BWW Interview: Jerry Haines of THE WILD PARTY at Stagecrafters says It's Sexy Song & Dance Extravaganza!

BWW Interview: Jerry Haines of THE WILD PARTY at Stagecrafters says It's Sexy Song & Dance Extravaganza!

The Wild Party is set to be a dazzling good time at Stagecrafters opening September 7th in Royal Oak. Set in the Roaring Twenties, it's the Jazz Age, prohibition is in full swing, postwar America is booming with an insatiable appetite for new fashions, fad appetite, vaudeville stars Queenie and her lover, Burrs, live a decadent life. In order to relieve their boredom, they decide to throw a party where everyone drinks and parties with abandon, and the two begin a dangerous flirting game, taunting each to the brink of violence. Pushed to limit, Burrs is close to losing control, and he has a gun. The Wild Party is dark, brilliant show with a thrilling, pitch-perfect score. BroadwayWorld Detroit had a chance to speak with Jerry Haines, the director of The Wild Party, at Stagecrafters before it opens on September 7th in Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak.

BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you our readers a brief background about yourself and your career as an introduction?

Jerry Haines: I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, raised in Pittsburgh, PA and Southfield, MI, and now reside in Berkley, MI. I am an elementary school teacher in Birmingham, MI and have been active in community theatre for over 25 years. My passion for theatre began at a young age and I've been fortunate enough to have an avenue to explore that passion here in Southeast Michigan doing mainly community theatre and some semi-professional theatre as well. I have worked in all aspects of the theatre including performing, choreographing, stage managing, and directing. I enjoy directing most and have directed some real passion projects. A few of my favorites are Once on This Island, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Jekyll and Hyde, Little Women, Dreamgirls, and In The Heights.

BWW Detroit: How would describe The Wild Party in your own words?

Jerry Haines: The Wild Party takes me back to the era of film noir. It's a show with flawed characters with disparaging motivations and their choices affect everyone around them. Queenie is involved in a volatile relationship with Burrs and wants something different. She plans a party, invites a multitude of exotic characters, but her plan goes awry with the arrival of a mysterious stranger. Jealousy ensues with tragic outcomes. It's classic femme fatale.

BWW Detroit: What made you decide you wanted to direct The Wild Party?

Jerry Haines: During the 1999-2000 theatre season, two musicals came out based on the same source material, Joseph Moncure's novel The Wild Party. I remember thinking that this was odd. One appears on Broadway and the other Off-Broadway. I bought both cast recordings and was immediately drawn to Andrew Lippa's score, although I am a fan of Michael John LaChiusa's work as well. Lippa's score, for me, was more diverse and utilized varying music genres. Jumping forward, my friends kept pushing for me to direct The Wild Party at Stagecrafters. I tried for seven years to get it through play selection to have it even considered for one of our main stage productions. In preparation for my presentation to the board of directors, I finally purchased and read the novel and developed my vision for the stage. The board liked it and chose it to open this 2018-2019 season.

BWW Detroit: Did you do any special research in preparing to direct The Wild Party?

Jerry Haines: I had never seen a production of The Wild Party. I read the novel and from there I had all of these ideas running through my head of how I could stage it. I had the cast recording on repeat in my car for months, listening and envisioning how I wanted each number to appear on the stage. From there I developed my vision for our theatre and then put together a team of our best technicians to help me bring the show to the stage.

BWW Detroit: What would you say makes your production of The Wild Party stand out from other productions that have been performed?

Jerry Haines: This is hard for me to answer because I've never seen another production. I will say this. I've tried very hard to take Andrew Lippa's work and meld it even more with Joseph Moncure's novel, at least how I see it in my head. I wanted everything to be original, not a recreation of someone else's vision.

BWW Detroit: Do you have a favorite moment or song in the show?

Jerry Haines: My favorite moment and song in the show is 'Poor Child.' During this number, the four principle characters sing about their desires and each character is singing a different melody that fits so intricately together. Kate sings of what she will do to get Burrs. Black is singing about his infatuation with Queenie, Burrs is voicing his jealousy and how he will get Queenie away from Black. Queenie sings of how she will make Burrs hurt and her desire for Black. It's a musical masterpiece. One of those goosebumps moments in musical theatre.

BWW Detroit: Why do you think BroadwayWorld Detroit readers should come see The Wild Party at Stagecrafters?

Jerry Haines: My team and I have put together a sexy song and dance extravaganza. The Wild Party is not a musical that gets staged often, but the music is memorable and crosses many genres. The choreography is sexy and stunning. The actors are committed and the voices are stellar. The set and lights are surreal and enhance the story. Theatre lovers won't be disappointed, but the material is of a mature nature including simulated sex, drug use, and violence. This is not a show for children.

You can connect with Stagecrafters at Twitter at @StagecraftersMI, Instagram at @stagecraftersmi, and facebook/stagecraftersMI.

The Wild Party opens September 7th at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak. For more information and tickets, visit www.stagecrafters.org.

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