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Monday, March 12, 2012

Somebody Worth Talking About: Scott Anthony Helps Bring Music to The Humana Festival


 
Actor, singer & musician Scott Anthony.
By Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2012 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Each year the Humana Festival of New American Plays utilizes the talents of a larger-than-usual company of creative individuals to pull off one of the most ambitious theatre festivals in America. This year, and not for the first time, Actors Theatre has called upon local actor, singer, musician and arranger Scott Anthony to help with their musical needs on two separate plays: The Veri**on Play, which opened the festival on February 27; and Oh, Gastronomy!, which opens March 16 and showcases the Actors Theatre Apprentice Company.
In the case of The Veri**on Play, just before rehearsal began it was decided to add a full-blown song and dance in the finale. Noted Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change), who had collaborated previously with playwright Lisa Kron, was brought in to write the music, and Mr. Anthony was recruited to arrange, perform and record the musical track himself, as well as direct the actors’ musical rehearsal. The result, “Can You Hear Us Now," helps finish an already high-energy show on an even more exuberant note.
Scott Anthony and Oh, Gastronomy! director Amy Attaway.
Photo by Bill Brymer.
More involved is his work on the upcoming Oh Gastronomy! The piece showcases the Apprentice Company and would require some of the cast to sing and play original music by Matt Schatz onstage as a band. The first step was an informal session in which Anthony could gauge the musical talent available to him. ”I was pleasantly surprised at how many instruments they played. They had some experience playing in non-theatrical situations, but I had a lot of fun teaching them how to be ‘A Band.' " He credits the impressive musical skills among the group to Apprentice Company Director Michael Legg and Associate Director Amy Attaway:  “I believe (in their audition process) they have placed more of a priority on seeking a broader range of talent." Ms. Attaway serves as Gastronomy’s Director and says about Mr. Anthony’s contribution: “He brings an amazing rock and roll vibe to the rehearsal room, with a deep understanding of the music and great instinct for working with the actors. Oh, Gastronomy! would be a very different production without Scott's immeasurable contribution."
Scott has had a long-standing relationship with Actors Theatre, having performed in Love, Janis (2005) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2007) and served as Musical Director for This Beautiful City and Game On! (2008 Humana Festival). Most recently, he played and sang on pre-recorded tracks for Sirens (2010).
Having barely finished his Humana Festival duties, the in-demand Mr. Anthony is already in rehearsal for Happy Days, A New Musical opening April 3 at Derby Dinner Playhouse, where he previously appeared in Ring of Fire (2010), another musical, featuring the music of Johnny Cash. “When they need somebody with those (musical) sensibilities and talents, they think of me, which is nice." Always up for a challenge, recently Mr. Anthony has been seeking material where music is not as central, such as in Broadsword (2011, directed by Amy Attaway), and The Normal Heart (2010).  “Such roles push me more as an actor and allow me to work those muscles harder.” 
Actors Liz Malarkey, Alexander Kirby, J.Alexender Coe,
and Jonathan Finnegan with Scott Anthony (left), working on
Oh, Gastronomy! Photo by Kirsty Gaukel.
Looking to the future, he is excited to be doing sound design for the sophomore season of Theatre {502} (“…some of the most talented people I’ve worked with in this city”), and has ambitions to develop his own original material in collaboration with others. Scott would not relate anything of those plans, but you can bet they will be, as with all of his work, something worth talking about.


The Veri**on Play
February 26-April 1

Oh, Gastronomy!
March 16-April 1

Part of the 36th Humana Festival of New American Plays

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Bingham Theater
Third & Main Streets
Louisville, KY 40202
502-584-1205
ActorsTheatre.org


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