Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Spotlight On...Dan Dinero

Name: Dan Dinero

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Education: BA from Yale University, MA and PhD in Performance Studies from NYU/Tisch

Favorite Credits: I’m still really fond of one of the first shows I directed, way back in my undergrad days - Rupert Holmes’ Accomplice. SUCH fun.

Why theater?: I’m as guilty as the next person of spending too much time on my various devices. But as life gets more and more digitized, theater feels like one of the few reliable respites. It demands that we turn off our phones and really look at each other, in person. It forces us to be present, all together, in the same space at the same time. Where else does this consistently happen? People have been fretting (for decades now) that theater is becoming obsolete. I actually think live theatre is becoming more and more relevant.

Tell us about Boys of a Certain Age: It’s a play about four gay men who, because of generational and political differences, all look at life differently. And it is set in the immediate present- in February 2017.

What inspired you to direct Boys of a Certain Age?: Even though inter-generational relationships are such a significant aspect of the lives of many queer folks, it’s rare to see different generations of gay characters in the same play (unless you count the “cute young thing” character that comes up a lot). It’s also refreshing that the characters in Boys of A Certain Age are not constantly fretting about gay marriage and having kids. But as a director, I love that this play is really open to creative staging and allows me to exercise my directing muscles. I was really proud of what we all did in a festival setting back in July, yet I also love getting the chance to revisit, and completely re-stage, this work with the same great cast.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I get excited about work that is diverse (however you want to define that) and work that embraces theatricality. I’m inspired by intelligent actors, innovative directors and designers, and playwrights who tell stories I haven’t heard before. Best of all is when the different members of the creative team are clearly inspiring each other - when the idea of a designer affects a line change, or when an actor discovers something in rehearsal that shifts the staging. I think the best theatre is that which is truly collaborative.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work on an Annie Baker play that’s being directed by Sam Gold. Or whatever Jeanine Tesori or Lin-Manuel Miranda are doing next. But more in the realm of probability, while I worked with J. Stephen Brantley as an actor ages ago (he played a maid), I haven’t yet had the chance to direct one of his plays. We keep saying it’s going to happen.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Last fall I was telling everyone to see A Life at Playwrights Horizons because David Hyde Pierce was EVERYTHING in that show. Right now I’m recommending Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, both for its amazingly diverse cast and its brilliant design and staging. And then this spring I will be telling people to see A Doll’s House, Part Two - Lucas Hnath is a longtime friend and his work (The Christians, Red Speedo) is consistently fresh and exciting.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Ryan Gosling in "How To Be Gay" (props to David Halperin for the title)

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: First would be the legendary 3,389th performance of A Chorus Line, which Michael Bennett completely restaged to celebrate the record-breaking performance. While time-traveling I would also try to catch the original productions of Dreamgirls, Follies, and Henry, Sweet Henry, because Michael Bennett was a genius.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I am OBSESSED with Project Runway Junior (although I don’t really feel guilty about it)

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Far more financially secure. Oh you mean what would I be doing? I’d probably be a lawyer. I’ve always thought I would enjoy law school. Maybe not being the lawyer part, but the law school part for sure.

What’s up next?: I’m directing three pieces in The Refugee Plays, going up at the FRIGID Festival in February and March. And I’m really looking forward to working on Charlie Gershman's The Waiting Game, which we are taking to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.