BWW Interviews: Director, Jeremy Scott Lapp
Jeremy Scott Lapp has been working in the theatre business for over 27 years performing in over 100 shows in and around San Diego County. He is an alumnus of the 2009 Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab West, a proud member of the SDC and a 2011 SDC Emerging Artist. In addition, he is a recipient of Noel Craig, PAMTA, Inland Theatre League, Patté, National Youth Theatre, Billy & Director's Choice awards.
Bartley Stratton (BS): Did you grow up performing in theater?
Jeremy Scott Lapp (JSL): Yeah, I grew up in a very musical friendly environment. My Grandfather conducted symphonies, and my parents had season tickets to Starlight in Balboa Park. I was immersed in music and theater from a very young age. I started acting in Christian Youth Theater (CYT) when I was five years old and began performing all over Southern California with various companies like Starlight, Lamb's Players, CYT, CCT and many more! I must have performed in over 100 shows from the time I was 5 to when I turned 18.
BS: What's your college degree in?
JSL: It's funny...but after growing up in theater for all those years, I actually chose to study Graphic design in college. Once I had my degree, I realized how desperately I missed the stage. So, I started working again in the theater, mostly Directing. I decided I wanted to try to work in the field as a professional, so I started applying to the La Jolla Playhouse in their internship program. I must have applied every time they had an opening, and I kept getting turned down. But I stayed persistent, and eventually it payed off when they asked me to come in to take notes for a talkback. A week later I was hired to be the Assistant Director on the National Tour of XANADU! So it's been great, because while my degree is in graphic design and I still do a lot of work for major theater companies all over the US, I am able to work on my true passion which is telling stories.
BS: What are you working on these days?
JSL: I've actually just closed two shows: INTO THE WOODS at The Old Globe with the Fiasco Theater Company and an immersive production of SPRING AWAKENING at The Merc in Temecula. Currently prepping for a workshop of a new musical titled THE UNTITLED JOHN MAYER PROJECT. Then, this fall I am the Associate Director of the US Premiere of Disney's THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME at the La Jolla Playhouse. I'll also be heading up the National Tour of MURDER FOR TWO that starts in Pittsburgh this fall!
BS: You have this unique cabaret series in Temecula that you have been working on for a while. Tell us about that.
JSL: Sure! Cabaret at The Merc started two years ago. I partnered up with a musical theatre writer, Jordan Beck and we co-produce the monthly show! Our Cabaret series is on the last Sunday of every month, and we have a new theme with different performers from New York, Los Angeles, San Diego come and sing at the shows! We're in this really unique space in Temecula, called The Merc and it's been received enthusiastically by not only the theatre community, but by audiences from all over Southern California as well. This summer we moved into phase 2 of Cabaret at The Merc which is starting a professional theater program we called the Summer Series! We have put on 3 fully staged shows in a small, immersive environment with an audience of 70. The actors come in for two weeks to rehearse, and then we do a weekend of performances. It's special, immersive and in your face! Our audiences are coming from all over SoCal to see what we are doing and the buzz has been really great! You can check out more at: www.CabaretAtTheMerc.com!
BS: What big events do you have coming up at The Merc?
JSL: Tickets are currently on sale for a big Gala on September 22nd at 7:30 with Stephen Schwartz. I'm sure your readers will know who Stephen Schwartz is, but for anyone who doesn't, Stephen Schwartz has written the music and/or lyrics to THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, WICKED, GODSPELL, PIPPIN, WORKING, CHILDREN OF EDEN and many more! He collaborated on the scores of Disney's Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,Enchanted and wrote the songs for Dreamworks animated feature of The Prince of Egypt. Stephen will be the main guest and we have some special guest appearances as well as a sneak peek at a number from HUNCHBACK! I've been working with Scott Schwartz, Stephen's son as his associate director for the past two years and Stephen was very generous to say yes to this special night!
BS: What's a show that you have done within the last five years that sticks out in your mind?
JSL: Ya know, BONNIE AND CLYDE will forever hold a very special place in my heart! I started working on that show at La Jolla and continued with it all the way to New York! We spent 4 very special years developing that show in workshops and readings and two regional productions, and when the show finally announced it was moving to Broadway, that ended up being my Broadway debut. The creative team, the producers, the company, everyone involved in that show made it a very special experience and one that I will always cherish!
BS: Who is an actor you would love to work with?
JSL: I would love the opportunity to work with Mark Rylance someday. Such a fearless actor!
BS: What director do you look up to?
JSL: Without a doubt, Diane Paulus. I respect her work so much. Everyone always praises the environment she creates and being in a room with her would be a dream.
BS: What advice would you give someone who is interested in the industry?
JSL: Everyone holds Broadway and the NY theatre scene in such high esteem! Yes, it is the main hub of theater, but you don't have to work on Broadway to do Broadway Caliber work. You create your own Broadway. If you goal is to work on Broadway someday, start doing Broadway caliber work of your own and people will take notice. How bad do you want it?
To learn more about Jeremy, check out his website: http://www.jscottlapp.com/