INDEPTH INTERVIEWS Articles
Click Here for More Articles on INDEPTH INTERVIEWS...

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIA

‚Äč

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAToday we are talking to the composing half of one of the most talented and consistently exciting songwriting teams in musical theatre, Dempsey/Rowe - the force behind ZOMBIE PROM, THE FIX, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, and, now, the brand new rock musical at Washington, D.C.'s lauded and progressive Signature Theatre, BROTHER RUSSIA - Dana Rowe. Discussing the finer details of his previous collaborations with John Dempsey on the West End iterations of THE FIX and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, as well as their subsequent American premieres at the Signature, Rowe and I dissect his career thus far, with a particular focus on his edgy new hard rock theatre piece, BROTHER RUSSIA, directed by frequent Dempsey/Rowe collaborator, previous InDepth InterView participant and Signature's resident director, Eric Schaeffer. In addition to all about the boundary-breaking and genre-spanning BROTHER RUSSIA and his other notable musicals, Rowe and I also outline his influences and his own personal favorite scores old and new, as he shares his infectious enthusiasm for the musical genre at large and what makes his exceedingly complimentary partnership with Dempsey so elemental to the success of their risky and rewarding shows, from ZOMBIE PROM until now with BROTHER RUSSIA. All of that and much, much more!

Tickets and more information on BROTHER RUSSIA is available here. The previous entry in this series, InDepth InterView: John Dempsey, is available here.

These Two Hands, Playing These Three Chords

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: What were your main musical influences growing up?

DR: Well, I grew up playing classical piano and playing gospel piano, and, then, right before my brother went into the National Guard, he gave me a stack of albums and he said, "Keep these safe for me and whatever you do, don't let mom and dad hear them!" And, it was just that - it was The Doors; it was Janis Joplin; it was the 2-LP set of WOODSTOCK.

PC: So, since you had WOODSTOCK, TOMMY by THE WHO - the first rock opera - was in there. What did you think of that revolutionary masterpiece?

DR: Oh, yeah! That was actually a very, very huge influence for me, too - just the whole TOMMY world.

PC: Of course. What other theatre-oriented works had an influence, would you say?

DR: Well, then, of course, obviously, I got a copy of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR on the sly - and I had it memorized by the end of the Summer it came out, as I recall. You know, I listened to all of that stuff on headphones because my mom and dad were very, very adamant about not listening to certain kinds of music - you know, I could only listen to my Chopin and Arthur Rubinstein; which I did, sort of religiously. So, it's all the sum of my musical parts, as I say - I love all sorts of music and much of it is organic to me for one reason or another; whether it is opera and that world or whether it's the classics in the rock world. It's all a part of me.

PC: When was the formative moment where you realized you had to create a musical piece like those that inspired you?

DR: You know, it was a while coming and I was a late bloomer in a way. I always knew my world would be about music - I studied music in school as a double-major, piano and voice, at Indiana University. Then, I did some work in New York City and I worked in some rock bands.

PC: No way! A rock band?

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: Yeah, I screamed my head off in rock bands - and, then I sang opera for a little while, too. [Laughs.] And, I always played keyboards and I got into music directing in theatre.

PC: Did you do theatre at all growing up?

DR: Well, when I was a kid I got my feet wet in theatre - I mean I was 6 or 7 years old. But, yes, to answer your question, there was a moment - I did a stint with a professional theatre; have you ever heard of the Kenley Players?

PC: Of course! They've done some great work over the years.

DR: Yeah, they have. So, I was cast in a production of OLIVER! when I was about 8. I just remember sitting there learning the music - holding the vocal sides - and, I remember thinking to myself, "I want one of these of my own someday." And, that was just one of those crystal-clear moments for me - you know, "I love what this is and I love the feeling from the magical world that this creates."

PC: The magic of theatre.

DR: Yeah - I just remember thinking very clearly, "I want that."

PC: When John did this column recently we discussed OLIVER! being a foremost early influence on him, as well. Have you two ever discussed that fact?

DR: Here's something that John and I figured out, too - his parents brought him to see that production of the Kenley Players's OLIVER!

PC: Seriously?

DR: Yes! In our young lives, our paths crossed that way. So, yeah, we have sort of talked about a lot of that stuff - we have been working together for many, many years, after all.

PC: Did you ever get to meet Lionel Bart in your travels?

