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Spotlight on On Golden Pond Director Melissa Jo York-Tilley

By • Sep 25th, 2008 • Category: Interviews

Listen to our interview with On Golden Pond director Melissa Jo York-Tilley [MP3 5:34 5.1MB].

On Golden Pond
Prince William Little Theatre
Jennie Dean Elementary School, Manassas, VA
$12/$10 Students and Seniors
Through October 12th
Review of the production

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio. Today I am talking to Melissa Jo York-Tilley who is the director of Prince William Little Theatre’s upcoming production of On Golden Pond. Thank you for talking, with me today, Melissa.

Melissa: Thank you for having me.

Mike: So tell me a little bit about On Golden Pond and the basic plot.

Melissa: The play is about an elderly couple, Norman and Ethel. They spend every Summer at a house on Golden Pond. The play focuses on how they deal with family relationships and the challenges they face growing older.

Mike: Is it a large or small cast?

Melissa: It is a relatively small cast, with only six people in the cast.

Mike: Who are the elderly couple?

Melissa: Norman is played by George Kitchen and Ethel is played by Elissa Hudson. The daughter Chelsea is played by Lori Muhlstein. The mailman, Charlie, is played by Kevin Kirby. The fiance Bill, is played by August Kruesi. Bill Jr., known as Billy, is played by Caelan Ryberg.

Mike: How are the rehearsals going. Is it moving along pretty well?

Melissa: Yeah, they are going fabulous. We are really excited.

Mike: So this is your first time directing. Has it been what you were expecting?

Melissa: Pretty much, yes. I have been in enough productions to know how things flow and go. I know exactly what is going on.

Mike: What have you learned that you were not expecting? I know that there was something that has not quite gone the way you were picturing.

Melissa: I have prepared for anything that would happen so anything that came up that was out of the ordinary I had already prepared for. Nothing has been extremely out of place or a big to do. It has all been taken care of very easily. I have a very good crew.

Mike: So are there a lot of sets or is it a unit set? How complicated is the show itself with costumes and sets and that type of thing?

Melissa: It is a fairly uncomplicated show. The set is just the room in the cabin of Norman and Ethel on the lake. The set never changes into a different part of the house. It remains constant. The costumes are fairly simple. It is set in 1987-88. They are a little bit period, but nothing real complicated.

Mike: What was the biggest challenge for you for this production?

Melissa: The challenge for me was to actually be the leader. I have often in recent years been second in command and had someone ultimately been the one to make the final decisions. That was really the biggest challenge is having to have the final word in everything laying on your shoulders. However it was not easier or harder than I expected. It was just a whole different experience entirely than what I am used to.

Mike: So what types of things did you have to make the final decision on?

Melissa: Oh, on everything. The set, the costumes, the acting. I’ve never had to make decisions on acting before so that was new. I’ve had input on acting, but never the final decision.

Mike: Have you performed in shows before?

Melissa: I did. I performed in shows in college.

Mike: I was thinking we have not seen you in a show.

Melissa: No. I have never been in a show in Northern Virginia.

Mike: So you strongly prefer the backstage verses the on stage.

Melissa: Definitely. I am much more of a backstage kind of gal.

Mike: So would you want to direct again, now that you have done it once or would you want to be an ecclectic renaissance woman of theater?

Melissa: I will probably continue to be eclectic. It would have to be the right opportunity for me to direct again and there are a couple opportunities on the horizon, they are just not set in stone yet so I’m not comfortable giving them out, but you might see me directing again soon.

Mike: Is there a show you would just love to direct that would be a dream to work on or to direct?

Melissa: There is a show that I would just love to direct and that is Jesus Christ Superstar and that is one of the shows that I am marketing around to get produced.

Mike: Have you done musicals before?

Melissa: I have been in musicals and I have worked on musicals, yes.

Mike: Tell me how people can get tickets to the show and when it is running?

Melissa: On Golden Pond runs from September 26th thru October 12th. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 pm. There are two matinee performances on October 5th and 12th at 2 pm. It is being performed at Jennie Dean Elementary School in Manassas. Tickets can be reserved online at www.pwlt.org or purchased at the door. The cost is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and $6 for children. PWLT accepts only cash and personal checks. I think we have covered everything. I just want to emphasize that the show deals with issues and relationships that everyone can relate to. Even though it is a drama, there is still a lot of humor in the play. It’s a great show and I just hope everyone can come out and see it.

Mike: Thank you very much for talking with us, I do appreciate it.

Melissa: Thank you.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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