The following is an interview with producer Thea Rivera regarding the upcoming premiere of the production, Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical, at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Rivera about the premise of the musical performance, the theatrical debut of They Played Productions, the creative process of the ensemble, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The production, Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical, will soon be premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Thea Rivera: Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical tells the story of Lily, a woman with a perfect life in a perfect little town—so perfect that she wants more. But as in all good monster movies, you should be careful what you wish for, because what she finds when she goes looking is a creature that starts a Beast growing inside her, a transformation that may destroy her or anyone she loves before it’s done.
BD: The production is the first live show for They Played Productions. What inspired the creation of this ensemble, and how would you describe its mission?
TR: They Played Productions is a natural outgrowth of an ongoing collaboration between Erik Blair and me, since we’ve already been working together on the YouTube Channel HePlayedShePlayed and on multiple theatrical productions under other companies. Eventually, we realized that we had stories we wanted to tell that are in multiple different formats—theatre, film, video, YouTube—and that twist traditional stories and genres into new perspectives. They Played Productions allows us to incorporate all of those ideas, formats, and genres under one banner.
BD: What can you tell us about the creators who are bringing Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical to life, and how would you describe the creative process by the ensemble?
TR: Erik Blair is the writer and director of the show. He’s been doing both for over twenty years, with a degree in theater from Northwestern University in Chicago and an M.F.A. in Film Video/Production from USC. He’s directed over 100 theatrical productions in multiple cities and written several short plays and films. This is the first time he’s ever worked with a partner to put together a musical, however, and he’s incredibly excited about the prospect.
Daniel Sugimoto is the composer and lyricist for Nothing Bad. He’s written multiple musicals previously, including last year’s Fringe show, Broadway Noir, Letters to Eve, and We the People, a show opening elsewhere in Los Angeles also in June.
The two of them have worked together in tandem throughout the production. Erik created the story and ideas and wrote anything that wasn’t music. Daniel took his notes on the music and crafted incredible lyrics and melodies, and then they have worked tirelessly together to meld it into a final product that we really love. We think this is going to be the first of many musicals that they will create together.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
TR: The inspiration for this show came from asking the question, “What would happen if you take the classic werewolf monster story and have it happen to a woman? What does that tale become?” This play is our answer. It’s a tale about women being ignored, disbelieved, and coddled. What we hope audiences will take away from it is a modern-day cautionary tale about treating women as equals and the potential dangers of getting revenge on any side. Because much like the actual fairy tales of old, our story isn’t one that’s afraid of being dark before it’s done.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival the best venue for Nothing Bad?
TR: We love the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s energy. It brought me from being primarily an audience member one year to being a participant the very next year. People are so excited to see things, to check out new shows and new ideas, and to have a different, unique experience—and to do so without being so concerned about sets or elaborate scene changes or the like. This festival is all about the actual show itself—the script, the acting, the music. Those things that we think should always be the most important aspects of a theatrical production but in a festival like HFF actually get to be the center of attention. We think that’s an amazing approach to theatre, and we wanted our first version of this show to be born into that energy.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival from June 2-24, 2017. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
TR: Absolutely. While we’re still finalizing exactly when and where from a couple of options that we are in discussions with. We intend this to be the first set of performances of this show but most definitely not the only ones. We have ideas for what we can do with the show after Fringe, and we have a cast that is excited to be part of the process, as well—so we’re confidant it’s going to happen.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
TR: We know we’re going to be back for next year’s Fringe already. Exactly which show we’re gong to do isn’t yet decided—and we may well do multiple ones, as we love being busy. Erik has an idea for doing a one-man show and one for an escape room—something Hollywood Fringe hasn’t yet done. We may also do a more traditional play but do it in a very different way—such as altering the audience’s interaction with it. I have an idea of a show to direct now that I’ve had a year in the producer seat. Whatever we ultimately decide, it’s going to be about looking at things from a slightly different viewpoint, because that’s what interests us as a team.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical?
TR: For more information about Nothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical, people can check out the following link.