Ted Sod: Why did you choose to direct Scotland, PA, and how have you been collaborating with the writers Adam Gwon and Michael Mitnick? Lonny Price: The thing about doing a lot of revivals, particularly by Sondheim, is that it spoils you. The show is already amazing, the kinks worked out, and the quality of the work is of the highest order. I guess what I mean by that is I can be kind of a snob about material, but I fell in love with this show probably… on page 5. (I’m kidding, but awfully quickly.) Michael and Adam know their craft and they have a tremendous respect for and skill in this form. They break rules in an exciting way, but they know the rules they’re breaking. In terms of how we work together is, we sit around a table at one of our homes, calm the dogs down, and we discuss what’s working and what we think needs improving or clarifying. If there’s a section in question, I will start the discussion with two words, “bad pitch,” which oftentimes leads to a better one from someone else, and on rare occasions, sometimes it’s the precise thing we’ll wind up doing. I also have to say, we really have always been on the same page about what needed to be rethought.

We’ve been working together on various readings and workshops for three years. It’s a tricky tone because it has something on its mind, and it is also entertaining and funny. Finding the right balance has been challenging, but it seems we are always getting closer to something that has the correct integrity.

TS: What would you say the musical is about? LP: Scotland, PA is a cautionary tale about how unchecked ambition (desire) and greed leads to doom, and how easy it is to get seduced by those particular (and very human) emotions. And, of course, the cost is the loss of one’s more human values as one climbs the ladder of success. If the show makes people think a little bit about that, that would be wonderful.

TS: What kind of research did you have to do to direct and dramaturg this show? LP: Scotland, PA takes place in 1975, so the focus of research for me has been delving into the sociological elements of the seventies. It was a fascinating time what with the Vietnam War finally ending that year(!), the country still reeling from the post-Watergate fallout, the Me Generation on the rise, the women’s movement, the economy being absolutely terrible, etc. I did a lot of reading and watched a lot of documentaries about America in the 1970s. These characters exist in a specific time and place, and knowing as much as you can about the context of the story is enormously useful.

TS: What kind of atmosphere do you like to create in the rehearsal room? Do you look for a lot of collaboration? LP: Unlike what you hear about, say, Jerome Robbins, who apparently liked a lot of tension in the room, I am the opposite. I was an actor for many years, and I think my best work was done in a room where I wasn’t afraid, where I was encouraged to try things and allowed to fail, and even fail big. I like to set up a room where the best idea wins and it doesn’t have to be mine. It often isn’t and I’m very good at that. The older I get, the less ego I have about where the good idea comes from. I try to set up a situation where everyone is contributing. I may be the

Lonny Price

final arbiter, but at the same time, I like a lot of input, particularly early, in pre-production, before we get into rehearsal. There’s no quantifying the amount of input Josh Rhodes (choreographer) and Matt Cowart (my associate director for the last 15 years!) have had on the many pieces we have done together. A free and respectful collaboration is everything.

TS: How important is Billy Morrisette’s film in your process? Is it something you return to like the source material, Macbeth? LP: I’ve seen it several times. Film is such a different medium. We’re obviously in a time where people are turning films into Broadway and off-Broadway musicals every five seconds, but the most successful of them, to me, are the ones that aren’t utterly faithful to their screenplays.

TS: What is your understanding of the relationship between Mac and Pat? LP: I think they’re two disenfranchised people, very much in love with each other, who are unable to rise up to fulfill their potential. Each in a funny way winds up doing things they probably wouldn’t have done had they not thought they were helping the other. Interestingly, the more we worked on the show, the more we started viewing it as a tragic love story. Unlike Macbeth, I think they both make some very bad decisions in service of the other’s supposed happiness. ("Gift of the Magi?") I think she’s encouraging him not only for her ambition, but because he


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24