Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Spotlight On...Drew Geraci

Name: Drew Geraci

Hometown: Originally from La Grange Park, IL, currently live in d a Bronx

Education: Butler University , and a few decades of living in NYC.

Favorite Credits: Disaster! The Musical; Forever Plaid productions;  and BCEFA Easter Bonnet and Gypsy of the Year competitions !

Why theater?: I grew up in suburban Chicago as a dancer and gymnast.  In high school I auditioned for The Boyfriend and was the only freshman chosen for the full-school fall musical. (It was a very large and very arts-heavy public school-- I seem to remember at the time it was ranked in the top few percent for the arts). To the chagrin of my gymnastics coach, I got bit by the theatre bug hard, so much so that I dropped out of gymnastics and became a full-on thespian.  And here we are.

Tell us about Popesical: Popesical is a fabulously funny, over-the-top parallel universe set in the Sistine Chapel.  8 very unlikely Cardinals have been invited to choose one among them to become the next Pope, and how they arrive at that choice is through some of the most outrageous "challenges" imaginable.  But what they learn in the process takes them well beyond their mission as they begin to find out what real faith and love is all about.

What inspired you to direct Popesical?: This is one of those shows that touched me in many ways.  I laughed out loud as I read through it and listened to the music.  I was also touched as characters revealed parts of themselves that had been hidden and stashed away as painful or shameful.  In the end, it's a wonderful story about how people deal with their inner struggles, and if they are brave enough, rise above them to find a faith and a love beyond what they ever imagined.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm drawn to theatre that teaches something about who we are.  I look for transformation.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good laugh, and the more ridiculous, the better!  But if it's coupled with a strong journey, sign me up! Off the top of my head, the late Michael Bennett, and Stephen Sondheim are two of my favorites.  In their work neither seemed to be afraid to reveal deeply personal, inner struggles in very universal, human ways. At the same time, they lifted our spirits and celebrated us all with such remarkably unique language, whether it was visual or lyrical.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would love to have seen Ethel Merman in Gypsy.  I would love to have watched Nijinsky dance. I would love to have seen an original Mozart opera.  I also often wonder what it would have been like to have attended an original Shakespeare production.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: My biggest guilty pleasure?  Watching the Weather Channel with a bag of cheddar cheese popcorn.  (Don't judge.)

If you weren’t in theater you would be _____?: A research scientist.  Growing up it was all I could think of-- science, science, science.

What's up next?: As of this moment, a show I co-conceived with my friend Seth Rudetsky, Disaster! The Musical, is on track to becoming a Broadway production in the not-so-distant future. And to continue raising my 3-year-old son Anthony with my husband Larry, and Betty, our big black dog!