Blog 31 – What kind of musical theatre director are you?
Directors are kings, right?
As a teenager I was taught that the director is “God.” Anything they want – you do. Anything they ask for – you give them. I worked with many directors as an actor, and I often lived by that view. But as a producer, I’ve learned to be a bit more discerning.
So as I‘m hiring a director for one of the two musicals I’ll produce this summer, I find myself asking my candidates – What kind of director are you?
OBSESSOR – this is the director who’s incredibly passionate about their work. They live, breathe the show; they are enveloped by it. Nothing else matters. I find these directors incredibly creative. And they tend to draw equally passionate actors, designers and staff all around them. But I also find that they’re never really content with what they’ve created, demanding frequent changes – sometimes right up to the closing performance!
TECHNOCRAT – this is the director who’s ultra-prepared. They have the show fully blocked before the rehearsals start. They may even demand that their actors come to the first rehearsal off-book – everything fully memorized! The design elements are all completely thought out and perhaps built well before tech week. But because everything is thoroughly thought out before, this approach can be risky. There is NO turning back if something goes wrong or doesn’t work.
PLEASER – this is the director who just wants everyone to get along. Their main goal is to avoid conflict and have fun. Sometimes their shows are great – the audience can sense that the cast/crew is having a blast – and they, in turn, have a wonderful time. But sometimes the shows are a disaster. “When trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one” – remember this saying? Well, it is true. All it takes for the “pleaser” to fail is a few bad eggs. Even one trouble-maker can make life miserable for everyone. And because the director is too afraid to make tough choices – the nasties succeed.
Probably the best directors are a combination of all of the above. Not sure…..would love to hear your thoughts? Have I missed any “director types”? Fill me in. I am still learning.