Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre

The Fable Theatre’s inaugural production Merrily We Roll Along is currently running at the Whitefire Theatre through April 30th

By: Apr. 04, 2023
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Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre

The Fable Theatre's inaugural production Merrily We Roll Along is currently running at the Whitefire Theatre through April 30, 2023. I got the chance to pepper Conchita Belisle Newman, the creative force behind The Fable Theatre, with some queries on her company and Merrily.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Conchita!

Soooo, what made you choose Merrily We Roll Along as The Fable Theatre's inaugural production?

I discovered Merrily in my senior directing class at The Boston Conservatory. My classmate did a version of it for his senior project, and I fell in love! It has been a dream of mine to do the show ever since.

Are all the actors in Merrily part of The Fable Theatre? Or did you audition freelancers?

The Fable Theatre isn't a member company, so, all of the other actors are freelancers. I was so lucky that all of these incredibly talented people submitted for this show! We actually had over 900 submissions!!

How did you land at Whitefire for this production of Merrily?

Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre Because The Fable doesn't have its own theatre space, I was searching the area for a place to rent for this show. I had been familiar with the Whitefire from years of passing by on Ventura Blvd. and decided to reach out. After meeting with Bryan Rasmussen, the owner, it felt like the right place for this production. I liked the intimacy of the space and the support of Bryan and the rest of his staff and crew. They've been such a wonderful part of this whole process.

For those not Sondheim aficionados, what would your three-line pitch for Merrily be?

Merrily is a truly relatable show asking, "How did you get to be here?" Through one man's life we see the choices and mistakes that are made, but that don't have to define the future. Ultimately, I think it is a show about hope and knowing there is always another choice, another road, even when life looks its bleakest.

Had you seen other productions of Merrily before?

Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre I saw a lovely production at the Colony Theatre in 2018. I've also seen the filmed London version by Maria Friedman who is currently doing the Broadway revival. I'm excited to say I'll be going to New York to see that one in October!

If you were to submit your character Mary Flynn on a dating site, what qualities of hers would you include?

Loyal. Devoted. Acerbic wit. (That last one is my favorite!)

What flaws would you definitely omit?

She has a bit of a drinking problem, is kinda clingy and overly emotional.

What's your favorite song you sing in Merrily?

Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre My favorite song in the show to sing, and just in general, is 'Opening Doors.' It's incredibly fun with typewriters and telephones and tricky lyrics and crazy Sondheim timing. It's challenging, so well-crafted and just a really brilliant song.

What initially spurred you onto creating The Fable Theatre?

I wanted to create a theatre company that allowed me to create the kind of theater I wanted to see. I also wanted a creative outlet to direct and perform in shows that I love.

How many artists does The Fable Theatre consist of?

The Fable Theatre at this time is just me! I am collaborating with and hiring other incredible artists who share my vision and I hope in the future to expand.

You're executive producer, director, as well as acting in Merrily. What did you want to be growing up?

Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre I wanted to be a musical theatre performer, of course, but I also had aspirations to work with animals, which I did! I'm actually also an exotic animal trainer. I've worked with big cats, dolphins, sea lions, bears and lots of other incredible animals. I currently own alpacas and work with wolf hybrid rescue and rehabilitation and have a passion for wolf advocacy.

What gives you greater gratification: Receiving your own applause onstage at curtain? Or basking in your directed cast's adulation from in front of the house?

I am definitely more gratified hearing the audience cheer for this amazing cast. I am so proud of this wonderful work we've all created together. It truly is a collaborative effort and would not be the show that it is without all of the incredible artists both on and off the stage. I am one small piece of this big, beautiful puzzle!

What shows do you have planned for The Fable Theatre?

My goal, at this time, is to produce at least two shows a year. I have several shows that I'm currently considering but have yet to settle on one. I can say that whatever I choose to do next I intend to continue to bring unique, character driven, artistic productions to the Los Angeles area.

Interview: Conchita Belisle Newman Talks MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG At The Fable Theatre What's in the near future for Conchita Belisle Newman?

In the near future, I'll be volunteering at The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where my daughter, Paige, who choreographed and costumed Merrily, will be participating in the dance department's Spring Dance Concert. I'll be traveling to Greece in June and then spending July in Oregon while Paige participates in a prestigious dance intensive. Finally, in August I'll turn my attention back to The Fable Theatre as I begin planning for our next production.

Thank you again, Conchita! I look forward to meeting your Mary Flynn.

For tickets to the live performances of Merrily We Roll Along through April 30, 2023; click on the button below:




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