5 Questions I’ve Never Been Asked: Gabriel Barre


We’re going to dispense with the usual introductory paragraphs because we think this video below is pretty compelling — this, folks, is how new musicals are developed these days, and in this case, we think the outcome is going to be excellent. So, do take notice, all, of Son of a Gun, running at the Beckett Theatre (410 W. 42nd St.). Give it a watch and if you don’t find yourself agreeing, we’ll eat our hat:

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SON OF A GUN, a new musical from Firebone Theatre.

So, when the CFR was graciously offered an opportunity to interview director Gabriel Barre (who has a terrific bio covering so much of his long career here), we had to say yes.

For tickets, by the way, click here or call 212-239-6200.

And now, 5 questions Gabriel Barre has never been asked — and a bonus question.

1) What’s the most perceptive question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
“How did you make the transition from actor to director?”

2) What’s the most idiotic question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
“How do you know what to do?”

3) What’s the weirdest question anyone has ever asked you about your work?
“What’s the weirdest question anyone has asked you about your work?”

Photo courtesy John Capo Public Relations

4) How do the elements of folk rock – the style, the harmonies, the way that lyrics sit on music – affect how the audience experiences the narrative? And for you, as a director, is there any difference between staging a musical with a so-called “traditional” score or one with a rock, folk or jazz score?
Whether doing Shakespeare, a rock musical, a country musical, a mime piece or avant-garde theater piece, the challenges are always the same: “What is the story we’re telling?,” “What is the takeaway (for the audience)?” and “How are we telling this story?” There is not a difference in how I approach a piece due to music style, etc. However, I always consider the prospective audience for the piece and imagine the best way to reach them as well as entertain them, of course.

5) What is the one musical theater innovation that hasn’t quite come to pass yet but which you are most eagerly awaiting? And for you, personally, what is your most innovative trait as a director?
Anything is possible now but not everything is affordable. I think I am eager to see how to truly merge 3D technology and the theater and see how they could influence and feed each other. But the use of technology would still have to be justified somehow.

One of the things I always try to do is truly identify what an ensemble’s role in the story is and how do they feel about the story they are telling — what is their point of view? I like using the ensemble as a force both within and without of the story.

Bonus Question:

6) When a theater geek asks you some perfectly ridiculous question about Starmites (a cult classic pseudo-flop that ran on Broadway in 1989 and earned you a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical), what is your usual response?
It depends on the question, of course, but in general I am impressed with anyone who would know about or remembers my performance in that show. I was proud of the work we all did and have nothing but good feelings about that experience.