BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR: A World Premiere Musical
Published by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre in thier Monthly Newsletter- Read the original article here.
Originally published August 6, 2015
This month, we check in with Adam Gwon and Julia Jordan as they prepare their 2011 Festival Show Bernice Bobs Her Hair for its premiere production at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma this Fall.
Festival Show Update: Bernice Bobs Her Hair
In this new delightful dancing musical, small town socially awkward Bernice visits her popular cousin in the big city and finds herself making changes to fit in with her cousin and the popular crowd. Testing the limits of society, free-spirited Bernice bobs her hair, becoming a social revolutionary in the roaring 20’s.
It has been four years since we presented BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR in the Festival, but do you remember what the reception for the show was like at the Festival?
We remember a great reception, and how much Kate Wetherhead made everyone laugh! We got several offers immediately after the festival, and for a variety of reasons we can’t even remember, none of them worked out at the time. A lot of colleges were interested, but we felt strongly that we wanted to solidify the show with a professional production before releasing it out into the world. So we waited patiently for the right opportunity to come along.
Both of you have been quite busy with other projects over the past few years. What work have you done on Bernice?
When we found out that Lyric Theatre would be doing the premiere, it’d been awhile since we’d revisited the script, and at almost the exact same moment, we got an email from Bruce Goodrich at CSU Fullerton, who’d seen the show at NAMT and was checking in to see if BERNICE had become available. It was perfect timing, so we did a reading with them and identified all the rewrites we wanted to do before going into rehearsal for the production. We also have a new 11 o’clock number for Bernice, which we wrote in two airport hotel bars after getting stuck on our way home from auditions in Oklahoma City!
You now have an opportunity to see Bernice and co. on their feet in a production at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. How did this production come about?
Michael Baron [Producing Artistic Director of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma] had seen BERNICE at the NAMT Festival and offered us a production right away, and it didn’t end up panning out at the time. Amazingly, Michael reached out a couple years later to check in on the show, and offered us a production again, and this time everything lined up.
What have you been working on the show in preparation for this production?
As we mentioned, we’ve got a brand-new 11 o’clock number, which we’re excited to hear for the first time. We’re also in the middle of doing orchestrations (by the fabulous David Dabbon), figuring out dance arrangements, all that kind of music stuff. We did a last going-into-rehearsal pass at the script a few months ago, and are certain there’ll be more rewriting once we get into the room.
What moments can you not wait to see live on stage?
There are a lot of visual moments we’re excited to see: the line of girls brushing their long hair, that long hair transforming into bobs and all the dancing. We’re really excited about the dancing. There’s some dance written into the show, because the characters go to dances at the local country club. But Michael and our choreographer [Lyric’s associate artistic director Ashley Wells] are also eager to put a lot of musical theater dance into the songs, and there are so many terrific young dancers in Oklahoma City that we’ve been able to cast. We say, bring on the somersaults!
Why should everyone join you this fall in OKC?
Well, somersaults! We’ve got an amazing and fresh-faced cast, a 6-piece band, and a gorgeous theater. We think our show will ultimately be great for schools and universities, because almost all the characters are teenagers, so any educators looking for new shows should definitely come visit. And Oklahoma City does steakhouses really well. (We’ve verified this firsthand.)