The Bonus Army
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Mark DiConzo
August 27, 2013
What is your job on this show?
Choreographer and Performer.
What is your show about?
A musical based on the Bonus Army whom marched on congress and Washington D.C. in 1932 demanding that they be paid the bonus they were promised from fighting in World War I.
What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
Producing, writing, and creating innovative theater and film projects. Though the majority of my career has been spent as a performer, I am thoroughly exploring and enjoying producing my own work and collaborating with other artists.
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
contains singing and dancing WWI veterans, a gymnasticon, a ukulele, hookers, a corn cob pipe, and is based on true events that occurred in our nation's history.
Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
This show will surely inspire conversations well into the wee hours of the night not only about the strong performances but about a seldom told heart-wrenching true story of our nation’s history. In the dark early days of the Great Depression, in the spring and early summer of 1932, tens of thousands of unemployed World War I veterans and their supporters marched on Washington, D.C. They demanded that Congress, which had voted the war veterans a cash bonus to be paid in 1945, redeem their bonus certificates immediately, when they desperately needed the money. They called themselves the Bonus Expeditionary Force, but were known as the Bonus Marchers or the Bonus Army. The intensity of the conversations had by audience members after the show will depend upon how committed they become in joining the fight throughout the show. It’s an interactive experience in the round full of uproariously hysterical portrayals of some of America’s well-known leaders and grounded portrayals of veterans whom were the key players that set up base outside of our Capital in 1932. The show will surely leave an impression on its audience.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising and Smart...Surprising because it brings to light a piece of our nation's history that is rarely exposed because it reflects negatively upon some of our well-known leaders. Smart because of Russell Treyz's direction to take the show on in the round with a cast of over 30 people to help emphasize the magnitude that was the Bonus Army. The musical was written by David Epstein, with music and lyrics by Al Carmines and it was first performed by the acclaimed Judson Poets' Theater in 1976. My choreography, combined with Russell's direction, and Michael Conley's music direction, portray the material in a surprising and smart way by giving the audience an intimate insight into the world of the Bonus Army.
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would start a full scale production company that would serve as an outlet for new, original, and innovative works being created by lesser known composers, choreographers, writers etc… Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of working alongside some extremely talented artists whose works would thrive if only given a spotlight.