Playwright and composer – creator of the musical Group

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Headshot tips

You should really check out my new headshot work over at http://www.BestLAHeadshots.com.

 

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you get the shots you need:

 

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Body & Soul

Lately, my focus has not been on playwriting as much as photography. That is why there are many more updates over at www.AdamEmperorSouthardPhotography.com than there are here. 

For example, I recently began a new photo series titled “Body & Soul.” Participants must come up with a quote or image that is important to them. Then, my artist friend Melissa would create body art with Henna before I capture their essence on film*

*film is not a real thing

Here are the first photos of this new and fun series:

http://www.adamemperorsouthardphotography.com/galleries/body-soul/

Let me know what you think or if you want to be a part of it 🙂

 

Adam


My Next Musical

The process to begin writing my next musical has begun.

I have recorded a video of myself singing the second song from it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnui_AKn41w&feature=youtu.be

Let me know what you think. I have much bigger plans for filming my next show as I write it, but that information is too early in the development process to share at the moment.

Stay tuned and let me know if you are interested in being a part of my next work.

– Adam


My 2011 Ovation Experience

1 year ago today we had just begun rehearsals for six workshop performances of my first musical Group. Fast forward a year and the words “Group: A Musical – The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble” is projected on the big screen at the historic Orpheum Theater at the 2011 Ovation Awards. It’s been a pretty great year.

As previously posted, https://adamemperorsouthard.com/2011/09/20/isaac-wades-portrayal-of-dr-allen-recognized-by-la-stage-alliance/, Isaac Wade (who I wrote the role of Dr. Allen for) was nominated for “featured actor in a musical.”

Isaac and I met up with our LATE friends at a downtown diner before the big show. I’ve got to tell you, those folks clean up REAL nice. (I’ll make sure to post one of the red carpet photos once they go up). Atfter commenting on how all of the “Gospel According to First Squad” cast had begun growing out their hair since the show wrapped, we hoofed it to the Orpheum.

After our red carpet shots (in which we forced the photographer to take one of as many of us as we could wrangle) we mingled in the gorgeous lobby hugging everyone we knew.

The theatre was stunning and the energy was palpable. We cheered like we were at a high school football game every time there was mention of any of our friends. Our faces hurt from smiling and our voices were raspy from hooting.

While we went home physically empty handed, I would say the whole experience was satisfyingly fulfilling. Just being invited to the party was such an incredible honor.

Hell, I’m still honored that such an esteemed theatre company gave me a shot in the first place, that anyone wanted to see my work and that it was well received. I feel inspired, invigorated and ready to continue edits and rewrites of my next shows.

I link to all of the deserving winners: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2011/11/ovation-awards-la-stage-alliance-.html

Adam Emperor Southard – creator of the musical Group.


I was on La La Land

I recently had the privilege to be on La La Land, a multi media radio show that was simultaneously on time warner cable and U-stream. There are a few clips that I’m in, but this one in particular includes me playing a couple of songs: Welcome, Hello from Group and  a song from my next musical 🙂 I hope you enjoy it:

La La Land with Bret and Nett, Segment #6 – October, 15 2011 – Adam Emporer Southard, Compser/Photog


Studio Photos

My recent experiments in studio photography and dramatic lighting

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Night Sky

I almost exclusively photograph people. So, whenever I capture a cityscape, landscape or skyline I like to share:

Los Angeles 9-30-11

9-30-11

Isaac Wade’s Portrayal of Dr. Allen Recognized by LA Stage Alliance

Isaac Wade - as Dr. Allen

Last night it was announced that Isaac Wade has been honored with a “Featured Actor In A Musical” Ovation award nomination for his portrayal of Dr. Allen in Group. It’s hard to put into words just what a big deal that is and just how proud I am… but I’ll try.

