BWW Interview: Eduardo Guzman from Pitch Me This (PMT) Talks MIDTOWN LIVE 2K15
PMT (Pitch Me This) Productions proudly kicks off its second season with its signature musical theater concert MIDTOWN LIVE 2K15 (tour).
I had a conversation with Artistic Director, Eduardo Guzman, about the show which opens Thursday August 20, 2015 at Island ETC in Downtown Galveston, and will tour through Art Park Players in Deer Park and the Alley Kat Bar & Lounge in Houston.
How did you all come to decide to include Alley Kat Bar & Lounge in your tour locations?
Eduardo: Part of the reason that we wanted to do a tour is that we know that we have audience members who are out on the (Galveston) Island and out in the suburbs, and we wanted to meet their needs. The venues down at ETC and Art Park Players are so big, so we're cutting down the number of tickets that we're selling to the Midtown performance. We're only selling about 60-70 tickets per night, making it more of an intimate concert. We just love that space. We thought it would be good to do the show at Alley Kat, because it's the space where we started and also the space where we did TICK TICK BOOM last season.
What are some of the challenges of taking this concert on a local tour?
Eduardo: The challenge is making sure that technically we can create the same atmosphere in all the spaces. For example, we're moving into ETC Thursday afternoon, so the stage manager and tech team are moving into the space at 10 am, we're getting lights set and focused that morning, and the band and cast is coming in the afternoon. Part of MIDTOWN LIVE are these videos that tell the stories of these actors and how they relate to the songs they chose. We have a lighting designer coming in to create an aesthetic for the whole show. What's nice about it is that for a concert environment, set is very limited and staging is limited. So, taking a concert on tour is in many ways easier than taking an entire musical on tour. The big challenge is making sure that our tech remains consistent through all three venues. We've got a really talented tech team, Stage Manager, and Lighting Designer. We're in a position to execute it well, and I think we can do it.
I'm sure it also helps having a cast that can easily adapt and be flexible too.
Eduardo: Yes. These are phenomenal vocalists and some of the most talented vocalists that the Houston fringe has to offer. Part of their talent and skill that they bring is that they can just as easily go into a small performance space like Alley Kat or a huge space like ETC and really deliver. In fact, the last two weekends we've previewed MIDTOWN LIVE at a bar in Galveston to do promotion, and even in that environment, they've been so well-received. So, the cast is adaptable, which makes it so much easier. It helps to have good talent.
Tell us a little more about the Houston theme that runs through PMT and MIDTOWN LIVE.
Eduardo: One of PMT's goals and missions is to tell Houston's stories. I think a lot of times, the big theaters tend to bring in people from LA or New York. I understand why they do that, but I think that Houston has a lot to offer, not only in terms of interesting venues, but also in talent. The stories that artists are telling here in Houston are the same stories being told everywhere. So when we set up this campaign, which is called "Houston is..." we wanted to highlight different elements of Houston. "Houston is creative, Houston is expressive, Houston is urban." We're trying to connect all these different neighborhoods, including Galveston, Deer Park, Woodlands, to Midtown. We wanted to show that we're all in this together and we're all participating in this huge idea that is Houston.
You're right. We do have so much talent in Houston, that's sometimes not brought to the forefront.
Eduardo: We're in a unique position right now in Houston. In terms of the performance arts scene, and in the fringe community, we're at the beginning of something right now. Houston is finding its way. The number of theatres and producing organizations has grown drastically. We've got SRO, Bayou City Theatrics, Horse Head, Frenetic Theatre and so many others. Houston is at the beginning of something and it's a really exciting time. I hope that people in this community will start looking at ourselves as a big producer of performing arts.
What are some of the highlights that audiences can look forward to?
Eduardo: It's a phenomenal set list. It has popular music, musical theatre music, and classic rock music. One of the highlights for me is the opening, which features a breathtaking a cappella version of Sia's "Chandelier". It brings a whole new dimension to the song. We're also doing songs by Pink, the television show SMASH, and some classic Queen songs. We're opening the second act with Bohemian Rhapsody. We're doing some music from HAIR and The Beatles. By doing a blend of musical theatre, contemporary pop music, and classics, we're hoping to bridge the gap of what people generally think musical theatre is and what contemporary musical theatre really is.
Is MIDTOWN LIVE kicking off your season?
Eduardo: Yes. I didn't used to think of PMT as doing seasons. I thought of it as show to show. Kim Mytelka came in as a guest lecturer during our last production, HOUSTON SINGS, and someone asked her "What's one of the most important things you learned about running an arts organization?" And I felt as if she had looked straight at me and said "One of the lessons I learned early on is you have to think in terms of seasons and not just show by show." So, I decided to take that advice and announce this as the beginning of our second season. I think that starting with MIDTOWN LIVE again was appropriate, because it's how we started it all.
What's to come for PMT?
Eduardo: ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW will be coming in the Fall. Kyle Crawford and I have done this show twice together, but we think we can bring something new to this piece with Travis Kirk Coombs directing and Heather Steele choreographing. We think we can bring a production of ROCKY HORROR that Houston can call its own. Later in the season we'll be producing EDGES: A SONG CYCLE. EDGES is by the same people who wrote DOGFIGHT and is the kind of theatre that doesn't get produced very much in Houston. We think that with MIDTOWN LIVE, ROCKY HORROR, and EDGES, we think we've got a very well-rounded season and something for everyone.
MIDTOWN LIVE 2K15
ML 2K15 will perform in Downtown Galveston at Island ETC (east-end theater company) on August 20-21, 2015; in Deer Park TX at Art Park Players on August 24-25, 2015; and in Midtown Houston at Alley Kat Bar & Lounge on August 27-29, 2015.
All performances begin at 8:00pm.
Tickets: $20, reserved seating/$10, standing room (for Midtown Houston performance only)
Ticket Link: http://pmtproductions.ticketleap.com/
Phone: (832) 516-9167