BWW Interview: Ari Stidham Discusses Directing SOLO MUST DIE: A MUSICAL PARODY
You may know Ari Stidham best as genius Sylvester Dodd on CBS's "Scorpion" fourth season just completed, or possibly as Ian Schonfeld from ABC Family's "Huge". Other TV credits include "Insecure", "Mick and Molly", and "Glee". You may also know his music which he releases as DRTV. Ari has also produced films that have premiered at Fangoria Fear Con ("Curse of the Siren") and Sundance ("Clara's Ghost"). Original plays include Theatricus Americanus (Pack) and Dick Duquesne Radio Plays (Open Space). As director, he is currently rehearsing Solo Must Die: A Musical Parody to play the Hudson Backstage Theatre beginning Friday May 4.
Where did you grow up and when did you get involved with theatre?
I grew up in Thousand Oaks, CA, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. I started doing theater when I was a kid, around ten years old. Just youth theater stuff, but I did so much of it, it was practically a job. Throughout middle and high school, my brother Jordan and I would do shows at our schools, the local all-girls school, and youth theaters in town. Eventually, we joined Santa Susana and Kingsmen Shakespeare companies holding spears and playing smaller roles in their Equity shows.
When did you first consider acting as a career and what was your first professional job?
I first started working with Kingsmen Shakespeare when I was thirteen, I played Snug the Joiner in A Midsummer Night's Dream. My first television gig was a series regular role on a show called "HUGE" that was on ABC Family in 2010, when I was seventeen. Those were my first big boy jobs.
You are a series regular on "Scorpion" (CBS) playing the character of genius Sylvester Dodd. How did that job come about?
I got the part fairly quickly, production on the pilot was coming up fast and they hadn't found a Sylvester yet. I went in and auditioned on a Saturday; the next day I was told I booked it and went in for fittings and a table read, then we started shooting that Monday. My whole life changed over a weekend.
In addition to acting, you are also a musician and composer. What instrument or instruments do you play and what type of music is it?
I play guitar and piano, and I write mostly lyrical pop. My newest album, JACUZZI LOUIE, is out now and has a soulful New Orleans influence. I try to have a different feel for each album. Hear Jacuzzi Louie here: https://soundcloud.com/drtelevision/sets/jacuzzi-louie-the-album
You've also produced two films "Curse of the Siren" that premiered at Fangoria Fear Con and "Clara's Ghost" which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Briefly, what is each movie about (who wrote and directed; mention any notable cast) respectively? What was the experience like, producing a film and having a film premiere at a prestigious film festival?
It was pretty insane..."Curse" is my first movie, I directed it and made it with a group of incredibly talented friends. "Clara's Ghost" came about through Kickstarter and I had the rare opportunity to attach myself to a project I really believed in. Bridey Elliott and Sarah Winshall had made a short that I loved entitled "Affections" and I was following "Clara's Ghost" online for awhile, it all worked out and they made a fantastic film. It was great going to Sundance; I hope it's not my last trip.
You have also written some original plays Theatricus Americanus and Dick Duquesne Radio Plays. Can you tell us a bit about the plays?
Theatricus Americans is a comedic fictionalized retelling of the birth of modern American theater. It features Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, Konstantin Stanislavski, Truman Capote, and Charlie Chaplin. The two act version will be returning to PACK this year.
The Duquesne Radio Plays are a podcast collection of slapstick noir radio comedies I co-created with Zach Green in 2015. They are available online!
How did the musical SOLO MUST DIE: A Musical Parody come about, and what would you like the audience experience to be?
My brother Jordan and I love "Star Wars" and have made each other laugh all our lives. We got the idea to do a Star Wars Parody Musical about Han Solo about a year ago, and it's made our friends laugh pretty hard too, so we decided to mount it. Calling Hughie Stone Fish, behemoth of the Los Angeles Musical Comedy Scene, was a no brainer and a few months later, we'd shaped our little show.
I would like the audience to feel part of a shared experience goofing on the movies and characters we love, while grooving with us. The songs are catchy and the show is a silly romp, it's great for the "Star Wars" fans and non-fans alike!
You wear many hats with SOLO MUST DIE: A Musical Parody - - as actor, musician, composer, playwright, director and producer. How do you keep a balance when you are doing it all? Is there one 'job' you like best?
I think I like producing the best these days, but I love every facet of entertainment. I will be performing till I die, that's for sure.
What's up next for you?
Hopefully more "Scorpion", but we don't know yet. I'm directing an outdoor and irreverent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at a private residence in the valley come June, and then mounting "Jacuzzi Louie: the Musical" which my album is based on. All info for these productions will be available soon at aristidham.com and on my Instagram @aristidham.
About Show Times and Tickets: Solo Must Die: A Musical Parody* runs May 4 - May 27, 2018. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets: $30-$40. Buy tickets www.plays411.com/hansolo For information please visit www.solomustdie.com or call (323) 960-7788. Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, LA CA. For more information about the show please visit https://solomustdie.com/
*This production is independently operated by Stidley Theatricals. It is not sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with Disney, Lucasfilm, or anyone associated with Star Wars.