Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spotlight On...Amber Mak

Name: Amber Mak

Hometown: Chicago, IL but born and raised in Kansas

Education: Northwestern University

Favorite Credits: Directing/Choreographing Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Hairspray at the Paramount Theatre outside of Chicago. Founding FWD Theatre Project.  Working with Susan Stroman, Andrew Lippa and John August on Big Fish Chicago Production and Broadway.

Why theater?: Theatre is one of the most collaborative art forms and for me, personally, it was so inclusive growing up.  Theatre ignites imagination and has the ability to cross over so many cultural boundaries that exist in this world.

Tell us about Numbers Nerds:  Numbers Nerds is about what it means to go after something you believe in even when it isn't necessary the "cool" thing to do.  It is about owning who you are, friendship and the reward in working together as a team.  I don't believe there is anyone who hasn't felt like the outsider before in life.  The word "nerds" is not usually associated with a positive connotation, and this show aims to change how perceive "nerd."

What inspired you direct and choreograph Numbers Nerds?: The fact that this is a show about empowering young woman is something that is very dear to my heart.  It is a show written with women in mind and there simply isn't enough shows being written with that as a focus.  Being a female director/choreographer, I often find myself the only women in a room and I know that that is certainly true in fields that are math and science related.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theatre with heart, passion and a good story.  I don't need anything fancy, but I want it to all be genuine.  I think the works that have always amazed and inspired me have been ones that have a very ensemble feel to them, and actually tend to be simple in convention of storytelling, which is ironic, because I am mostly offered to direct large-scale, very commercial spectacles.  However, what I love to watch and hope one day to be on the team of is an organic, ensemble piece.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Good question.  I guess I don't really think in that way, except there are some unknown artists and colleagues that I find immensely talented, but our paths haven't crossed in collaboration yet.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:  Recently I saw Come From Away.  I highly recommend it.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:  I feel like there might be some similarities with Reese Witherspoon as far as personality- so if I could choose, I would choose her and title- "Working for Crumbs," the story of a jack of all trades who perseveres to make her dreams a reality.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Bob Fosse's Dancin' -- I have a lot of mentors and colleagues that I know who were in this show and my parent's had the poster of it in our basement growing up.  I was so intrigued by it and so wish I could see it.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  "The Great British Baking Show."  I love it.  I just had my daughter in February and as I was on maternity leave, I found it on Netflix and was completely hooked.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: My husband says an attorney.  I think I would be an event planner. They basically organize productions but for corporations, and I am sure get paid better.

What’s up next?: Directing Elf at the Paramount Theatre and being a mom to my beautiful, 4 month old daughter.