Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The production, F**ked Up Fairy Tales, is currently appearing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Grace Jasmine: I think this little synopsis gives you a good idea:
Love trumps hate in Fairy Tale Land. The Magic Bean bar in Fairy Tale Land has always been a haven for the dysfunctional characters who call it their home away from home. But when they come together to celebrate bar owners Jack and the Giant's engagement--all hell breaks loose! Evil King Midas and his henchmen crash the party with new laws and vile threats. Will they fight the new regime? Can they save Fairy Tale Land? Only if they have an amazing plan and find a way to work together.
BD: As the book and lyric writer, what inspired the creation of this project?
GJ: This is a time when things in the United States (and globally) are very uncomfortable for many people. You really only have to check your Facebook feed to see so much hatred and racism, violence against the LGBTQ+ community, and people whose faiths are suddenly more irrationally suspect than ever. I, like many artists, have been extremely worried and feeling helpless with what is going on in the world. A very wise man I know, also a playwright, Mickey Birnbaum, wrote an essay which, in short, said that there has never been a time where our art has mattered as much, and that we should all find a way to resist through our own artistic expression. I have decided that as a writer I can do that using theatre and the written word. Hopefully, F**ked Up Fairy Tales is a message of love and peace. It’s about disenfranchised fairy tale characters who are fighting for their right to love the person they choose to love. I don’t think any single freedom can be so important. Who we love is the ultimate personal expression of who we are—and no one should hate anyone for who they choose to love, and certainly the concept that this is something governments legislate is a frightening and deeply disturbing reality. So, while I definitely wanted to make a true musical comedy piece—with all the laughter, jokes, fun, and high energy—I am also trying to bring something more. Through my book and lyrics, I am trying to bring the reminder of how much we have at stake as not only a nation, but also a global community if we deal in hate.
My composer, David Anthony, is a very gifted musician and artist who would sit with me and discuss the thought behind songs such as “Love is Love” and how they fit. We both hope that song is meaningful to people no matter who they are. After many discussions, he would move from our conversation to my lyric and then eventually to his musical inspiration. I am really proud of what we have created.
BD: What can you tell us about the cast and crew who are bringing F**ked Up Fairy Tales to life, and how would you describe the creative process by the ensemble?
GJ: We are so very fortunate to be working with NMI as our producers on this project. They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing new musicals into the world, and at Fringe this year my personal projects were 2 of 12 highlighted. We are also so fortunate to have Denis McCourt as director on F**ked Up Fairy Tales. He really honors the writer’s word, and he was great to work with. Also, we have 9 super talented actors with excellent voices and amazing energy.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
GJ: We are hoping they have fun, and that they feel inspired to feel a little more hopeful and, well, a little more loving kindness.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival the best venue for F**ked Up Fairy Tales?
GJ: One of the great things about Hollywood Fringe is that it’s an experimental venue for writers to get their work before the public and explore where it’s going. This is an excellent first step for me on both F**ked Up Fairy Tales and my second show, Sybil’s Closet. I think I and both my composers, David Anthony and Ross Plotkin, are learning so much about what to do next with this work and how we want to improve our craft and move forward to our next step. One great thing about Fringe and my work with NMI is that it has given me the opportunity to meet and work with a whole community of people. It’s an amazing artistic base for me. Also, I am forming partnerships here with composers that will definitely move forward into other projects.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Sacred Fools Theater (Black Box) through June 23, 2017. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
GJ: There are talks in the works for a one-hour show of all my short musicals. This would bring both of these shows, with the addition of my third short musical, The Lover, back in another format but still give us a chance to finesse and grow them.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
GJ: Absolutely, I am working on a number of things. I have a full-length Frankenstein-based musical called Skin Deep that is in development, as well as a straight play called, The Rage of Ordinary People. In addition to that, I am a screenwriter and I am working on a dystopian thriller called Winter Underground. I am also looking at moving toward longer shows in other venues and eventually moving to the off-Broadway realm.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for F**ked Up Fairy Tales?
GJ: We have our last performance coming up at the end of the week. I would encourage people to go to this website and find out more. It will connect to the Fringe page to buy tickets, as well as let you see more about the organization, cast and crew. Also, I would love any reader who wants to know more about my projects to follow me on Twitter, @beautynblog.