score. The theatrical aspects are the heart of the play, the music composition is the soul of the play. I am a co-conceiver of The Woodsman along with James Ortiz and since its' inception has performed in Strangemen & Co.'s first annual aPlay & aParty, performances at Standard Toykraft, Ars Nova's ANT FEST, a 3 week sold out run at 59E59 Theaters, and a 6 week sold out run at 59E59 Theaters. I composed and performed the music for The Woodsman, in every instance since it began as a small fundraiser. Throughout our journey, we received rave reviews on both our performances and creation of the play.
What inspired you to compose music to The Woodsman?: Music as a universal language. Though the sound of music one can describe an action or a response. Music can evoke an emotion; it can tell a story. Except for a brief introduction, The Woodsman does not have any words and is unlike any other play. During the first meeting with the playwright, we examined the synopsis of the play. This was my opportunity to think of this play like a silent film and tell a story through music. There wasn’t a script for almost a year, this gave me the opportunity to develop the characters musically. The emotion of the story is enhanced by the exploration of different genres of music (i.e. romantic, classical, modern, and folk), the imitation of the different instruments in the orchestra, and sounds of nature (i.e. clarinets, basses, flutes, percussive instruments, birds, wind/ storms). The music has a significant role in the production, although collaborating with actors without a background in music was an interesting experience. Understanding each actors tendencies and creating each characters’ emotion through music, makes the connection between the music and script seamless. Every theme, transition, modulation, tempo, song and sound has a purpose. If one were to close their eyes, they would easily continue to follow the story like an opera without words. Fun Fact: If you listen closely to the music, you’ll hear a witch clicking her heels 3 times, in a few big sections, and more importantly a heartbeat throughout the entirety of the play.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that emotes and tells a wonderful story while incorporating diversity in both their creative team and cast. My parents being my biggest role models, I thrive off of self-determination, I believe that I’m capable of doing anything and like Matthew McConaughey said “I’m always chasing my future self”.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is an inspiration. He is making a difference not only in theatre but in the lives of Americans and fellow Boricuas.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Besides The Woodsman, I strongly recommend my everyone to see Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night. It’s a great show. Obviously, if you can get a tickets Hamilton you should take me.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: If I were not cast to play me in a movie, which would be terribly embarrassing, I would want Michael B. Jordan, Shameik Moore or John Boyega. Anyone but Kevin Hart (just kidding!). Kevin Hart is the man and I would be honored if he played me in the movie about me. The title would be called "New Generation".
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: In The Heights with Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Wiz with Andre de Shields and Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Money Ice Cream.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I would still be a classical violinist and violist. I have performed in famous venues and would continue to perform around the world.
What’s up next?: I am composing music to a play called Four Days with Edgar Allan Poe by Amazon bestselling author Edward Medina, a play called Glass Jaw, a feature film called "Fire in Your Cities" by Kathryn Perry (working title), and am co-composing and performing music to a play called A Brooklyn Boy by Steven Prescod & Moises Belizario that is currently being workshopped.
For more on Edward, visit www.edwardwhardy.com. For more info on the history of The Woodsman, Visit edwardwhardy.com/thewoodsmanplay