DR: Believe it or not, Lionel Bart came to our opening night of THE FIX in London.

PC: What was he like?

DR: He was everything I imagined! It was at the Donmar Warehouse, and, to me, it was like meeting a deity! I mean, more than anything, it's like, what a treat to meet this man who was such a formative part of my life - I think it was the first musical I ever saw besides THE KING & I.

PC: What did he think of THE FIX?

DR: He was very complimentary - I remember that. I have to be brutally honest with you, though - my head was swimming and I can't honestly remember two words that he said! [Laughs.]

PC: At a loss for words with an idol.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: I remember thinking, "Oh, my God! This is the man who wrote OLIVER!" I remember the whole experience was a very sort of interesting first outing for us in London and I met a lot of people, but he is the one that stood out to me.

PC: Did other musical theatre icons come to see the show - did Andrew Lloyd Webber attend, by chance?

DR: I think so - I think he came. Pete Townshend also came, of course.

PC: His liner notes for THE FIX are absolutely brilliant.

DR: They are. You know, I remember seeing TOMMY on Broadway and it being a very emotional event for me - I remember thinking, "Oh, my God! This is so cool to finally see this onstage," - and, that opening was always so brilliant.

PC: Des McAnuff's hi-tech staging for TOMMY was superb - and Sam Mendes took it one step further in his original production of THE FIX.

DR: Sam's work was so, so amazing on THE FIX - but, the staging of TOMMY was so great, too. It was outstanding - extraordinary. The whole thing with the French horns and then the guitars and everything - I was just like, "Aww, this should run forever!"

PC: I would have killed to see Ken Russell direct a film of THE FIX, wouldn't you?

DR: [Big Laugh.]

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: Given the advancements in HD technology, it's so much easier to film a production now, would you like to see your shows preserved in that way in the future?

DR: It might be interesting - I think it would definitely have to be explored and made film-worthy. You know, now, THE FIX works really well as a stage telling of the story, but, for me, it's always a different thing when you change mediums - I think it always has to have a good reason why it is a musical and why it is onstage or on TV or on film. What suits the story best?

PC: The film adaptation of ZOMBIE PROM is significantly different from the stage version - it only retains a handful of songs from the stage score.


DR: Yeah - most of it is out, just part and parcel. I think that that film was fun and I thought RuPaul was great. You know, that film was just originally supposed to be a doctorial thesis, I think.

PC: No way! It's wonderfully done. I wish it was longer, though.

DR: Yeah, I think that was the deal, though - it was supposed to be a student's project and not a national release or anything.

PC: It is - or was - available for download on iTunes at one point, thankfully.

DR: Oh, really? I didn't know that! That's great that it's out there.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: Tell me about "Four Painted Walls" on Philip Quast's live album recorded at the Donmar - was that ever intended for THE FIX?

DR: No. That was written specifically for Philip because he said he was going to do the concert and it was right after THE FIX, so, he said, "Would you guys consider writing me something?" So, we did. We wrote a couple songs, and, I have to say, they were actually kind of risqué. I hate that I can't remember all the ones we wrote, but it was during that time right after THE FIX.

PC: The material had to fit with "Finishing The Hat" and "Some Enchanted Evening" somewhat, after all.

DR: Right! Right. It was a fun experiment, though - it was an exorcism for us, really.

PC: Getting into the nuts and bolts of the development of THE FIX, tell me about writing "First Came Mercy", which Philip did so superbly in the original production but you and John have since written another song for that slot since. "First Came Mercy" is impossible to replace, to me.

DR: [Laughs.] Aww, well, thank you! That is one of my favorites. I think that it was a complete expression for us, musically, and it is certainly something that I am very proud of, but, I think it is one of those things that, in the overall telling of the story, it stopped the show - and not in a great way.

PC: It brought it to a halt.

DR: Yeah - you know, it really all comes down to: how best can we clearly tell this story? And, sometimes, with these things, I have to just step back - you know, part of growing for me is realizing that it may be something amazing musically, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best choice for moving the storytelling along. Maybe it's confusing emotions and confusing things for the audience. I feel that "Mercy Me" works better, probably, along those lines - telling the story; it's clearer, simpler. It can stand alone because it isn't too too complex.

PC: Daryl's big song in THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, "Who's The Man", is another one that you and John have since replaced - even though the original is such a strong song. It has such a fantastic build.

