BWW Interviews: Skyline Theatre Company's CABARET Managing Artistic Director Sam Scalamoni
Skyline Theatre Company was founded in 1995 by a group of professional artist living in Northern New Jersey to bring quality theater to Bergen County. Managing Artistic Director Sam Scalamoni has worked as Associate Director on Broadway's Lestat and Beauty & The Beast as well as numerous other New York shows. He has directed many of the shows for Skyline and starts their latest season with the hit musical CABARET. BroadwayWorld caught up with Mr. Scalamoni to discuss his company and this production.
We know opening is fast approaching and we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. For those that may not know about Skyline, can you tell us a little about your company?
Sam Scalamoni: Yes! Our mission is to bring together professional artists to create quality theatre that entertains and inspires our audience. We started as non-profit in 1995 saving a beautiful vaudeville house in Morris County NJ. Then we moved to a company in residence in a Bergen County school district and have been performing as a professional company in residence at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in Fair Lawn since 2009. We produce three productions a year, and have an extensive educational outreach and apprentice program.
Education outreach seems to be a large part of your mission. What are some of the involvements Skyline has done in this area?
Our Apprentice program is one we are very proud of. We have students, both high school and college age, working side by side with professional artists in all areas of production and performance. Students can apprentice in stage management, directing, acting and lighting to name a few. We also have two yearly cash scholarships for students. One for a Bergen County high school senior furthering their studies in the arts and another for a Skyline apprentice who shows great dedication.
Skyline seems to concentrate on quality rather than quantity of productions or performances which is refreshing. Is this something the founding members were set on?
It was and our current board and staff continue to focus on. We are very conscious that audiences have a wide variety of choices when it comes to attending a theatre event and we want to provide the highest quality performance we can that moves our audience while entertaining them. We feel that helps separate us from other company's and allows our patrons a clear choice.
You recently took to the online KickStarter site for your upcoming season. What are your feelings on the current landscape of the arts in this politically charged year?
As a non-profit theatre company we are always looking for innovative ways to raise capital and support our mission. I think that there is a great deal of support for the arts in New Jersey and the country as a whole. We are blessed with wonderful support from our patrons and our sponsors, which continues to grow. I am very optimistic that as the country moves forward Skyline will continue to grow and flourish.
So how did CABARET come about as your season opener?
As we look for compelling and thought provoking theatre to produce, CABARET fits that bill perfectly. It was suggested last year by a patron and my research of the show got me very excited. CABARET is such a wonderfully crafted piece that I think was ahead of its time.
I completely agree. The show has so many themes in it. Did the fact we are in an election year play any factors in choosing it?
The election didn't really come into play as much as how relevant the struggles of these characters in this time relate to so many folks here in America and around the world today.
What is your personal take on the Emcee and core story in CABARET?
For me the Emcee embodies the seduction of anything that on the exterior seems inviting but at the core is evil. There are so many of these temptations that we face in life and I think the Emcee draws us in to a world where decadence is fun until we see the true evil on the inside. The story is about a people struggling to find themselves in a very volatile time. I think it teaches us to mindful of our choices and where they can lead us.
And such well known Kander and Ebb songs. Something audiences should be eager to hear on the stage in Fair Lawn. Any personal favorite moments in the show?
There are many! My two favorites are the sweetness of our "mature" couple in our story as they find each other. There innocence is truly beautiful. The other is the power of the finale as these people and this country is torn apart.
Can you tell us about your cast?
The cast is a dream! Carly Casey stars as Sally along side Michael Haller as Cliff. They are both NY actors who bring such a vibrance to these roles. Benjamin Lynch is the perfect Emcee for me. He is so sly and inviting. He is such a skilled performer and truly draws you in. The rest of The company of 14 is made up of New Jersey based professionals who are wonderful musical theatre performers. Our Choreographer is ChanDon Jones form NY, who is bringing such innovation to the movement in the show. The numbers are wonderful!
We definitely look forward to the weekend. Anything else you would love for readers to know about Skyline or this production?
That this is a CABARET for those who have seen it before and have never seen it. It is a fresh look at the story and with this stellar cast, a truly exciting evening of theatre!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. CABARET runs September 28-29 at 7:30pm and September 29-30 at 2:00pm at the Fair Lawn Community Center in Fair Lawn, NJ. Ticket and other information can be found at www.skylinetheatrecompany.org Skyline will also be presenting A Christmas Carol this December and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps May, 2013.