“The Frank Galati adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath is an uplifting piece of theatre,” said Randy White, the Artistic Director of the Cardinal Stage Company. “The Steppenwolf Company in Chicago put it on in 1988 and then it went to Broadway where it won Tony Awards. That production put Steppenwolf on the international theatre map.”
The Director, Directed
Dan Lodge-Rigal is the Music Director for the production. “Galati is very concerned with music in the play, but his directions are pretty general. You may see a note about mood, or even something as specific as the term ‘hymn,’ but he’s left most of the choices up to us. So, a big part of my job has been in working with Randy to tailor the individual selections. I should add that like everyone else in the band, I’m sometimes a character and even narrate some of the scenes. So I direct the music and then Randy directs me. “
Stage Director As Traffic Manager
Randy White talked about the challenge of a large cast playing multiple roles and even multiple instruments. “Cardinal has done big shows, but in terms of the number of people and the variety of actions The Grapes of Wrath is right up there. In a single scene we may have part of the cast in the truck, part of the cast playing and even part of the cast taking a swim. Sometimes I feel more like a traffic manager than a director.”
Narrative Yes, Poetic Reverie No!
“Galati has done a terrific job with what is a sprawling narrative. The original has the central story of the Joad family’s pilgrimage, but interspersed there are whole chapters of poetic reveries. The careful selection and then the skill and care that he’s shown in putting the individual on stage is an exemplary piece of work.”