Friday, July 6, 2012

Spotlight On...Joe Tantalo

photo by Justin Ho
Name: Joe Tantalo

Hometown: New Haven, CT

Education: Southern Connecticut University, Circle in the Square, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Kennedy Center

Favorite Credits: John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five or: The Children’s Crusade, Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Poor Super Man by Brad Fraser

Why theater?: In 1993, during my last year in high school, the drama teacher lost his job – and so, I naturally asked the Headmaster and Principle of the school for his job – not to teach of course, but to direct the school production. They allowed it and I spent that year directing my first play, The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie. It was a new experience that changed me forever.

Tell us about Godlight Theatre Company: Shortly after high school, and while starting college, I felt a need to explore the work that spoke to me the most (even if, at that time, I didn’t truly know). So, from that need I started Godlight Theatre Company in 1994 in a church basement in downtown New Haven and have been working with not only amazing material ever since, but most importantly, with the people that keep me inspired to do the work. Hard to imagine that it’s been 18 years already.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that is not afraid in taking its risk to engage an audience’s imagination in a way that is new and unexpected. Those artists who actively pursue that commitment inspire me. The longevity of our industry depends on a new, living, and vibrant theatre experience.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Peter Brook

What shows have you recommended to your friends?: Once and Peter and the Starcatcher

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
Robert Downey Jr. – the movie would be called “That Ain’t Chicken”.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Bucatini all’Amatriciana

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A Chef. Or a Congressman.

What’s up next?: After The Pilo Family Circus plays at the New Ohio in July, we’ll continue to develop the musical version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five with composer Jed Feuer. This fall, we’ll present a one-night only production of Dale Wasserman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Kingsbourgh Performing Arts Center. We have other exciting adaptation projects in development as well, so keep watching our website for details!