You know how actors love receiving SAG award nominations not only because we are all narcissistic award hoarders who constantly crave attention and recognition, but also because the SAG awards are voted on by fellow actors. Well, the Ovation Awards are voted on by the Los Angeles theatre community. It consists of the movers and shakers of LA theatre: theatregoers, producers, directors, actors, designers, playwrights…

Ovation voters are required to see and vote on tons of shows throughout the year. Now, anyone who has experience putting up a show in LA knows that it can be extremely difficult to get enough Ovation voters to see your show and even more difficult for the ones that see it to rate it high enough for recognition. Just about all of the Ovation voters who honored us by seeing Group saw an early preview version of it… but I’ll get to that later.

Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble

The back-story on Isaac & “Dr. Allen”

Isaac and I had been performing together in radio plays for a few months but had never done a musical. I had just begun thinking about and reworking an idea my brother (Scott D. Southard) and I had years prior about group therapy when I hard Isaac sing. The role of Dr. Allen, which I had thought I was writing for myself, immediately became a role I wanted him to play. From then on, Isaac was the Dr. Allen in my head. It isn’t based on him at all, but it is tailor made for his remarkable ability and numerous gifts.

Isaac got my play and music into the hands of Tom Burmester and Danika Sudik of the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble. They honored me with the chance to perform the show as a script reading with music in front of their company members and anyone else I wanted to invite. Isaac played Dr. Allen, many of my closest actor friends and family performed the other roles and Josh Allan Dykstra and I played all the instruments.

Isaac during the first ever stage reading of Group

One of the first things Tom asked me afterwards was exactly WHO I wanted the show to be about. It was, and continues to be, an ensemble piece but Tom wanted me to focus on one driving story. This inspired me to first add monologues by Dr. Allen that would weave the play together and then add Dr. Allen’s back story which is the heart of the show.

The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble honored Josh and I by giving us six workshop performances. We brought in the great Richard Tatum to direct it and began casting. Now, we did not precast any of the roles, so I was a little nervous that Richard might want someone else to play the role I created for Isaac. Thank God he saw in him what I did and the call back was for all of the other roles.

During the rehearsal process, Tom & Danika offered us the opportunity to turn the workshop performances into previews and to officially open in January. Despite the fact that I was still making extensive rewrites on a weekly basis and the show was still evolving, we decided to invite every Ovation voter and reviewer we knew to one of our early previews.

The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble

It should be noted that I’m proud of our previews and the positive responses we received. It needs to be said, however, that I did 18 pages of rewrites between the previews and our opening and ALL of our critical acclaim and surprising recognition was based on that early version. Now that I know we were on the Ovation map, so to speak, I feel like an idiot for sharing the preview version.

Of course the LA Stage Alliance didn’t recognize us for book or music, the shows that were nominated were amazing and our show was supposed to just be a workshop! I’m not saying that we would have received more recognition had we only invited critics and Ovation voters to see the actual run of the show, I’m just trying to point out how pleasantly surprised and floored I am by the recognition. Then again, something that didn’t change from those early performances was Isaac’s brilliant portrayal of Dr. Allen.

He was freaking amazing during our staged reading, killed it during the previews, nailed it during the run and took it to a whole other level when we did encore performances in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. (I did another ten pages of rewrites for those performances).

As the show continues to grow and change, one thing remains: I will always hear and see Isaac Wade playing the lead. I could not be more pleased that he has been recognized for his remarkable performance.

Here is the complete list of Ovation nominees including the five other nominations for the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble’s Gospel According to First Squad (including nominations for the producers of Group, Tom & Danika): http://www.lastagealliance.com/ovation_nominees.htm

 

 


Downtown Los Angeles

My photography is almost exclusively of people. If a person isn’t in the photo, I typically am not interested. THIS photo, however, is one I’m proud of. It was taken from the 21st floor of a building at Figueroa and Wilshire 9-14-11.

Let me know what you think.


