An Ann E. Wrecksick Interview with Damon Intrabartolo and Scott Allgauer
Ann E. Wrecksick & The Odyssey of the Bulimic Orphans, which describes itself as "a delightful, heartfelt, song and dance journey that takes several orphans on a quest for love, acceptance and the perfect diet," is headed to the Ars Nova (511 W. 54th St.) for eight performances only from Monday, February 20 through Sunday, March 19th. The show is written by bare actor Scott Allgauer and bare composer Damon Intrabartolo with music and lyrics by Intrabartolo. It seemed like the perfect time to sit down with both to get the scoop on the show...and lots more.
BWW: To start off, where did the idea for this very unique-sounding musical come from?
Damon: The Ann E. Wrecksick journey began in Colorado in 1999 after an acid-trip that I'd done up in the mountains with my friend. I had this vision of all these overweight orphans, being unloved and unadoptable just because they were fat. While I was driving from Colorado to LA, I thought of the basic idea, the kind of broad strokes and it just fermented like a good wine. When I got back to LA, I wrote it out, and I had one person in mind to collaborate with, somebody that I had not collaborated with before, and...
Scott: We didn't meet till later though, you had that vision in 1999.
Damon: Let me tell the story! So, I hadn't met him yet, but I knew that I wanted to collaborate with him! Scott was one of the actors in Corpus Christi, which my company God Help! produced in 2001, and sitting on my shelf was an outline for Ann E. Wrecksick. So, I met Scott, and saw him work, and I knew I wanted two things - one for him to write the book, and two for him to star in it as the title character of Ann E. Scott is one of the funniest people that I ever met in my life; he's a laugh a minute. There was just a natural chemistry between us that we could just feel. We had a rapport right away, and I was amazed that we hadn't intersected before.
Scott: I got a random phone call that was "This is Damon, and I need you to meet me at 'Numbers,'" and Numbers is...
Damon: ...My favorite upscale male hustler bar in LA, which has great beef - and I mean the best filet mignon in town. Scott sits down with a big grin on his face...
BWW: Dare I ask why?
Scott: I had no idea why I was being summoned...
Damon: Summoned is the right word, because we had just done this very serious Terrence McNally play, where Kristin had re-imagined everything in mid-southwestern American style.
Scott: And that play was running through 9-11, and the anniversary of Matthew Shephard's death and all these different things.
Damon: So I bought him a drink, pitched him the idea, handed him the outline and said 'Go knock yourself out...'
BWW: And what was your first reaction?
Scott: I just loved it. I felt like starting with the title was a really bad way to start writing a musical, but I thought that it was also hilarious. I loved even the broad strokes outline that Damon had, and we had fleshed it out on napkins many drinks later before leaving the bar. We didn't waste any time, because I thought that it was a great idea, and we didn't have any grand sort of idea for what it was going to turn into, but we decided to just do it.
Damon: Really for fun... There was no other motive than that Scott, Kristin and I wanted to put something up that we got off on, that was the only catalyst. We wanted a fun night out for us.
BWW: Has that changed at all from the original vision?
Scott: To be honest, that has not changed! People will always say 'where do you see this going and where do you want this to go?' Our reasons for doing this show have always been to have a blast, and it's so much fun;we laugh and just have the best time. I can speak for myself, Damon, Kristin, Kelly Devine our choreographer, Marco Morante our costume designer, all five of whom have been through this since its inception, that it's the most fun we've ever had working on a piece of theatre. We've all worked on bigger things; Kelly just finished Jersey Boys, Damon and Kristin had bare, I'd done Jesus Christ Superstar on tour, all these different things, but Ann E. was sort of like our little baby... Our little, dirty, naughty, fun, secret.
BWW: So how did it go from the bar to stage?
Damon: Scott and I would meet a couple of times a week, and Scott is one of the fastest collaborators that I ever worked with. This is what happens when it works, and when you're on the same page - not just in the same book, but in the same page. We'd sit down, and he'd read out loud the scenes that he wrote in longhand on a legal pad - and I'd crack up. It was a laugh a second, and I knew that it was just to have fun - there was no ambition per se at all.