DR: [Laughs.] I hear that Lucie Arnaz does a killer version of that in one of her club acts - yes, that song with the original lyrics.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: I bet she can make it work.

DR: Yeah, I just love the idea that she sings it at all, you know?

PC: So, why did you even write "The Glory Of Me" anyway?

DR: Well, we are quite happy with "The Glory Of Me", too - it's just a whole other way of going with that moment, you know? I think both have their charms.

PC: Kristin Chenoweth and Ruthie Henshall have both done this column and we touched upon working on the demos for WITCHES with you and John. Do you have memories of that and working with them?

DR: Oh, my gosh - yes! Kristin was our Toffee in the workshop, and, so, we became friendly with her - and, of course, became fans, too. And, then, when it came time to do the production, she was no longer available - she was well on her way to becoming Kristin Chenoweth by that point. I think she was about to do STEEL PIER, and, we said, "Would you consider doing this?" And, we actually had her come in and demo "Something" from WITCHES. At the time, even, she was interested in being one of the witches - more than Toffee - and I could see that. At that point, I was like, "Yeah, I can definitely see that." Even though we had already thought of her as the ingénue, she could clearly totally pull off one of the witches, too.

PC: Undoubtedly. She still has a shot! They both do, actually.

DR: Definitely! With Ruthie - she just came in and did it. You know, all of these actresses are so amazing in the way that they just jump in with both feet. They say, "Sure! Let's go play." And, that's exactly what happens - you know, they come over to my office/studio where I have one mic set up and I'll play; that's how these demos are made.

PC: BROTHER RUSSIA is the ultimate realization of what many Dempsey/Rowe fans have always wanted - a full-out rock opera. Even the demos for BROTHER RUSSIA are spine-tingling. It's a real, true hard rock rock opera in the truest sense, would you agree?

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: It's heavy metal opera - it totally is! There are no apologies for it.

PC: Nor should there be when it's done this well.

DR: You know, it's something that we are finding is a lot like high opera - moments of recitative with harpsichord and bass and then the electric guitars clang and clash in. So, you know, I am in hog heaven - I am loving every minute of it. It's rock and it's opera and all the stakes are really high.

PC: Do you write/record on a midi system of some sort - a digital keyboard?

DR: Yeah - our demos are done at home; they're real demos! There is nothing professional about them - it's just Dana and John playing. It's really an important part of our process, though.

PC: John said much the same thing - it's an essential step.

DR: It's how we get the flow of things - it's part of our process and we use it in lieu of workshops a lot of the time, I would say. You know, we do set pieces that will flesh it out and try to do a little bit more of an extravagant demo, and, then, some of them are just me and John croaking out the songs on the piano. It depends on what point we are at with the show.

PC: Your vocal training must have really come in handy when writing those trio harmonies for WITCHES - they are so beautifully detailed. Do you happen to have perfect pitch?

DR: No, I definitely don't have perfect pitch! [Laughs.] I certainly can hear the stuff in my head - and, that's part of the process, too; being able to play what I hear in my head is a part of the process that I am very thankful for.

PC: Do you and John ever utilize trunk songs in writing new shows?

DR: Our stuff usually doesn't usually work well that way - there are just a couple of things that I think we have ever dug out. John has an amazing memory for going, "You don't remember that one song that didn't quite work out but had this melody?" And then he sings the melody and I'll say, "Oh, yeah - yeah." I mean, he's the one who remembers that stuff - I just kind of keep on keep on moving!

PC: Never look back.

DR: Yeah, for me, it's sort of like once the song is written - as I said, we write very quickly and then we record it; then, we listen to them and see how the flow is going. I mean, we had already rewritten and replaced big sections of BROTHER RUSSIA before Eric even heard any of the stuff, before we started rehearsals. So, we are pretty rigorous with our self-editing.

PC: What was it like post-editing THE FIX to fit it on a one disc cast album? John told me it was recorded live on the stage of the Donmar from a remote trailer studio, correct?

DR: Yeah, they had a big, remote truck that came - I remember that they took all the wires out from the street into the Donmar Warehouse; you know, the band was still set up in the theater, so everything was just direct. That was kind of fun, but it was a far cry from THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, which was done at, you know, a studio in London - it was a heavenly experience to have the privilege to do that that way.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: Do you feel particularly lucky to have come about in an era where all three of your shows got cast albums - something that does not happen very often these days?

