George Walker: Cardinal Stage Company is presenting its first full length virtual musical ordinary days by Adam Gwon. Returning to the style it knows and loves, American Musical Theatre. It's directed by Kate Galvin. The music director is Ray Fellman, and our guest is one of the stars of the show, Julian Diaz-Granados. The four actors are all in different studios. I'm curious about how this is all working out. Julian, you were here for Newsies. You're operating in New York and I gather you're working with a green screen.
Julian: That's right, yeah. All the actors are working remotely. We've been recording remotely, working over Zoom with Ray and Kate getting the music together, and then we'll all be filming. We’re using green screen so that we can appear to be in the same place. Yes, it's been a fully remote production so far and it felt more together than one might expect. It's been a really collaborative process, regardless of the fact that we're separated by distance, it's been wonderful.
George: Ray, tell us a little bit about the music direction.
Ray Fellman: It's a sung through piece, so it's all underscored. It's a beautiful, wonderful score and took a good deal of practice. Adam Gwon is an amazing composer. His music is very accessible, very easy to love. You hear it and you think,.. Oh yeah., this is really,.. you know..., it's groovy… It's kind of fun. Or this is a little bit complex. So that rhythm is a little bit different than what you would expect, or that melody is a little more complex. Even though it sounds totally accessible. He's a fantastic, fantastic writer, and this piece really showcases his work.
Ray: I started by sending everybody rehearsal tracks. This was before Christmas. Normally, we'd all gather in a room. I would do one-on-one coaching to get started and then we would start to put everything together. But, since we're not in a room. What was wonderful, was our first day of sort of virtual coaching. When we met over zoom, one person at a time, the singer would sing to the track that I sent. And then Kate and I would weigh in on how it was going, and I was gathering information through those sessions to be able to go into the studio to do a final track.
Ray: For example. Julian might say, hey, it measured 54. Can I just have a little more time? This is my interpretation and so I would sort of put that in the back of my head and then go into the studio and give him that time in the piano track. It's been a challenge. It's been an incredible learning experience and it's been such a pleasure. To be able to do something creative right now.
George: Being able to be creative during the Covid Pandemic. Julian tells us a little bit about your character.
Juiian:. Jason lives in New York and he is an architect, and he is dating this woman named Claire and they've been together for about a year and a half. It’s about that time to take it to the next level, so he asks to move in. It kind of chronicles their journey as through their relationship. It begins a little rocky and they start to try to navigate, and that they're starting to have some problems communicating
Julian: At the same time …there's another… a couple that they don't know this other couple. They're very impactful on the lives and on the relationship. Claire is played by Kayla Marie Eilers, who's familiar to Cardinal patrons for her roles.
Julian: Then we've got the other couple who were graduates of the Indiana University Theater BFA program and they’re Nina Dawnville and Henry Miller.They're playing Warren and Deb. Warren is an artist assistant. The artist becomes incarcerated. He begins to kind of take up his work and to continue that on and then Deb is a graduate student and so she is working on her on her thesis. They're very much opposite. She's very studious, quite to the book, and he's an artist assistant. He's a little bit, all over the place. Very much in touch with his emotions. Through fate, they crossed paths and while they don't necessarily mesh right away, they start to realize that they can learn a bit more from each other than they may have initially thought, and so their friendship begins to grow.
You see their friendship and relationship growing as you see Claire and Jason’s start to deteriorate a bit and run into some problems. I don't want to give anything away ..It's a feel good musical… It leaves you happy at the end. Yeah.
George: The production of Ordinary Days by Adam Gwon at Zoom from Cardinal Stage Co. plays February 11th through the 21st. It’s on demand at Cardinal Stage.org or over the phone at 812 336 9300.
I'm George Walker for WFIU arts.