Saturday, October 10, 2015

Spotlight On...A.D. Penedo

Name: A.D. Penedo  

Hometown: Nashville

Education: Colgate University, BA, Washington College of Law, JD, BMI Lehman-Engle Musical Theater Workshop, ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop

Favorite Credits: Who’s Your Baghdaddy? or how I started the Iraq War (lyrics, co-book), Loch Ness (lyrics, co-book), The Three Times She Knocked (playwright)

Why theater?: Because when done right (which is absurdly hard to do) theater is still the most powerful way to tell a story.

Tell us about Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started the Iraq War: When you walk into our theater (which is a working Temple), you become a member of our support group for people who started the Iraq War. The main characters in the support group are based on real individuals, all of them mid-level intelligence workers - as the show goes on we watch each one relive their mistakes and wrestle with their guilt. And, you know, they're singing and dancing and making jokes and what not. It should be a pretty unique experience, and hopefully one that audiences remember for a while.

What inspired you to write Who’s Your Baghdaddy?: It started off as a commission from our producer, Charlie Fink. He was fascinated with the true story of the now-infamous Curveball intelligence, and it was our job to look at the story and isolate the part that resonated with us - in this case it's the human angle. This is not about ideologies, it's about human beings. Which is what our country is made up of, even at the highest level.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I think that life is both heartbreakingly tragic and absurdly hilarious at the same time, and that theater should accurately reflect our human condition. Therefore, it feels inauthentic to me when a piece isolates one side of the coin or the other. I much prefer theater that is intense, raw, challenging, thought-provoking and incorporates both comedy and tragedy, which I strive to achieve in my own work.

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

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Fun Home – it proves once again that you can successfully tell an unlikely, challenging story through musical theater if you do it right.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: A younger Dustin Hoffmann, “Why on Earth are We Making a Movie About this Guy?”

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Watching football

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: These days, Terrapin Station

What’s up next?: Marshall and I have written another musical together, a family musical called Loch Ness, which had a very well-received world premiere earlier this year in California. We have high hopes of next steps for that. I’m also working on a trio of one acts about middle-aged dating tentatively titled "Quite a Coincidence" and plan to turn back to prose in a memoir of sorts.