StageSceneLA Recognition

StageSceneLA is a Los Angeles based theatre website devoted to reviewing and supporting local theatre. I don’t know how he does it, but Steven Stanley literally sees hundreds of shows each year.

My musical, Group, was honored to have Steven see Group at the Powerhouse Theatre during our previews back in December of 2010 and then again during our encore performances in the June 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Both times he gave us a “Wow” his signature exclamation for his favorite shows.

Steven Stanley of StageSceneLA

This morning, September 12, 2011, Steven Stanley released his picks for the best of 2010 – 2011 theatre awards, known as Scenies. A full list of the award recipients can be found here: http://www.stagescenela.com/2011/09/stagescenela-announces-best-of-2010-2011-awards/

There are many awards, but if you saw literally hundreds of shows every year, there would be many you would like to recognize as well 🙂

The awards that Group won include:

OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICALS OF 2010-2011
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR/MUSICAL (Isaac Wade)
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION, MUSICAL
OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL (Richard Tatum)
OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION/INTIMATE THEATER (Adam Emperor Southard)

Technically, I was the co-music director with my songwriting partner Josh Allan Dykstra.

What an honor to be included amongst such respected and amazing shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Notes on Group… sort of

Obviously I can’t write notes on my own show, but I CAN talk about our opening night in the Fringe Festival.

Last night Group (http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452) opened at the Stella Alder and it was a riot! The audience was laughing early and often and our actors fed off it beautifully. I can’t wait to do it again tonight and Saturday.

Notes on the space: First off, it should be noted that the Stella Adler is a bit of a maze. We are in the Irene Gilbert space. I will make sure to put up more signs tonight and Saturday 🙂

One of the many things I love about Fringe is the madness of it all. Performing in a space that the actors are not familiar with is such a crazy challenge, and yet, I find it so exhilarating. The only time our actors have seen this space was in one tech rehearsal two weeks ago. That being said, they were up to the task. We have found, however, that the beautiful space is a bit of a sound suck (not a technical term) so if you are hard of hearing, I recommend sitting front and center.

The audience last night was made of AMAZING! They bought in right away, laughed at all the right spots, and (quasi-spoiler alert) were reaching for kleenex by the end. As the playwright of Group I really can’t express how moved I am by a new audience that is touched by our story. I don’t create work for myself. I create theatre to foster a shared experience. I want my audiences to leave having something to talk about, something to remember, something to chat about over pie afterwards… The immediate standing ovation (not started by my wife surprisingly enough) was a delightful and unexpected treat. I could not have asked for a kinder, more attentive audience.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Hollywood Fringe Festival?! I am so proud of being a part of this unbelievable experience.

We have two more performances left. Tonight June 24 and tomorrow June 25. If you are a fellow fringer or you saw the first run of Group, email me at aespiano@gmail.com and I can send you a discount code.

Here is the official page to buy tickets to Group. I really do hope you get a chance to see it. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452


Notes on Girl Band in the Men’s Room

Girl Band in the Men’s Room is an hour long exploration into the diverse personalities that make up a band on the verge of success.

I loved the tight and clever writing and the fantastic character work all of the actors clearly put in. The acting and directing were stellar and the audience ate up every moment of it.

On a personal note, I wish I had sat nearer the stage as the Fringe Annex has plenty of visibility issues and I couldn’t see any of the lovely business involving a bass guitar and its strings. That being said, I really enjoyed this funny, smart and moving new work.

There is only two performances left, so you better get your tickets soon. The show I saw was sold out and I’m sure the next two will be as well.

Remaining Shows June 24 6:30pm and June  25 9:30pm / Fringe Annex

http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/project/view/429

Moving forward:

Group officially opens tomorrow (Thursday 23rd) and runs for three days straight at the Stella Adler at 8pm each night.

http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Notes on The Trouble With Words

(These thoughts are based on the 1 hour abridged version at Fringe Central and not the full length version at Actors Circle)

Holy Shit, this show is great. As long as Coeurage Theatre Company continues to market this as “pay what you want” this will continue to be the best deal in town. It’s downright gorgeous.

