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Swiss Family Robinson

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jessie Shelton and Matt Mundy
July 8, 2013

What is your job on this show?
actors.

What is your show about?
The classic adventure of the Family Robinson as they get shipwrecked on a desert island...at least they think its deserted.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
Jessie: I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN where my parents still live. Next I made the move to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University where spent four glorious years in the BFA musical theatre program. After graduation I traveled over the summer and come fall it was New York City where I now live and work. Matt: I was gloriously born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia. And, yes, where my folks remain. Then I moved NC and studied at Wake Forest University, and have since studied/worked/lived in New York.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
closely resembles a French Revolutionist Party thrown by W.S. Gilbert for South Pacific and LOST with all the liquor provided by Arthur Sullivan and sponsored by Monty Python.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
Considering the story wraps the simplicity of a finding one's true love with the rich spectacle of multiple shipwrecks, exotic natives, voluminous vocabulary in multiple languages and accents, farcical chases, and some of the most luscious music of operetta descent...we hope: wee hours of the night.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
We would have to say...(S)IRCUITOUS...

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
I think it is vital to experience as many types of theatre as possible, either as an audience member or one of the creators. In fact, this applies to all art forms. No matter how distant the material may be from me and my life experience, it all informs the work I do and stretches my imagination.