From October 28 to November 7, the NOVA Theater in Ann Arbor presents a production of Sing happy !. This special is a celebration of the work of Kander and Ebb, a legendary duo who have composed musicals such as Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the spider woman, Just to name a few.
The upcoming production of Sing happy! at the NOVA Theater was directed by Diane Hill, with the musical direction of R. MacKenzie Lewis. Sing happy! includes Justin Scott Bays, Kristin Clark, John DeMerell, K. Edmonds, Diane Hill, Elizabeth Jaffe and Roy Sexton.
BWW Detroit recently spoke with Diane Hill, one of the artistic directors of Theater NOVA and a star of Sing happy !. Read our conversation below!
BWW Detroit: Can you give BWW readers a brief overview of yourself and your theater? career?
Diane Hill: I’ve been playing professionally since graduating from college and producing and directing shows and musicals in professional theaters, in colleges where I taught, and in the public school system all my life. For five years, I was artistic director of Two Muses Theater, a professional non-profit theater in West Bloomfield, and I has been Production Artistic Director at Theater NOVA in Ann Arbor since 2017. (The full bio is available on the Theater NOVA website.)
How would you describe Sing happy! for someone who doesn’t know spectacle?
Sing happy! is a celebration of the work of famous Broadway duo, Kander and Reflux. It contains great songs from their most famous musicals: Cabaret, Chicago, and To kiss spider woman in the same way The ice rink, Zorba Steel Pier, The Happy Time, and Flora the Red Threat, among others. They wrote a lot of shows!
What was your first impression of Sing happy! when you were first introduced to that ?
Well I love the music of Kander and Ebb. And this particular collection of songs of their shows was arranged by R. MacKenzie Lewis. He created some wonderful mash-ups and dotted the show with musical surprises that delighted me.
Why did you particularly want to direct Sing happy!?
Chicago, Cabaret, and Spider kiss Women are three of my absolute favorites musical comedies. But we can’t do these huge musicals at the NOVA Theater. We don’t have the space or resources. In fact, it’s hard to get them anywhere – too expensive. So, by directing Sing happy !, I have the great opportunity to stage a fantastic musical gems in our intimate theater setting.
What was your favorite aspect of achieving Sing happy! so far?
Hands down, the people I work with. They are incredibly talented and generous. Absolutely wonderful to lead and play with.
What are your favorite songs in Sing happy! to play and / or direct?
I enjoy the two duets that I play with my daughter. We sang “Class” of Chicago together in my living room since she was a teenager, but we’ve never played together on stage. And we do another duet called “The Apple Doesn’t Fall very far from the tree “of The rink. We both love to laugh and make people laugh, so we can’t wait to make them for an audience.
Regarding the realization, I think “Cell Block Tango” by Chicago is my favorite, in part because we do it with men and women, and everyone gets a chance to make a funny and somewhat twisted monologue. I love the dark humor of this lively ensemble piece.
What would you say to someone who does not know Kander’s music and Ebb to make them come and see Sing happy!?
Their music is so eclectic and always surprising. There are magnificent ballads like “Maybe This Time” and “The World Goes’ Round”, as well as wonderfully energetic tempo tracks like “The Life of the Party” and “Arthur in the Afternoon”. And then there are those ironic and biting humor shows like “Mr. Cellophane” and “When You are good with mom. ”You will see great performers sing a wide variety of Songs. And when the whole ensemble sings together: Wow!
Sing happy! takes place at the NOVA Theater in Ann Arbor from October 28 to November 7. For more information and tickets for the show, visit theatrenova.org.
Connect with Theater NOVA on Twitter at @ TheaterNova, on Instagram at @ a2theatrenova, and on Facebook at facebook.com/theatrenova.