The Trouble With Words is a song cycle based around the concept of words – not finding the right words, saying the wrong words, last words, first words…

If you go to see musicals for a story, this may not be the show for you, BUT if you go to hear amazingly beautiful new songs performed professionally by a solid six-piece band and sung by gifted performers YOU NEED TO SEE THIS SHOW.

I’m excited to hear that Trouble will have an extended run at Actors Circle beyond Fringe so that I can take my wife and everyone I’ve ever met. I’m serious. The music is that good.

You know I liked a show when I’m recommending you see it when two of the performances are at the same time as my show J

The Trouble With Words has 3 performances left: Thursday 23rd – 6pm (Fringe Central), Friday 24th – 9pm (Actors Circle), Saturday 25th – 9pm (Actors Circle)

Moving Forward:

Tonight is the final dress rehearsal for Group at LATE’s homebase – the Powerhouse Theatre. We are allowing the gifted cast of The Naked Army come see our dress rehearsal since they have performances during our three day run. THEN tomorrow Brooke, Caroline and I are participating in the Fringe Cabaret in the main tent. We will be on stage from 9:30pm – 9:40pm. THEN we open on Thursday at the Stella Adler!

 


Notes on Super Sidekick

Adorable. This show is freakin adorable. I wish my son were a little older so that I could have taken him along for the ride.

The performances are heartfelt and just the right amount of over-the-top. The songs are fun and performed with vigor. The story telling is clever and funny. Most importantly, the kids in the audience had a great time (and so did the adults, lets face it).

If you want to just smile like a kid again, or better yet, you have a kid, go see this show.

There are only two more performances of this show left, Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th, both at 1pm at the Actors Circle. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/346

Moving Forward:

Tonight I’m seeing The Trouble With Words (with three friends no less) and then it’s back in Group mode for me with our official Dress Rehearsal tomorrow. I’m getting more and more excited for you all to see my show. Fringe rocks. Enough said.


Notes on Of People and Not Things

A couple breaks up and at least for one of them it felt like the end of the world, that is to say, until it was. This brilliantly written piece is essentially two epic monologues performed truthfully first by the man crushed from the breakup and then from the woman trying to sort through all that she has lost and all that she doesn’t miss.

This show is surprising well crafted and thought out. Each moment in the first monologue connects to something in the next and we see how subtle differences in experience can change everything.

I thoroughly enjoyed this moving piece. Of People and Not Things is clever, tight, moving and much funnier than the term “post-apocalypse” may imply. There are only three more performances and the show is only 70 minutes long so make sure you fit it into your Fringe schedule. I’m glad I did.

Remaining performances: June 18 (10:15pm), 19 (8:30pm) & 20 (8:15pm) all at the Complex. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/445

Moving forward:

Tonight I’m going to be performing new and never before heard versions of songs from Group (some cut from Group) at Fringe Central with two of my actresses. We will be on the stage in the tent from 9pm – 915pm tonight. We will be back up there Tuesday 9:30pm – 9:40pm as well.

Monday is our full dress rehearsal and then we open on Thursday!!! I can’t wait for you all to see Group. Here is a link to where you can buy tickets to see our musical: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452


Notes on Last Five Years

Full Disclosure: Last Five Years is one of my favorite musicals of all time. The music is beautifully written and the concept is brilliant.

Bright Eyes Production’s Last Five Years does Jason Robert Browns moving masterpiece justice. The vocal performances of Ashley Cuellar and Rory Alexander are spot on and the live band is solid. These are important points as this show lives and dies on the quality of the performers. I turned to my wife during the second song and said, “We lucked out!” Ashley and Rory are wonderful.

