Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Planet Connections Interview - Stephan Davis of "A Dance for Rylie"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Stephan Davis
Show: A Dance for Rylie
Relationship to production: Writer and Composer

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I first became involved with theatre in Junior High. Although I was primarily a musician, I was always quite enamored with theatre as well.

Who are your biggest influences?

Musically, I feel that my biggest influences are probably John Coltrane’s ballads album and Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston’s music from the 90’s.

What is your show about?

A Dance for Rylie is a gay love story inspired by a true case of discrimination against a gay couple at a hospital.

What inspired you to write it?

I learned about the case of discrimination during my first graduate class. As a nurse and as a gay man, I was moved to create a story that combined my greatest passions: music, healthcare and the pursuit of equality.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Bob Cline is the director of the show and I have only been working with him since March, but we immediately clicked. He brings such fantastic experience and passion to this project.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I believe that it is important to ensure sustainability in every sector.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity.  What charity has your production chosen and why?

A Dance for Rylie will be benefiting Ali Forney, an organization that provides housing to homeless LGBT youth. I chose Ali Forney because my parents were not supportive of me when I came out at 16 and I had to go to Christian correction therapy for two years. I know what it is like to be in an unsupportive environment and how important it is that we create safe spaces for our youth.  Ali Forney is doing exactly that.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I hope to do a concert of my music in the very near future. This would showcase music from A Dance for Rylie as well as other pop, jazz, country, R&B and jazz songs I have written.  

Finally, if you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

I would love to help create change by continuing to advance social issues I am passionate about through music and theatre.

For more information about "A Dance for Rylie," visit ADANCEforRYLIE.com or http://planetconnections.org/a-dance-for-rylie-a-new-musical/.

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