DR: Oh, my God - indeed! Indeed. You know, for ZOMBIE PROM, we had like two days to record it and John and I produced it ourselves - it was very, very interesting.

PC: What was that process like, editing it down for an album?

DR: Well, we only had so many minutes we could fit on a CD and we really wanted to be able to tell the story. We were so desperate to get the story told and have it fit on the album that some of the tempos are very, very fast. You know, I go to see productions of ZOMBIE PROM now and I say, "You can relax that temp a little bit," and, they say, "We were trying to match the CD!" And, I say, "Oh, we were just trying to fit it all on one CD." [Laughs.]

PC: The cast album for THE FIX is missing some of the most unique aspects of the score - "Lion Hunts The Tiger" and a lot of the recitative, especially.

DR: You're right. You're right - it is. You know, I wouldn't be opposed to another crack at it at some point - John and I would love it. It was done at NYU a few years ago and John and I were able to look at it a little bit and it was lovely to reexamine that show - there's lot of stuff that we'd both like to do to it, though. We've learned a lot since then, I think - we were really just cutting our teeth on that show.

PC: In what way?

DR: Well, there are points where it is a "scene" for all intents and purposes and it is really intricate - it was one of the joys of doing BROTHER RUSSIA, too; there are some moments like that in this show and it is so fun writing them. Real musical scenes.

PC: What was the first kernal of a melody you wrote for the score of BROTHER RUSSIA?

DR: I think it was the opening number - I think we started right with the opening number.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: In contrast, John and I discussed the original opening number of WITCHES OF EASTWICK quite a bit - a much more complex number than what you ended up with in the final show. Do you optimally prefer writing sung-through shows or full musical scenes whenever possible?

DR: You know, I guess I just naturally think that way. I certainly love all kinds of musicals - book musicals and the others. You know, I am in love with the form - just the arc of it and the discipline. I mean, what is a musical? To me, it's just the best because it is every discipline coming together and collaborating to make art and to create an emotional experience for the audience and take them on a ride. So, I love all kinds of storytelling - it's why I love everything from opera and classical music to down and dirty rock; and, I think that a lot of country music is hard to beat.

PC: Country is the only popular music where lyrics and storytelling still have the prime priority above all the other elements - even the hook.

DR: Oh, that's so true - and, isn't it the most near to show tunes that there is in popular music?

PC: Totally.

DR: When you think about it, really, it's all situational - it's all character-driven; they are telling their story. It's a wonderful thing. It's very close to show music.

PC: How do you and John typically create a song? Who writes what first?

DR: Well, it depends on the song. John is usually very clear about what he wants to accomplish in a scene - he is very, very passionate; even if he changes his mind, he is passionate in the moment, dramaturgically-speaking. It's always about: what needs to happen? He'll often show up in the morning with a full scene and song kind of fully-formed and I'll kind of be like, "When did you do this?!" [Laughs.]

PC: He keeps you on your toes.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: Yeah - you know, we work and then he works on his own a lot. I create the piano/vocal and then he goes away most of the time. He usually has a fully thought-out thing and then I start setting it, but it changes as we work. We have really long conversations before I ever go to the piano and start playing around with stuff, though. Particularly if there is a lot of exposition and a lot of information that needs to get through, it's more important that the melody and the music doesn't get in the way but only sets it and helps convey it. If it is a ballad - something more melodically-driven - and we are really presenting an emotion, as opposed to a lot of ideas and thoughts and words, then, a lot of the time, we will start with music first. You know, John will say, "This is the title I am thinking about," and, then, we will go from there.

PC: To use an idiosyncratic example: how did "Spin" in THE FIX come about?

DR: Oh, "Spin" - since the hook of the song is "spin", we thought that using a jazz waltz under it felt so right. There is something so innately creepy about it. And, good God - what actress worth her salt wouldn't want to, you know, take her make-up off and then remove her wig why she sings this song? [Laughs.]

PC: A very Helen Lawson moment.

DR: Yes! Yes. Very VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. [Big Laugh.] So, yes, it just really depends - there is no exact same way that we approach a song; it varies song to song.

PC: How did your writing process with John work on BROTHER RUSSIA?

