Ben Schnickel, Alisha Spielmann, Heather E. Cunningham, and Ricardo Rust of “The Butter and Egg Man”

Retro Productions presents The Butter and Egg Man, written by George S. Kaufman, directed by Ricardo RustProducing independent theatre is a difficult game.

So a play about producing theatre, where the title is slang for a sucker who puts a lot of money into a theatrical venture he doesn’t truly understand…it might hit a little too close to home.

But Retro Productions is always a safe bet, which is what brought this microphone & podcast man to see their production of George S. Kaufman’s The Butter and Egg Man—and I found out that it did hit, in all the right places.

Listen in as director Ricardo Rust and cast members Ben Schnickel, Alisha Spielmann, and Heather E. Cunningham (Retro’s Producing Artistic Director, and past podcast guest!) discuss going back to the 1920s, choreographing your scene changes, how to deal with the unexpected onstage, and producing plays about producing plays.

“‘…it’s so fun to watch what’s happening onstage just like I’m the audience, and laugh at it…whether it be the actual play I’m laughing at, or whether it be scenery falling down, it’s funny, and you get to laugh at it…’
‘That’s kind of what’s so great about theatre…'”

Continue reading

Catya McMullen, Kate Middleton, and Scott Klopfenstein of “Rubber Ducks and Sunsets”

"Rubber Ducks and Sunsets," by Catya McMullen, directed by Kate Middleton, presented by Ground Up ProductionsRegular listeners might have noticed that Go See a Show! was on a short hiatus until a couple weeks ago, as I was out playing trumpet & more in a regional show.

And as a trumpet player, and rock music nerd, I was stoked to see that Scott Klopfenstein, former trumpet player for Reel Big Fish, was composing original music for Ground UP Productions’ Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, running now at The Gene Frankel Theater. So naturally (or selfishly, rather) I had to check this show out, if only to geek out about my love of this guy’s old band.

Turns out I got to catch a great show, too.

Thankfully, I don’t think I gushed to the point of embarrassment—and it turns out the compositions figured prominently into the show, and helped guide the narrative in a beautiful way.

But the show’s a lot more than some nice music, as you can feel (and hear) in my interview with Scott, along with playwright Catya McMullen and director Kate Middleton.

You’ll hear lots of references to “concerts” and a “lullaby,” and while it might sound really cryptic if you haven’t seen the show, I don’t think I’m giving too much away to say that, yes, there is indeed a lullaby written by one of the characters, and concerts seen throughout the show—and both are lovely inventions discovered through the collaboration of the Ground UP artists.

Listen in as Catya, Kate, and Scott discuss leaving space in your script for other artists to fill, giving yourself a title as a way to make it true, why you’d throw out 92% of a script, and the magic of theatre, deadlines, and Vermont.

“A play about people that had grown up too fast…but also had incredible light…and also were really smart but unaware of the level of their emotional incapacity their journey through the grief together…about the way that friends become family…

“With jokes.”

Continue reading