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Interview Questions for the DIRECTOR Scott Cook "Rock Of Ages...."

Interview Questions for the DIRECTOR Scott Cook of “Rock OF Ages….”

By:  Coren E. McLeod of UnRated Magazine

Photos By:  Barry Nadler

I hope you have been keeping up with all the amazing interviews for TheatreWorks Florida production of Rock Of Ages.  First, we got to know the marvelous Kayla Alvarez as she conquers the role of Sherrie.  And, of course, the extremely talented guitar player Bobby Keller.

Now, we take a turn and get to know the remarkable director: Scott Cook!  Scott talks about his astounding background and throws in why he wanted to direct Rock Of Ages for TheatreWorks Florida…

So, without further ado, here is Director Scott Cook: 

Questions for the DIRECTOR:  Scott Cook

1) What was your motivation to bring “Rock of Ages” to the people of Orlando?

I grew up as a teenager with the music of the real 80s rock stars featured in Rock Of Ages. Back then, the music shaped me, moved me and rocked my soul everywhere I went. It was a time of pure freedom and discovery where music was my guide. Now, I get to relive all the heart-pounding guitar anthems of Journey, Foreigner, Styx, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger and more that infuse the high-energy experience of Rock Of Ages from start to finish. Bringing this “arena rock” homage to our community as a live musical theatre experience is the answer to our age of “digital overload."  Experiencing art live with friends and family is so rewarding that people are seeking it out amidst the digital age. Notably, this is a musical that attracts a whole new audience – the audience of the live rock and roll world. And for anyone whose youth coincided with the 80s time period, this over-the-top, electric nostalgia of “badassery” is a siren call filled with screaming guitars and sing-along choruses that will be impossible to resist.

2) You have directed some stellar plays in the past.  How long have you been directing for?

I began directing in 1985 in DeLand, FL. I opened a young adults company called OnStage II at the Shoestring Theatre, which is still in existence today. The very first musical I directed was Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell. My career in directing and choreography has spanned the globe and it has been a true calling because I never grew up as a kid thinking, “One day, I’ll be a famous stage director! ”. Thirty-one years later, having directed over 100 live stage shows, I am blessed with all the experiences I’ve had, especially with TheatreWorks Florida that began as a pipe dream and has gone on to be a 7 time international award-winning company.

3) How do you decide how each play is going to look as far as set, props, wardrobe etc.

An amazing amount of research and development goes into every production TheatreWorks Florida brings to life. Most important to understand - it’s not just me making choices. The process is a complete team effort and I have developed a dream team of designers and staff over the 9-year history of the company. Each year, the TheatreWorks Florida core staff and designers look at show titles that have, first and foremost, great marketing potential. Second, we consider current trends, national reviews and local audience draw. Third, we make sure we can actually design the show in a particular space with professional quality production values.

 Only then do we begin the process of what each and every detail will look like and feel like in a show. My designers spend countless hours researching, sketching, preparing and presenting ideas to the team. The collaboration we experience and respect at the design level is the key to our final product. In the end, our decisions are all about what the audience wants - top notch, quality, professional theatre. TheatreWorks Florida makes the commitment to deliver just that, every single time.

4) How do you know during the audition that you found the right person for a particular character?

A great director needs to be prepared for any production on every last level. When it comes to actors auditioning for a musical, it is essential to completely understand the story, the characters, the vocal ranges and the dance abilities required. That takes a lot of time studying the script and score, day in and day out, well before the first person walks through the door of an audition. Once auditions begin, organization of all the characters involved is essential so you can begin to decipher talent ability and where an actor may fall in the range of characters needed to complete the story. When initial auditions are over and I have a solid handful of actors who can technically perform the material of script and score, the callbacks become the most important moment. 

I hold callbacks at lightning pace, testing ALL the material on everyone, even if an actor does not see himself or herself in a particular role. The reason? I am looking for “potential”. I don’t need an actor who can nail every line, every song, and every dance move at performance quality. I need an actor who can drive the material through a rehearsal process, engage improvement under my direction and come out on the other side a changed and polished character, ready to tell a story.

5) How do you get inspired to direct these big productions?

I am a storyteller so big or small productions, it is all about the story. Hands down! Audiences want a solid story to engage in and that is what I work so hard to give them. As far as my forte’ in the world of live stage production, it is definitely large musicals. I grew up on them, began directing them at a young age and feel so utterly inspired when they start as a small seed in my brain and come completely to life on the stage. They are exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time but the feeling of accomplishment is breath taking once you can sit back and say, “Yep. I created that”.

6) What are you most excited about when “Rock of Ages” has it opening night?

There are so many things that excite me about the opening night of Rock Of Ages ,but I am most excited to be at the helm of the theatre company producing the Central FL regional premiere of this rock and roll spectacular. I am immensely honored to bring together such a highly skilled, local professional company of staff, designers, cast, crew and musicians from our own community who are about to take every audience member on a wild ride back to the 80's.  Where we can all just jam out and forget our troubles for a little while with a big dose of rock and roll!

Thank you so much Scott for your well thought out answers.  I have started my countdown to when I will be flying to Orlando to see this play.  If you haven't already and if you are in or around the Orlando area, I highly suggest you get tickets to Rock Of Ages.  I am making a guarantee this will be the most #BadAss show you will ever attend!!!

If you need additional information, please go to http://www.theatreworksfl.org/

- Read the full story at UnRatedMagazine.com

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