We hope that you’re just as excited as we are for the Bobcat Players’ 2017 season! In order to prepare you for all the excitement, Corresponding Secretary Casey Novak sat down with Artistic Director Patti Ross to get her insight on both the past and the present with the Bobcat Players.
Casey: The Bobcat Players’ 2016 season was simply incredible. There was quite a range of perspectives portrayed in the four shows and, to me, it felt like we reached new levels of entertainment for our audiences. What is your favorite memory from last year’s season?
Patti: Our season provided so much laughter to so many people, so it’s hard to choose one. I’d have to say Brian Brummitt as the stripper in Exit Laughing and Mary Romeo as the sarcastic French maid in Boeing, Boeing were two of my absolute favorites. And of course, I’d have to give an honorable mention to Joshua Antoon with “The Sneeze” in The Good Doctor.
C: I’m sure many people would agree with you on those. What about your proudest moment in regards to last year’s season?
P: I was most impressed by the gifted and diverse actors we were able to cast in Twelve Angry Men. That show was a unique departure for our group, and definitely a risk, which really inspired us in deciding our next season.
C: So what is the connecting thread between all of the shows this year? Is there a theme?
P: In general, the shows that we have chosen are relatively unknown, with the exception of The Boys Next Door, so choosing these shows is definitely a risk. Not only are we asking our audiences to trust us, but we’re also trusting that we’ll find that actors we need to cast these shows. This element of risk is exciting, and I feel confident this gamble will pay off for all of us.
C: Let’s talk about the new season! What can audiences expect in 2017?
P: There’s an old adage in the theater that says, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” That basically means that a great cast cannot thrive onstage without a solid script. However, I feel confident that we have a box office bonanza in both the solid actors that we continue to work with and the strong plays we have chosen. Some of the plays will encourage reflectiveness from our audiences, yet overall, these shows will provide diverse subject matter to our audiences, delivered with both laughter and tears.
C: The first show is The Boys Next Door, directed by Dave Neuhart. What can you tell us about the show?
P: The Boys Next Door really encompasses a range of emotions—it will make you laugh and cry, because it is a show filled with a lot of heart. It’s so relevant because it reminds us how we look at people who are different or who deviate from the norm is critical. Compassion is key, and that is a truth that people always need to hear.
C: That is certainly an important message and definitely sounds like a strong opening for the season. The summer show is Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl, directed by Shelly Cary. Why was it chosen?
P: Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl is the perfect light-hearted comedy for the summer. This show is a quirky, magical adventure that features strong character roles. The premise is so different and I know it will be an audience favorite.
C: The season special is Decision Height directed by Frank Myers. Could you tell us a little about this show?
P: Decision Height is, in my eyes, THE show of the season. It is very timely in a historical way; as some of you may know, President Obama signed a law last year to reinstate the right of Women’s Airforce Service Pilots to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Decision Height is also very relevant because of the gender equality issues that it examines. The women in this show may be fictional, but they portray the realities of the heroines and trailblazers who worked so hard and were so dedicated to our country during World War II. Decision Height explores the bonds women form in the most desperate of times and really takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions.
C: Now let’s talk about A Very Oblonski Valentine, written by you and to be directed by you! This show is the sequel to your very successful play, Unexpected Gifts. Do audiences need to have seen the first play to understand the second? How does it feel to have your second full-length play produced by the Bobcat Players?
P: Firstly, no, audiences do not need to have seen Unexpected Gifts to enjoy A Very Oblonski Valentine. Writing A Very Oblonski Valentine gave me the opportunity to legitimize the characters that stole the show the last time and to explore that small town charm that we all adore. Of course having my play produced is exciting—but it’s also slightly scary. There is always the concern about sequels measuring up, but I think we’ve got an ace in the hole with this show. You’ll have to attend to find out!
C: The 2017 season definitely sounds like a winner. So what are the Bobcat Players in need of?
P: We’re looking for actors of color and new people that we can show what we’re made of. We’d love to find more people interested in doing the “grunt work;” we’re always in need of people to take on roles like producer, stage manager, technical director, etc. But mainly, we need our loyal audiences to return to us again this year—and we’d love for them to bring their friends!
C: What’s next on the schedule for the Bobcat Players?
P: Next up we have casting! Beyond that, we are putting together a show called What I Did For Love: A Series of One Acts for our outreach program. We have performances scheduled for Liberty Hills and Sewickley Ridge, and we may have one performance that is open to the public. Stay tuned for more information on that and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!
As you can see, the Bobcat Players have a lot in store for 2017. We hope this interview with our artistic director has gotten you as excited as we are! You can find more information on the shows at www.bobcatplayers.com/2017-season. Thank you for joining us and stay tuned to hear about our Outreach Program next month!