Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spotlight On...Mary Catherine Burke

Name: Mary Catherine Burke

Hometown: Fairfield, CT

Education: Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

Favorite Credits:  I always love working at Mile Square Theatre!  I’ve directed 4 stretch shows and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Why theater?: Great story telling reminds us to have empathy and listen while being entertained and inspired.  I think right now, that’s more important than ever.

Tell us about You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown: You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown is an incredible family show!  It has great music.  It’s based on the characters we all know and love, and parents will find it as funny as their kids.  At one point in the show Linus, as he struggles to give up his blanket, he enters, sucking his thumb, and distraughtly says, “I think I am losing my flavor.”  It is a wonderfully quirky moment.  You’re A Good Man Charlie celebrates the freedom of childhood in a refreshing way.

What inspired you to direct You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown?:  Chris O’Connor, Artistic Director of Mile Square Theatre contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in directing this show.  It is very faithful to the characters from the comic strip and has a delightful score.  There are a lot of short scenes which will keep a young audience engaged.  It also reflects how kids see the world in a way that adults will find touching and funny.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  I like to work on material that reminds people to have empathy, integrity and listen to each other.  It is good to remember that getting a head isn’t worth it if you don’t enjoy the journey.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  I’d really love to work with Dan Fogelman.  He’s the writer of the film "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and currently "This is Us."  He has an amazing ability to mine such emotional depth out of every day conflicts and make you appreciate the value of small moments.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:  Dear Evan Hansen is one of my favorite shows in New York right now.  It is so complicated and exceptional.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  Oh man, it would most definitely be Tina Fey.   And it would probably be called "Tragedy + Time= Comedy."

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I’m very sorry I missed Act One at Lincoln Center.  Moss Hart’s biography is a life changer and an anthem in self-belief and determination.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  Hip Hop at Alvin Ailey.  It isn’t pretty.  But it is fun!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A politician.

What’s up next?:  I’m directing a new play called The Trap by a British writer Kieran Lynn at Amphibian Stage Productions in Ft. Worth, Texas. I have also been developing a gritty modern country musical called Music City with music by JT Harding, who has written hits for Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and the Grammy nominated Its Different for Girls.  I’m also working on an original musical called Chick Flick the Musical, about a group of 4 women who learn to view themselves the way their friends do, to make real life better than the movies!  

For more on Mary Catherine, visit www.marykateburke.com. For more on Mile Square Theatre, visit www.milesquaretheatre.org/

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