It is a full-length one-act play consisting of almost nothing but music. It tells the five-year tale of two young lovers. We watch Jamie as he moves forward chronologically from when he first met his Shiksa Goddess till five years later. Meanwhile, Cathy’s timeline is the exact opposite moving from someone in pain to someone experiencing new found love.

If I have any qualms with this highly successful production it is with the often distracting and unnecessary projections and the unflattering wardrobe choices. These minor issues do little to deter me from recommending this powerful, moving, hilarious and brilliant production of one of the greatest modern musicals. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Moving Forward:

Seeing a show like Last Five Years simply makes me want to gather up my actors and start singing songs from Group. Tomorrow I have a rehearsal with two of my actors who are going to sing with me on the Fringe Cabaret stage this coming Saturday and the following Tuesday. I’m still considering how many shows I’ll be able to see before my next schedule fringe show, which is a double header of Super Sidekick and Trouble with Words both on Sunday June 19th.


Notes on Voices From Chernobyl Jr

The task of writing a show for children about the Chernobyl tragedy must be daunting but you wouldn’t know it from this lovely production. Cindy Marie Jenkins’ deft writing bridges the gap between an educational presentation and an interactive children’s show that is as funny as it is serious.

The particular preview that I had the pleasure to see had an adoring adult audience, but Voices From Chernobyl Jr is tailor made for children eight years and up. I highly recommend this show for parents and children alike. It is equal parts entertaining and important.

Voices From Chernobyl Jr has four remaining performances at Fringe Central at 1pm June 18, 19, 25 & 26.

Moving Forward:

We had an amazing rehearsal of Group last night. My anticipation for it to be June 23rd already is getting a little ridiculous. Speaking of anticipation, I’m bringing a pack of people to see Last Five Years tonight. Cannot wait.


Notes on Spring Awakening

Have you ever seen a production where the positive energy and passion of the cast made it impossible not to enjoy their performance? Lonesome No More’s production of Spring Awakening has energy and passion in spades.

Spring Awakening is a coming of age story featuring the tragic results of negligent parenting during puberty. This tragedy is surprisingly funny under the skilled direction of Dana Murphy and Patrick Riley. I’m not sure which director was responsible for the bulk of the staging for this production, but whoever first decided to use every inch of that space should be commended. It was brilliant.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the many young and promising actors who give powerful and honest performances throughout. I was particularly impressed with leads Patrick Riley and Jennifer Allcott whose truthful portrayal of two youths mystified by love are a must-see.

Spring Awakening – Complex Theatres – Friday June 17 & 24 at 10:30pm / Sunday June 19 & 26 at 2:00pm Tickets are $10. More information on their show can be found here:  http://lonesomenomoretheatre.blogspot.com/

Moving Forward:

I regrettably won’t be able to see any shows tonight (June 10) as we have a rehearsal for Group all night. It’s one of only two more rehearsals we have (excluding tech and dress) before we open on June 23rd!

I cannot wait until this weekend. I’m seeing Voices from Chornobyl Jr & Last Five Years on Saturday!


More Rehearsal Photos

For tickets to see group: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452

Here are some photos from our weekend rehearsal at the Powerhouse Theatre. (The amazing paint job was done by our very own Brooke for an amazing retelling of Lysistrada called “The Naked Army”)


Bitter-Lemons Interview about GROUP

 

On May 27, 2011 Cindy Marie Jenkins (@cindymariej) of Bitter-Lemons (labitterlemons) conducted an interview via twitter with myself (@aespiano) the director of Group (@RichardTatumLA) & actress Caroline Sharp (@charp7) who plays Meg in Group. I have reordered the tweets from the interview for easier reading. I hope you enjoy.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Up next at 7pm is @AESPiano , the mind behind #GROUP, the acclaimed musical http://bit.ly/iU6Ece Read & enjoy while I re-group.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

I’m not sure how to follow the previous two guests. It’s almost like Theatre people are diverse or something.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

@AESPiano It’s not like #GROUP is all sunshine & roses!

