has enormous potential that is unrealized and because she genuinely loves him. I think he goes along because he wants her to have better things, a better life than he’s been able to provide for her. We did a bunch of workshops with wonderful actors in their forties. Then when we went to Northwestern University, we worked with students. What struck us while working with younger people is how much more moving the story was; with people in their forties, they should know better, but in their twenties, you may forgive them a little. They get carried away.

TS: I love the device where Mac keeps coming up with all these ideas and Duncan, his employer, doesn’t pick up on any of them. Mac’s seeing into the future in some ways and the musical is saying, “Watch and see how we got to where we are now.” LP: The essential idea is the explosion of rampant consumerism. You acquire one thing and then you want more, which is a metaphor for this country. It’s gotten so conglomerates are eating each other up to make bigger and bigger companies that seem to be running our government.

TS: What traits did you look for in casting the actors? LP: A little bit of danger. The people who we cast have a bit of an edge to them because this musical is reflecting our worst nature at times. I looked for people who weren’t afraid to go there. They aren’t cookie-cutter musical-comedy performers. For me, the acting is always paramount. We managed to find wonderful actors who are great singers, so we feel very blessed with this cast.

TS: How will the musical visually manifest in terms of the set? LP: With our wonderful designer, Anna Louizos, the set is a character in this show, in no small part because the primary location (the restaurant itself) transforms three times. But even more important to me was that the set reflects a growing coldness, less natural anything, more plastic…progress. When you go to rural places, there’s often a Dairy

Queen in the middle of the woods or off a small highway. They throw down some blacktop and there it is. So this restaurant is in the middle of a wooded area, and as it expands it keeps destroying the nature around it, which is what we do as we keep building up our arsenal of corporations. Regulations disappear, nature gets destroyed. The set reflects the gestation of that very phenomenon very well.

TS: What or who inspires you as an artist? LP: So many people. In the theatre, Stephen Sondheim. Hal Prince has had a huge influence on me. Joe Mantello inspires me; I think he does spectacular work. Dan Sullivan, Sam Gold, John Tiffany, George Wolfe. I feel very lucky to have grown up in the theatre and in New York where I got to see Bob Fosse’s work on the Broadway stage. John Dexter’s production of Equus was wildly inspiring. I work a lot in London, so I really enjoy watching wonderful directors work there. And now, there’s so much great television that’s inspiring. All those new short series like "Fleabag," are addictive to watch.

TS: What advice do you have for young people who want to direct for the theatre? LP: Go to a training program. See as much theatre as you can and see different varieties. Go to BAM, look at world theatre, know what Kabuki is, know what Grand Guignol is, know what German Expressionism is, see Theatre de Complicité. Go to all of the stuff that isn’t mainstream. Do the mainstream stuff as well, but you’ll probably learn more from the stuff on the fringe. If you find a director that you really admire, write to them and see if you can observe on their shows. They will teach you a lot just by osmosis. Also, go to museums a lot. Understand art because it will help you in your design meetings. And, know the world and the time you are living in. Not just its art, but its politics, too. It influences everything.•

Director Lonny Price in rehearsal for Scotland, PA Photo by Jeremy Daniels



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