BWW Interviews: Hillbarn's Dan Demers Talks About FUNNY GIRL, New Season

BWW Interviews: Hillbarn's Dan Demers Talks About FUNNY GIRL, New Season

BroadwayWorld spoke with Hillbarn Theatre Executive Artistic Director Dan Demers about the company's current show "Funny Girl" and their upcoming season of "Awakening." Check out the interview below, then follow us on our San Francisco Facebook Page for all the latest Bay Area Theatre and Arts news and exclusive ticket contests. Click here to visit the page today!

Harmony: Funny Girl opens your 2015 Season. Tell me a bit about the show and how it fits into your season's theme of Awakening.

Dan: I designed this season under the idea that I wanted to explore the human experience and what it means to discover who we are. A quote that really drove this season for me was by Mark Twain: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." So when I chose the show Funny Girl, I knew that this would really embody this message. Here we have Fanny Brice, a woman who strived for a life of stardom, despite what the world told her. When she achieved her goals she gave it all up for love... a love she thought she may never experience. What better exploration of the human experience than watching your life and path chance before your very eyes, this is the beauty of "Funny Girl" and the story of Fanny Brice.

Harmony: Now that the show has begun, how are audiences reacting?

Dan: People are loving the show! When Melissa WolfKlain and I talked about playing Fanny Brice, it was important to both of us that Melissa's Fanny be true to who she is as a person, not simply impersonate the iconic Barbara character. Audiences are falling in love with Melissa just as I did so many months back, when we first met. That coupled with our live orchestra, I think audiences will continue to fall in love not only with "Funny Girl," but Hillbarn Theatre.

Harmony: As the new Executive Artistic Director at Hillbarn, what is your vision for the future of Hillbarn and how does that fit into this season at Hillbarn?

Dan: My vision for Hillbarn Theatre is to continue to create great art and really build this company into a beacon for the performing arts. I want people to come to the theatre and escape or lose themselves in the world of live theatre. My hope is that both children and adults alike will be able to explore their creative sides and really enrich their lives. There is nothing like the social interaction and communal shared experience of the live theatre experience.

Harmony: What can audiences look forward to in "Funny Girl" and in the remaining season?

Dan: Audiences can really look forward to some laughter in "Funny Girl," but also some of Broadways most beautiful music. "Funny Girl" is an evening away to watch 19 of some of the most wonderful peninsula actors take the stage and create this beautiful story of hope, beauty, discovery of self and the perseverance of the human spirit.

Harmony: What are you personally looking most forward to?

Dan: I am looking forward to creating art, and pushing those limits both for myself and the company. I'm looking forward to working with the amazingly talented actors, designers, volunteers and patrons in the Bay. Laughter and education can be very powerful things, and I think a theatre is the perfect place to explore those elements in our lives. Hillbarn has been around for 74 years, and I look forward to growing and changing with the times and the community that lies ahead.

Funny Girl has only two weekends left (it was extended through September 28), and you can catch a wonderful season of "Awakening" through next year. Learn more at

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