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

@LABitterLemons boy, you got that right…

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Let’s everyone welcome @AESPiano , who wrote Book, Music & Lyrics for #GROUP , remounting at #HFF11 http://bit.ly/iU6Ece

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Hello everyone. Thanks for having me

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

So this will be a little harder for me, because I saw #GROUP @latensemble . So no giving anything away! Q1: Why remount?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

1) We wanted @latensemble to be a part of #hff11 2) I’m still making tweaks on the show and wanted instant feedback 3) I think there is a whole new audience in Hollywood that had not seen the first run in Santa Monica. It was a perfect fit

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Q2: Give a little background on how #GROUP came to be. How long was writing process & did it change through rehearsal process?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Group evolved over a rather long period of time. The original concept for a college therapy session musical started a decade ago. I began writing the script the summer of 2009. First workshop March 2010. First previews December 2010. The truth is, the script continues to evolve and grow. I made a few minor changes at our last rehearsal!

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Q3: How did Director @RichardTatumLA become involved & how was/is your collaboration?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

@RichardTatumLA was brought in by Tom & Danika w@latensemble we hit it off immediately. I sometimes wonder if he can see my dreams

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Q4: #FullDisclosure I love live bands integrated into the story. Was that always the intention?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

To be honest, I haven’t personally seen many shows where the characters are aware that they are singing. I absolutely love it. My next musical has characters aware that they are singing as well #clarification my next show won’t literally take place in my head. I just haven’t typed it out yet.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

I have many of those. Q5  Who are your musical influences?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Am I allowed to answer with non-musical composers? I do appreciate musicals, but they are not my influences

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

You are allowed whatever influences you like!

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

@BenFolds @aimeemann Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, James Taylor, early Billy Joel, Tom Waits… I don’t allow myself to listen to other musicals while I’m writing, but after Group closed I began to listen to @MrJasonRBrown. Last Five Years, for example, is right up my alley. I already bought tickets to see the production of it that is in Fringe 🙂

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

What do you think of the new musicals that have come out more recently?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Look, the truth is I haven’t seen many of them. Rent is hardly considered “new” though I love it still.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Hard to argue with #RENT 🙂 I hear we may have some of the ensemble & team joining us. Who is here from #GROUP?

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

I’m a #Group cast member… does that count? 😉

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Of course cast counts! Tell a bit about your character

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

I play Meg, a young woman whose marriage has begun to fall apart. She convinces her husband to come to therapy with her. But very quickly, her assumptions about what therapy will entail are challenged. She is forced to confront her own real demons.

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

Director is here 🙂

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Welcome Mr. Director.! @RichardTatumLA For both you & @AESPiano : how did you start w/ collaboration?

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I got a call from Danika @LAtensemble, whom I have known for years. Wanna direct a musical? I had JUST been thinking I did! We all had a meeting that night for coffee, and we got along famously. @aespiano and I bonded in about 8 seconds over books & music. I was sent the script and heard the demos from the workshop reading. The story really got to me and Adam’s stuff sounded like Aimee Mann, to me whom I love. Since then, we’ve been reading each other’s minds

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

I would have finished @RichardTatumLA sentence just then, but the twitter delay…

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

HA! And there you have it, @aespiano

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Ha! When to know a #newplay problem doesn’t need fixing, and just needs rehearsal? Anything taken out then put back into it?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Nothing taken out has been put back in yet. @csharp7 character probably has experienced the most rewrites

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

That’s not true, @AESPiano! I lost a song for about a day and a half there! 🙂

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

You are so right!

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

Yes – Meg and Julia went through the most changes, to my memory @csharp7

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

I think we softened Meg a lot between the December previews and the January run. I love that @csharp7 is here because she plays Meg so different from how I originally had planned. She brought this “privileged” quality to the character that makes her characters revelations that much more intriguing.

