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1000 PLAYWRIGHT INTERVIEWS

1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Jun 25, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1052: Krista Eyler and Barb Nichols





Krista Eyler (Left): Music & Lyrics, Co-book writer. Barb Nichols (right): Co-book writer.


Hometowns:
Barb Nichols- St. Louis, MO
Krista Eyler-Overland Park, KS

Current Town:
Both of us: Kansas City

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  BARB:  Currently directing Peter Pan for the White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City

KRISTA:  Just closed a show, "Morning's At Seven," for Kansas City Actors Theatre as an actress, and am working NON-STOP on Overture the Musical to be presented at NYMF. We are also about to start writing our next musical--Title to be announced at a later date!

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  BARB:  As someone who loves to direct, perform & attend theatre I will share that music and musicals (both movies & live) were a big part of my upbringing. Both my parents loved music and were always playing albums and soundtracks. It was a BIG deal when my Mom would get us tickets to go to the Muny opera in the summer and I still have the fondest memories of seeing Margaret Hamilton play the Wicked Witch in 'The Wizard of Oz', Carol Burnett & Rock Hudson perform in 'I Do, I Do' and Tommy Tune sing & dance in 'Seesaw'. That exposure set a passion that continues.

KRISTA:  I was the kid who sat in her room picking out melodies on a guitar for hours on end listening to '60s rock n' roll, Motown, late '80s hip-hop, New Orleans second line rhythms, and always SHOW TUNES. I am a singer first, writer second, so my voice always gravitated toward singers with soul (Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Mahalia Jackson, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland). I hear them in my head as a I write, and writing came about for me organically. I always had a tune running around in my noggin and eventually started playing them on piano. I like to write in all genres and styles because of the eclectic mix of music I always listened to growing up.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? 

A:  BARB: It would be less expensive for audiences to attend and dirty, rotten scalpers would not be able to get their hands on tickets and resell them at ridiculous profits of which the actors, musicians, crew never see a dime.

KRISTA: I concur with Barb on the above! Also, for there to be more roles written in contemporary theatre for legit singers, and not just in revivals. Sopranos and head voice singers have to have some place to go!

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 
 
A:  BARB:Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett, Diane Paulus, Julie Taymor

KRISTA: Julie Andrews, hands down. Bernadette Peters is a close second. Audra's voice is, by itself, a hero.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

BARB: I'm a sucker for big, fun production numbers but, most appealing are the quiet, honest moments on stage. Finding creative ways to tell stories and connect with an audience is the best theatre. Creating something that is for the moment and has the potential to be slightly different each time.

KRISTA: Big, theatrical dance numbers that have some key change modulation in the middle. Especially tap! I guess, in general, moments on stage which make me feel something extraordinary--tears, anger, empathy. Those moments are my favorites.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out? 

 BARB: Gosh, I leave this to you Krista...I'd say have a clear vision, be passionate about the story your telling, be open to changes and criticism (both positive & constructive)

KRISTA: Find someone to read your work who will tell you the truth about it--the good and the bad. You can find lots of folks to praise your work, but few will be brave enough to tell you the truth about it. Barb is a great truthteller for me. She is kind and direct. Be open to edits, but follow your own compass.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A: Plugs about 'Overture' or about ourselves?? 

BARB: Just go with "has worked extensively as a director & performer in Kansas City the past 25 years."

KRISTA: Overture just won the Anna Sosenko Trust Assist Award. We were a top ten Grand Jury Selection for NYMF.

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