BWW Interviews: Marlo Hunter, Director and Choreographer of DATE OF A LIFETIME at NJ Rep
Date of a Lifetime is a new musical that brings a fresh contemporary of view of dating to the stage. The show will run at New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) in Long Branch from March 6th through April 6th. With book and lyrics by Carl Kissin and music by Robert Baumgartner, the show is choreographed and directed by Marlo Hunter. Hunter teams up with Musical Director, Daniel Rein to bring the show to area audiences.
Broadwayworld.com had the opportunity to interview Marlo Hunter and discuss Date of a Lifetime. Hunter is a director and choreographer based in New York with an impressive list of credits that includes regional theater, Off-Broadway and Broadway shows. She recently received the prestigious 2013 Callaway Award for Excellence in Choreography. She is the founder of Eating Their Words which pairs prominent playwrights and seasoned chefs in unprecedented artistic collaboration. Hunter also teaches a workshop, "The Freelance Artist's Manifesto Boot Camp" in NYC universities, and through private coaching which empowers creative freelancers with mental and practical tools to survive and thrive as artists.
Date of a Lifetime is a unique two-person musical. Hunter acknowledged the uniqueness of the show. "Two-hander musicals aren't common -- it's a challenge to keep a story moving and engaging when you only have two voices to engage with in the course of an evening. But Date of a Lifetime does it elegantly and is constantly entertaining. The writing is funny, touching and timely; the performances are fresh and hilarious."
Hunter also commented on the distinctive plot of the show. "I would hate to spoil the story for audiences, but what makes this show particularly unique is the fact that these characters play out fantasies...but those fantasies can only go as far as each character's limitations. We all want a perfect future ourselves, but those futures are only as perfect as we believe we deserve. Carl and Rob have created real characters for us to invest in. These are flawed people looking for love. That's something we can all relate to...and laugh with."
We asked Hunter what best prepared her to work on Date of a Lifetime. She stated, "You know, I'd love to say "oh, this degree, or this production, or this mentorship." But with this piece, nothing has prepared me better than life! Like these characters, I most certainly was out there dating and feeling like true love was ever-elusive. We all have grappled with our own neuroses and self-image. And we've all let those fears get the better of us. We've stood squarely in our own way. It's being able to relate to these very flawed, very real characters that help you mine the comedy. Because, the best comedy is always rooted in truth, and in pain."
Hunter has been very impressed with the cast and creative team at NJ Rep. She said, "They're all so phenomenal! Jamie Laverdiere and Trisha Rapier have an incredible chemistry, and both are exemplary comedians with great emotional facility. You could watch them for days. The creative team at New Jersey Rep is a rare group of artists who are deeply collaborative and creatively generous. From the moment we began discussing this show and my vision for it I have felt like I was in the best of hands, and that we are all working together to bring the best version of this show to life."
Hunter also feels that NJ Rep is an excellent venue for Date of a Lifetime. "It's the perfect space for our show. The intimacy of the theater is fantastic for this two-hander. But at NJ Rep size is in no way proportional to quality. The production designs are exquisite, and seamlessly executed. Who doesn't want to launch a production with a gorgeous production design? Gabor, Suzanne, and the entire team at NJ Rep are among the most welcoming and supportive I've ever encountered. You feel like they want you to have the freedom to explore the material -- they produced it because they trust it, and they trust the creative team at the helm. If you need something to better the show, they'll make sure you have it. That's about as ideal as it gets when you're launching a new production."
Date of a Lifetime at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch is showing from March 6th through April 6th on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm; Sundays at 2pm and selected Sundays at 7pm from March 6 thru April 6. For tickets call 732-229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org.