Jonathan and I have been chatting about this past season at The Gallery Players. This season has been a great representation of American theatre. Here it is:
Malini: The Gallery Players celebrates 50 years this year with you as their season producer. The season reflects many genres of theatre (Gypsy, The 39 Steps, A Few Good Men, Marry Me a Little, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Sweet Bird of Youth, Ragtime, and the upcoming Black Box New Play Festival). How did you and your team decide on the shows?
Jonathan: This season is indeed quite varied. We tried to pick shows that were fitting of a 50th season. As a result, we chose very challenging pieces for a 99-seat theatre to perform. Each show presented a unique challenge and one that gave us a chance to explore new things such as the intricate sets for Sweet Bird of Youth, the many locations of Gypsy to the 35 person cast of Ragtime. The desire was to have the season reflect Gallery’s roots but also show where we want to go with more intricate and audience delighting design, cast and production elements. We wanted to find shows that could wow our audience and how them where we want to take the theater and push the limits of what 99-seat theater can be for the audience.
Malini: The company has a rich history. Harvey Feinstein’s Torch Song Trilogy has its roots there. Seth Rudetsky and many other Broadway folks have performed there. What drew you to this theatre company?
Jonathan: It is actually! I’m a huge fan of both Harvey and Seth, and when I heard that they got their start in our theatre, it further solidified my desire to work there. I think what I have loved is coming into an environment that is there to help artists train and develop their craft. It’s been such a great place to learn producing. I’m so grateful to our Artistic Director, Mark Harborth, and the president of the board, Dominic Cuskern, for the amount of support they’ve given me and the leeway to learn.
Malini: What is your goals as an artist?
Jonathan: First, aesthetically, I try to make art that can only be done in a theater, live. Whether this be some kind of improv, immersive elements, or even just surrounding the audience with singers, I try to make sure that this is something you have to attend to understand. I love live performance and I want my audience to have a reason to see my work rather than watching a streaming video. In a more philosophically, my goal as an artist is to create art that has what it needs to succeed. I’m a big believer in creating a piece that is both sustainable, economically and artistically, that gets exactly what it needs but doesn’t have to get what it wants to tell its story and reach its audience.
Malini: What’s next for the company?
Jonathan: We have big plans! The week after we close ragtime we are presenting a workshopped production of a new musical by Cristina and Robert Farruggia, On the Air. It’s a great new piece and is a first for both Gallery Players and its Overtures reading program. Next season should be a great one as for the first time we’re doing four musicals. I can’t tell you what they are just yet, as our announcement has been held until May 9th at our theater’s 50th Birthday party in Park Slope.
Jonathan-Bruce King hails from the beautiful and slightly foggy, Oakland, CA. Originally trained as an actor at Washington University in St. Louis, he now works as the season producer at Gallery Players in Park Slope. Producing select off-off broadway credits include Bottled Up (DCTV), A Doll’s House (Access Theatre), In the Heights (Gallery Players) and Ragtime (Gallery Players). Outside of his work in theatre and the consulting world he enjoys escaping New York for the sunny wonderland that is the west coast, attending lunches at the Coffee House Club, and reading his favorite points and miles blogs. Artistically he tries to be involved with theatre that is immersive and shows off all the amazing opportunities afforded by live performance.