Designers Declare DOGFIGHT Full of Heart and Fun
Jessie Tully is designing hair, makeup and costumes for the Arizona premiere of Dogfight, opening Friday at Brelby Theatre in historic downtown Glendale.
"This is the first time most of our audience members will see this show," Tully said." A lot of people I know have been obsessed with the sound track. It's awesome to know you get to help build a world so many people have only visualized in their heads. It's also very freeing when you know no one is going to compare your designs to a production of it they saw last week," she said.
"Both my parents are US Air Force veterans, Tully continued. "Any time I am involved in a show that has any sort of military ties," Tully continued, "I get very attached to the story, the characters, everything. It's a huge part of who I am. I have no idea what it's like to be in combat or to leave your family for an undetermined amount of time. But I do know the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when they leave and the insane amount of joy when they come home. I feel those things every time I watch the show. Channeling all of those feelings into a design can be tough and overwhelming, but I hope the work shows the amount of love and passion that was put into everything I did and that everyone has done. Plus I grew up helping my parents iron their uniforms. You best believe those iron cresses will be perfect," she said.
Brelby co-founder and executive director, Brian Maticic, is the Dogfight Scenic Designer.
"The most exciting aspect of working on an Arizona premiere," Maticic said, "is the opportunity. When premiering a musical, especially one that has a following like Dogfight, much of the audience will be very familiar with the music, but often won't know the intricacies of the story. It's an opportunity to work on something that has a following, but isn't surrounded by preconceived notions or the expectation to see specific production choices made. Most people aren't going to come in expecting to see the same production they saw last year on the other side of town. It's new and exciting," he said. "It's freeing."
"I think Dogfight is a story about being open to challenging the status quo," Maticic continued. "To look beyond what's on the surface, and allowing the substance of life to inform the choices you make instead of just going along with tradition, or what's expected, or what your friends are doing. It's about acknowledging when you have been judgmental or made a mistake and taking steps to allow yourself to be better. Appreciating people and experiences for who and what they really are," he said.
Maticic said his favorite part of working on Dogfight "is a combination of the talent in the cast mixed with the quality of the music. It has been a joy to listen to this thing rehearsing every night. As far as most challenging - this set. Oh, this set. I may have gotten a little over zealous with the design. Our theatre is intimate, and the set is using every available inch of the stage and backstage area. It provided Shelby with multiple levels to work with to make incredible pictures, and provide depth, but the thing has been a monster to build. It even includes a loft for our live band above the backstage area," he said.
All involved agree that Dogfight is an exceptional piece of theatre.
"The music and the book are fantastic," Maticic said, "and the cast is obscenely talented. The show is so relevant. Even though it takes place in the past, the themes - toxic masculinity, sexism, equality, the fallout of sending young men to wars they don't understand and may not survive - are all issues that we are still making progress on as a society. Even though the show explores these incredibly relevant and important themes, its full of heart, and fun, and you'll be singing the songs on the ride home," he declared.
It's November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys' night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.
Dogfight opens July 14 at 7:30pm. Subsequent performances are July 15, 21-22, 28-29, August 4-5 at 7:30pm and July 16, 23, 30 at 2PM.
Brelby partners with local downtown Glendale businesses to offer more options for audience members. By showing their digital ticket, audiences can receive 10% off of their bill at the Hop Stop Diner, 10% off of any entrée at Haus Murphy's Restaurant, and 10% off of a customer's bill at the Olde Towne Glendale (OTG) Beer & Wine Bar or the Gaslight Inn.
Tickets are available by visiting the official website, brelby.com/tickets. General admission is $25 per performance. Admission is included in the benefits of Brelby's ShowGO subscription: brelby.com/showgo. The Brelby Playhouse is located at 7154 N 58th Dr, Glendale, AZ 85301.