Monday, June 7, 2010

Planet Connections Interview - Anne Berlin of REVOLUTION!

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Anne Berlin
Relationship to production: Playwright, lyricist and producer.
Website: To learn more about my other work please visit my websites: , ,

How did you first get involved in theatre?

When I was younger I thought men and women sang to each other when they were in love. I saw a lot of musicals and thought they were so romantic. The romance, the idealized joy appealed to me.

I have been writing since I was a young girl. One day, a year after a I graduated from college I realized that I didn't want to be a lawyer as I'd planned. I had studied history and english and wanted to go into politics, or law. But I realized, all I did was go to the theater - any chance I had I was there. I noted I loved reading plays more than books and that I always sang tunes in the shower or wherever I was going. That words would become songs in my heads. It was then that I realized I LOVE THIS and I want to do this, work in this area, write in this discipline and taught myself how.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influences are memories and objects. I will see an object pick it up and suddenly find a story in it: I would also add my family and the comedy of life. I see stories in people's conversations, overhearing something on the bus, all of this influences me.

What is your show about?

REVOLUTION! is a new musical that playfully deconstructs history's most famous revolutions in a trio of interconnected one acts. The musicals deconstruct the American, French, and Russian revolution with whimsy and charm, as told through matryoshka dolls, chess pieces, and toy soldiers. The stories trace the pivotal moments of a revolution: the beginning, middle, and end.

What inspired you to write it?

I passed a store and saw a Matryoshka doll in the window, the Russian nesting dolls. All of the sudden I had this image - the opening scene of a play which is how I have begun my musical.

What made you want to perform in an eco-friendly theatre festival like Planet Connections?

I am a returning artist. Last year my musical HOWLING HILDA premiered in Planet Connections as a reading. Of all the festivals I have participated in I felt connected to the people and felt because of that my work was the best I had ever done. I have written another musical about the green movement so it has been on mind like so many of us. But what also speaks to me about PC is their attention to charity. It feels natural and sincere. And Glory and Jenn and Ryan and Carly and all the other wonderful faces of PC are so sincere it inspires you.

Planet Connections is fairly unique in that a portion of the box office for each show is donated to a charity. What charity have you chosen and why?

My show is benefiting Washington Crossing Historic Park. It is extremely significant to the American Revolution, in fact it's where the tides turned for Washington. Everything was against him, everything was going wrong. Once he crossed he continued to Trenton. If he not crossed that night it is said the revolution would have been lost. The park is in need of financial assistance and deserves to be preserved as a place of national significance.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I want to develop this show and hopefully after my reading have the opportunity to go further with it off-Broadway.

And finally, if you could go back in time and meet yourself as a kid, what advice would you give your younger self?

If I could go back in time I would say "Anne learn the piano, read music, you are going to use it one day!"

Book & Lyrics Anne Berlin
Music by Andy Cohen
Conceived by Anne Berlin
Musical Direction by Markus Hauck
Stage Manager Chae-kyung Lee
Directed by Valentina Fratti

Featuring: Caryln Connolly, Bellavia Mauro, Edward Prostak, Marek Sapieyevski, Tom Schubert and Daryl Stewart

Running time: 90-100 minutes, no intermission

Venue: The Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd floor

Staged Reading - Thurs. 6/10 @ 2pm

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