Review Fix chats with Teresa Fischer, playwright for “Through the Years…Laughter and Tears,” who discusses the inspiration behind the projection and its participation in this year’s Spotlight On Festival.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Teresa Fischer: I usually start with an idea or a theme when I’m putting together a cabaret show. For instance I did a show called COMEDY ROULETTE – all comedy songs and the audience got to “choose” four songs based on clues given by host Frank Calo. I work with my musical director, Paul Chamlin weekly and I’m constantly researching songs and songwriters. My taste is eclectic but I have a love for story songs and enjoy finding gems by new songwriters. I despise “my baby left me and my life is over” songs.
My last show WHAT’S NEXT? was programmed by my director, Kent Cozad. I had a list of nine songs that I knew I wanted to sing. Those songs came from three different show ideas that never completely came together. Kent told me to just list some other songs I was drawn to. We decided on the final set list and he then put the songs in order. I knew the order was perfect but I was not sure what the theme was initially. I figured that out, but we were well into the rehearsal process when I discovered the “story” he created. So, that was definitely new to me. I’ve known Kent for over 20 years and trust him implicitly so I just kept singing until I figured it out.
Review Fix: What makes this [play] different or special?
Fischer: THROUGH THE YEARS…LAUGHTER AND TEARS is a trip down memory lane featuring audience favorites and some requests by Spotlight On family members. I am honored to have Jenny Greeman – original member of the Grove Street Wannabes and Three Broads Singing To Beat The Blues – both initially produced by Frank Calo and Spotlight On – joining me. We did three different Broads shows and we toured with the American Theatre Wing Hospital program for three years. Amazing memories. We’re reprising probably the most requested trio number from Three Broads thanks to the lovely Mary Sheridan. We also have Frank Calo making a very special appearance.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Fischer: I learned how much I miss singing with other people and that I can still sing harmony. I worked with Kent on putting the show order together to create an arc but it was tricky because most people requested “big” numbers. I had to replace a song I really wanted to do because it was a big number. The replacement song is lovely and haunting and this adds a new color to the show.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Fischer: I’m conflicted. I love the Spotlight On famil. I’m thrilled to be doing this show but I am not a fan of festivals. Frank knows this. I don’t like being rushed in and out of the performance space. I’m an actor who needs time in the temple before the performance. Frank is the best producer of festivals and I wanted to support him. He creates a community feeling that no other festival producer has ever replicated.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Fischer: I hope the show brings the audience joy and laughter and maybe a few tears. After our first trio rehearsal, I knew that Jenny, Mary and I have a great sound together. I think a new Broads or trio show is on the horizon. I have another solo show in the works as well.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Fischer: Audiences who remember the Broads will enjoy the trip down memory lane. My fans will enjoy the quirky humor and eclectic song choices. We’ve got wonderful songs and lots of funny stuff. We also have Paul Chamlin at the keyboard. He’s one of the finest musical directors in New York. Kent Cozad will bring all the pieces together into a fabulous show.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Fischer: I just won the Tomatoes Got Talent competition so I’ll be performing in their June show at the Triad. Jenny’s working on her Master’s Degree. Mary has a beautiful baby boy, Leo. I’m also a director for New Perspectives Women’s Short Play Lab which will present new plays in an August festival. And, in September, I have a vacation in France! I’m pretty sure I’ll need it!