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

@csharp7 owned the role from the audition, though. Gotta say.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Who was hardest character to write?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

I think the character of Julia is the least like me, but she was such a joy I wouldn’t define writing her as difficult

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

I heard the cast dynamic was pretty much unicorns and puppy dogs. Any idea how the magic was sparked?

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I cast a lot based on gut response to personality. I knew we needed a cast that could trust each other. Casting, tone in the room, and Adam’s and Josh’s great energy.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

We all just enjoyed each others company so much it made us more inspired to work harder and longer

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I cast a lot based on gut response to personality. I knew we needed a cast that could trust each other. Plus, what @aespiano said.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

What were musician’s feelings towards being such active participants onstage? Was it weird for @AESpiano to be in own show?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Are you kidding? I was an actor long before I was a playwright. I had visions of being Dr. Allen before meeting Isaac…

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Since I did see it @latensemble : did you write the group leader FOR the actor? Because he is kind of perfect.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

…and then I wrote the part for him. Thank God he auditioned and auditioned well 🙂 You hit the nail on the head. I heard Isaac sing when I was half way through the writing process.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Any drastic changes for #HFF11 or is it mostly adapting to new space?

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

It’s mostly reblocking for the space. BUT we’ve found a bunch of new things in the process. Lovely new characters twists!

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

There are very few writing changes. I’ll let @RichardTatumLA and @csharp7 speak of the acting choices which have been changed

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I don’t want to give too much away. 🙂 But it will be a darker Act I. Still funny, though! Just … well, you’ll have to see.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Darker perhaps, but I think it is just as funny as ever.

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

Yes, just as funny. But in a different way, I think.

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

Some of the songs have been raised for my voice 🙂 I feel like I sing them better now. And what @RichardTatumLA said about Act 1.

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I agree, you do. You sound GREAT.

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

What do you think are key components to a successful writer/director/actor/any combo collaboration?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

As far as collaboration goes, it’s all about respect. @RichardTatumLA has a great amount of respect for his actors.

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

Thanks, @AESpiano. I always hated hater directors. Won’t be one.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Plus, the script is about a group of people coming together as a makeshift family. If that doesn’t bring you together as a group…

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

What do you (all of you) want audiences to leave theater with? What to think about, take away, or do?

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

I want people to walk out and call someone they love they haven’t connected to in ages.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Look, I want the audience who see http://bit.ly/fAdMiK to feel like they experienced something. Like they felt part of our family. There will be a few people in every audience who won’t get it, who want song and dance numbers… but for those that get it, who buy in, who connect with the characters, I think it can be a moving experience… #goal

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

To me so much of what works about the show is that it’s about our need to love and be loved. And what we can lose.

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

I like stories with no defined “bad guy”, everyone just trying to find their peace, and sometimes work at cross-purposes. Hopefully it reminds us to always be kind, as Plato says, because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

I stopped typing because I knew @csharp7 was about to come up with something nice. #nailedit

RICHARD TATUM (DIRETOR)

Yeah, she did!

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Do you have a cast recording?

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

Funny you should ask! 🙂 We are in the process of recording six songs from the show. Not available for purchase but we are making those tracks available to those supporting the show through our fundraiser: http://kck.st/k2sJHP It turns out that professionally recording music is expensive (and producing a show in Hollywood is too) no one tells me anything J. OH, and you can totally hear a song from the show here: http://bit.ly/iuL9sU

BITTER LEMONS (CINDY MARIE JENKINS)

Truly thank U 3 for yr time & shedding a little light in2 the process & story. Lking forward 2 #GROUP again! http://bit.ly/maTwfQ

CAROLINE SHARP (ACTRESS)

My pleasure! What a fun time 🙂 I just love the #HFF11 and #LAThtr communities!

ADAM EMPEROR SOUTHARD (PLAYWRIGHT)

It was an absolute pleasure. We only have three shows, so I hope people can get tickets early.


