Recently, we asked Bad Habit Productions' Producing Artistic Director Daniel Morris (DM) a few questions about the musical he is directing on the mainstage this summer, A Man of No Importance. Here are his answers...
Why this musical? Why now?
DM: We actually began discussing this musical about three years ago, and put it through a long process in order to make sure we had all the tools to do the show correctly. Little did we know three years ago how much the recent events in Orlando would influence our thinking as we began to explore the themes together as a cast. The message of acceptance and love is definitely one that I've found therapeutic myself—and I hope it will do the same for the audience.
Does this show hold personal significance for you? How?
DM: I saw the show back in 2003, and it has always stayed with me. It was a point in my life where I really identified with the arc that Alfie was going through. Just like him, it took me a while to find myself.
How is this musical different than ones you've tackled before?
DM: I just finished directing a large scale musical—and while this one is similar in cast size, it feels different. There's an intimacy that is created within the show that draws the audience in a bit more than musicals usually allow. Doing it in in a three-quarter-thrust style brings the show/audience relationship even closer.
What have been your greatest sources of inspiration, artistic and otherwise, as far as this production goes?
DM: There's a new style of theater recently that moves us away from the scene/song/transition aspects of musical theater. I definitely appreciate shows that allow scenes to flow right into next one without much delay. I've been influenced by this style and combined it with a show that already moves along quickly. I think we're landing on a solid production that is really beautiful.
The show takes place in 1960s Dublin. What makes it relevant to today's audiences?
DM: The show itself is surprising still very relevant. Who can't relate to a community of people coming together because of something they love? The themes—finding your place in the world, balancing religion and truth, and learning how to love yourself—are so universal that I think the audience will appreciate exploring them in 1960s Dublin.
What excites you the most about this production?
DM: I feel really lucky to be directing this production, at this time, with this amazing cast. It's always wonderful to be back in the Wimberly, and I think this is a show that adds a new layer by being performed so close to the audience. In a somewhat hostile election year, I've been enjoying spending my time with these themes and am excited to share them all with an audience.
If there is one thing you hope audience members take away from this production, what would it be, and why?
DM: There is a clear "Love who you love" message throughout the show, something that I think we all need right now. I'm hoping the audience will come and be able to escape into this world with us, reminding them about how far we've all come.
A Man of No Importance runs August 6 to August 28 in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in Boston, MA. Click here for tickets and more information.