Before the opening of the first show of the season, we talked with Nancy Schaeffer, the director of SEUSSICAL™, to learn more about the show.
Q: Give me 3 words to describe Seussical.
A: Three words I’d use to describe it are beautiful, meaningful, and joyful. Describing in a sentence using three words I’d say, every person counts.
Q: What do you like most about Seussical?
A: It’s hard to choose just one thing. I love the music, but I love the characters the most. I love stories that have interesting characters, like most people do, and this show is full of them. They each have their own little egos, their own personas.
Q: What experience are you trying to create for audiences?
A: Any time I direct a show, the purpose is to create an experience that just completely captivates the audience. Something that makes them feel like they’re a part of the journey just by being in the theater and going through the adventure with the actors. I want every audience to feel like we did all this just for them.
Q: What is it like being a director?
A: Sometimes it’s like being a parent: you give these actors and technicians everything you can and then they have to go do it. It’s like sending kids to school for the first time; the play has to live its life. People also ask me questions that I just don’t know the answers to, and instead of acting like I know everything, I just tell them “I’ll find that out for you,” or “What do you think?”
Q: How have you seen theater change someone’s life?
A: The pursuit of anything you love, the pursuit of what brings you joy is always life changing. I talk to my casts about the fact that you never know who is in the audience or what they’re going through. It’s our job to provide a moment of happiness and that’s both a gift and a huge responsibility. A perfect example of that is Ryan Goldblatt, who saw HOW I BECAME A PIRATE and loved it. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after. Now his mother has a great relationship with us all because her son had a good time at the theater.
Q: What’s your favorite children’s story? Why?
A: Oh here’s a funny memory, one with my cousin, about the first book I ever learned to read. The first book I learned to read was, funny enough, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. But my cousin always teased me, she’d say, “Oh well you just memorized the words.” And I’d say, “Yeah. And?” We always teased each other like that. And now instructing people who memorize stories is my job!
Creating powerful work on stage can be challenging, but it is so rewarding for artists. Especially when it has the power to help shy children open up or bring someone in the audience a moment of joy. We hope you’ll look for a moment of joy with us, at a performance of SEUSSICAL™. Visit dct.org/plays for show times and more information.