Jennie T. Anderson Theatre Reconceptualizes Andrew Lippa's JOHN & JEN

Typically staged with only two actors and a small band of three musicians, this streaming production will feature seven performers and an expanded orchestra.

By: May. 16, 2023
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Jennie T. Anderson Theatre Reconceptualizes Andrew Lippa's JOHN & JEN

Cobb PARKS and the award-winning Jennie T. Anderson Theatre are turning the 1995 musical, JOHN & JEN, on its head. Typically staged with only two actors and a small band of three musicians, this streaming production will feature seven performers and an expanded orchestra of seven musicians.

The musical honors brothers and sisters, as well as parents and children, set against the background of a changing America between 1950 and 1990. The Jennie T. Anderson Theatre cast performers ranging in age from 7-years to adults. Artistic Director, Jono Davis, adds context, "Since this is a streaming production, we thought it would be a refreshing and creatively challenging opportunity to have age-appropriate actors accurately representing the characters as they are written in the script."

JOHN & JEN streams on-demand June 5 - 11. Stepping into the director's chair is Jessica De Maria, "The most wonderful thing about streaming theatre is how accessible it makes the art form. Streaming allows audiences to engage with theatre artists and with shows they may otherwise never have the opportunity to experience." She continues, "As highly as I value the human connection of a live theatrical experience, I think that there's something really magical about streaming something with a sort of infinite amount of people that may be on the other side of the planet, or next door."

Brandon L. Smith, who plays the adult iteration of John, adds his sentiments on the streaming of this production, "Streaming is still an important avenue of theatre because it reaches those lovers of art that may have a specific reason why they can't go in person. It's important to reach those patrons that like to watch from the comfort of their own home and it draws in those who have never been to a show or those who have only thought of plays/musicals to be done one way." Assistant director, Golbanoo Setayesh, adds, "It's also a different experience for our actors, who are channeling a different, more intimate performance than what we're used to seeing on stage. That, combined with our concept that shows the characters growing up, makes for a really special telling of this story."

Meaghan Paetkau returns to the stage as the adult iteration of Jen, after last being seen in the very first Anderson Theatre concert, GUYS & DOLLS. "JOHN & JEN is special to me as my first 'leading lady-type" principal part, happening in the theatre I grew up at: the Jennie T. My first show outside of a church was here when I was 7 years old, and I just continued to perform here from childhood to adulthood. It feels like a full circle moment in my career!"

JOHN & JEN stars Meaghan Paetkau, Brandon L. Smith, Nevaeh Riddle, Ian Thigpen, Hensley Ivy, T.J. Carthers, and Harmony Louisa Kraft. This concert-staging is directed by Jessica De Maria, assistant directed by Golbanoo Setayesh, music directed by John-Michael d'Haviland, director of photography and production managed by Bobby Johnston, stage managed by Megan Nye, costumes designed by Cole Spivia, props by Jono Davis and Golbanoo Setayesh, lighting designed by Michael Carver, sound designed by Daniel Pope, and production assisted by Mary Nye Bennett and Leo Thomasian.

JOHN & JEN
Streaming June 5-11
AndersonTheatre.org




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