Photos From Our May 15th Rehearsal

This was a full cast rehearsal / demo recording session. It was absolutely a thrill to get the whole cast back together in the historic Powerhouse Theatre where it all began.


Fringe, Spiders & The American Musical

Three performances only.

That’s all we have.

June 23, 24, 25 8pm.

Group had two weeks of previews in December of 2010 and three weeks in January 2011 at the Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica with the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble.

The same actors, the same director, the same band (that’s me at the piano)…

I love the idea of just showing up that day and going for it. There will be no lighting, no sets, no props, just our show raw and fresh. I think this is what my friend Corwin meant when he first told me about Fringe during our first run. It’s theatre in its naked form. No artifice, no spectacle: just theatre.

I wrote my show specifically to work in this type of environment. I wanted a musical that could be done on a budget of nothing. So many of our most successful musicals these days are huge travesties of commercialism that hurt my soul. I’m sorry, but if your musical is a remake of a movie, you are doing it wrong. I hate saying that because many of those composers are more gifted and brilliant then I will ever be, yet… LOOK, I’m frustrated by the state of the American musical okay? Not bitter, frustrated. Disappointed maybe.

Last night I watched the Spider project: http://bit.ly/h02sfw It’s a short musical based on the story of Spider Man created on zero budget to spite the U2 debacle that was made for the cost of a small nation. The Spidey Project: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility is pretty great. Look, it’s not going to win any awards but it has a small yet talented cast who find creative ways to tell a grand story on a small stage. It’s a riot and has some rather lovely moments. You can feel the energy and love in that theatre as you watch the clips and if THAT isn’t what theatre is about, I don’t know what is.

So, that’s what I expect Fringe to feel like this June. A bunch of theatre lovers ready to experience something new just for the love of the ride. It sounds like something I could do the rest of my life. Instead, I’ll have to settle for three performances only. That is, unless you count all the shows I plan on seeing.


Ouroboros & The Hollywood Fringe Festival

The Hollywood Fringe Festival project logo

As we inch closer and closer to submitting GROUP for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, I become more and more anxious, excited and nostalgic. I miss my actors, my band, my crew and my audiences. That’s right, they are mine and I am theirs. We are all in this together during the performance and every moment has the potential to change who I am, what I feel and what I’ll do next.

This is the essence of live performance. The symbiotic relationship between the audience and the performer. We feed off the energy of one another. We are but a snake eating our own tail. Ouroboros.

Now, in these early performances of Group, I am not an actor per se. I am but a humble musician. But I still am afforded the unique opportunity to witness and feel the energy of the room without having to sit in the audience. It is a rare joy that few playwrights get to experience.

This June 16-26 is the Hollywood Fringe Festival and I have every intention of hiring every baby sitter I have ever used so that I can see as many shows as possible. I love everything the festival stands for and I love creators and performers getting a chance to put up their work in all their glory.

As of today, I’m about 99% sure that the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble will do a few encore performances of our first run in the festival. We are hoping to finalize performance space details early next week just in time for the deadline to register for the festival.

I, for one, cannot wait to see those lights come up, feel the nerves of the actors and hear my words and music being performed by artists as passionate about my work as I am. I cannot wait to share my work with new audiences and to hear the conversations start between people that are not aware that the piano / guitar player in the band is also the writer. Go ahead. Talk about the show with me nearby. I can take it. I welcome it. I love it. And I love you for discussing my work.

Thanks in advance LA. I can’t wait.

Is it June yet?

Adam Emperor Southard – creator of the musical “Group” which MAY be performed this June at the great Hollywood Fringe Festival.


My First Podcast Interview

I had the great privilege of being interviewed by Trevor from the Inside Acting Podcast. I am convinced that I am absolutely the least famous person that will ever be on their show 🙂

That being said, I had a great time and I hope a couple of people out there find something useful in what I had to say.

Here is a link to that interview…

www.InsideActingPodcast.com