DR: With this show, BROTHER RUSSIA - first, we wrote big set-pieces that were sort of mile-markers throughout the show. Then, since there was so much connective material and so many scenes that are reprises of ideas and melodies, we proceeded to stitch it all together - it's like stitching together a quilt of intricate pieces that need to all fit together somehow in the end.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: John told me that he drew inspiration from many sources for BROTHER RUSSIA. What were the foundations of the score?

DR: The first songs we wrote were the opening number and love duet, "I Belong To You". So much of the show is about perseverance and belonging - the sense of family and the fact that theatre becomes a family for these people; this troupe. It's about making it to the next day, the next town, the next audience. So, "Brother Russia" is the song where they welcome the audience to the theatre and they say, you know, "Buckle your seatbelts and get to the bathroom now, because once we start you are not going to want to leave!"

PC: What can you tell me about the fairy tale element and how that plays into the score - "Child In The Wood" in particular?

DR: Yes, there is a big fairy tale element - "Child Of The Wood". [Pause.] You always need a Siberian forest witch, you know! [Laughs.]

PC: You've got that right!

DR: I think that for BROTHER RUSSIA, we wanted to have a musically masculine telling of this story - we have this wonderful richness of Eastern Europe and the character that those people have; not much really deters them from continuing and enduring, you know? So, that opens up a whole world, musically. Even though it is set in the modern day, the story takes us back to the 1900s and the late-1800s. So, what's wonderful is that they are accompanied by a rock band that they pick up along the way - it used to be a 12-member band, but there are only 7 left. I just love the idea of telling this period piece with the sound of this rock band - and, it gives us a wonderful excuse to do it with modern-day people telling this story and we go right into their world.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: The band is a pseudo-bar mitzvah band in a way, no?

DR: Yeah! Yeah - it's sort of like a rock band except with people's friends who can play an instrument.

PC: What a rich meta-narrative that adds to the story - all told through the orchestrations!

DR: Yeah, it was like, "Hey, I know so-and-so and he plays the trombone," and, it's like, "Sure! Get him!" Even if a trombone doesn't really fit with the sound of the band, they try to make it work, you know? But, that's our band - that's the world we're in; that's the sound.

PC: So, how many members are there in the BROTHER RUSSIA orchestra total?

DR: 7 pieces - which is plenty loud. The band is the whole orchestra. You know, with keyboard and the advent of digital samples, you are not limited anymore, but it's still important to give the world a sound. I think it's also important to limit the palette, otherwise it can get messy, I've found.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: Would you potentially be interested in considering mounting a lost project of yours - JULIAN KEYES - now that BROTHER RUSSIA is up and running?

DR: Well, first of all, we have to finish writing it! I think that would be a good move before anything else. [Laughs.] But, honestly, I think that that is one of those shows that we would really love to do a concept album of - that would be really fun. I think that show would be almost impossible to stage - even though there are ways I know now to do certain things. At the time, I don't think we even considered the staging realities of it because we were just stretching our muscles and flexing our muscles and doing what we loved to do.

PC: The process is the reward in itself.

DR: Oh, God - isn't that the truth! That was such an exhilarating process on that one - yeah. It was kind of its perfect little thing, even if it is never finished - it's the perfect snapshot of a time. We were about to do the workshop of ZOMBIE PROM and I was living in Florida and John was living in Ohio and he came down and we were waiting - filling time - and, so, we kept ourselves busy with writing JULIAN KEYES. I think we did two scenes or so, and, then, we did the workshop of ZOMBIE PROM and we started THE FIX right after that - which was titled CAL at that point.

PC: I've always wanted to know: what is your favorite FIX logo? Both are so brilliant.

DR: We had the Lincoln with the dollar at the Donmar, but, I think I like the one for the Signature Theatre even better - you know, at first glance it looks like an American flag, but, if you look closer, it's three lines of some sort of powdery substance. [Laughs.]

PC: Speaking of spaced-out material: what was the process of writing "Mistress Of Deception" like for THE FIX? Was that written on a guitar or a piano, given the riff? That's my favorite song of yours, I think.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: Aww, thanks! I was just sort of channeling it on a piano, I think - I predominately play keyboard, but there are times when I have to just step away and imagine other instruments. I have to say that THE FIX and BROTHER RUSSIA both were mostly imagined before I ever even touched a keyboard.

PC: And they are your two best scores to date - how interesting.

DR: You know, I have my old tricks - it's that whole thing of your hands will always go to a certain place on a keyboard or an instrument. So, now, I do myself a big favor by just sort of imagining, "What would this song be? What would this particular voice sound like doing it?" I remember with "The Mistress Of Deception", I was thinking a lot about Tina Turner - like, "Wouldn't that be hot - Tina Turner with some high notes?"

PC: Was "Happy Birthday, Mr. Senator" always a part of it?

DR: Yeah, yeah - I think that was always a part of the song.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIAPC: The gospel parts of the score seem to extend from the drug-induced moments - not unlike TOMMY, which famously featured Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, of course.

DR: Oh, yeah - it's a total religious experience. It's TOMMY. It's when that substance becomes their God - it's that moment when they get that need for that fix and then they get it and, to me, it's the release and that's the sound of it all happening.

PC: Are you attracted to jarring dramatic transitions in your scores - moments like the drum march in "Dangerous Games" turning into the dangerous rock theme?

DR: Yeah, I am - I really love those sort of filmic, cinematic moments. It's one thing I really do love to do - you know, why can't we do jump cuts? And, musically, it can be so interesting.

PC: John and I discussed NEXT TO NORMAL being one of his favorite recent scores. What have been some of your favorite musicals that you have seen recently?

DR: I would have to say the same - NEXT TO NORMAL. I also have to say, even though it is not a new score, that the recent revival of HAIR was just fantastic, I thought.

PC: What do you think about Andrew Lloyd Webber, Boublil & Shonberg and the mega-musical era in general?

DR: Well, I think they certainly served a purpose in that I think they made a lot of people happy - and, that's really the thing we're all trying to do, isn't it?

PC: That's the trick of a hit show, certainly, it seems.

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: I think that they were inspiring for me, actually. I remember going to London with a friend in the late-80s and just being gob-smacked coming out of LES MIZ - I was just like, "Oh, my God - I need to do this! I have to do this - no matter what." And, that was a big turning point for me. I was so swept up in the story and the emotional sweep of the whole thing. So, I think they are fabulous - we continue to evolve and change and that will continue.

PC: So, BROTHER RUSSIA is the main compostional priority for you right now? Are you working on anything else at the same time?

DR: BROTHER RUSSIA is the main thing right now - there's nothing else yet that I can be thinking about right now. Not yet! [Laughs.]

PC: Is there a project that you would like to pursue in the future that you've begun work on - perhaps something that can be found in the bottom drawer along with JULIAN KEYES?

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: There are some projects that haven't really found a home yet, but they are all something that I felt like I needed to do at the time. THE BALLAD OF BONNIE & CLYDE was at the NYMF festival a few years ago and that was a country-driven score - the actors were actually the band and they made their way through the audience over the course of the evening. That was an interesting experience - I always felt a connection to that; for some reason, I always was fascinating by the idea of the romantic notion of Bonnie & Clyde and that world and everything. That was something I felt I had to do at the time, but I don't know if we'll pick it up again. We'll see.

PC: John was telling me that the process of writing BROTHER RUSSIA was exceptionally short for a musical - less than two years from inception of the idea until first preview.

DR: Yeah, it was a great experience - again, stretching those writing muscles! And, working with John is such a joy and we really are able to get down to the task of writing pretty quickly.

PC: Would you like to see BROTHER RUSSIA eventually transfer to New York after the Signature run?

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIADR: Oh, sure! I think it would be a wonderful Broadway show. If that's what needs to happen, then sure, but I am sort of passed the point of needing it to happen - at this moment, it's more like: what will happen will happen and we are having an amazing production with this fantastic cast and crew right now. I mean, working with this cast and these musicians - and, especially, this orchestrator - is just fabulous. The whole experience is so enjoyable - it's a fabulous collaboration. And, I have to say what a complete joy and treat it is to work with Eric and the team he has assembled for this show - I honestly couldn't be happier.

PC: This has been phenomenal, Dana. Thank you so very much. I can't wait for what's next!

DR: Thank you so much, Pat - I appreciate this so much. Take care. Bye bye.

View a collection of clips from BROTHER RUSSIA below!

InDepth InterView: Dana Rowe & BROTHER RUSSIA

Related Articles


Comment & Share

About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts