On the eve of a new production based on L J Fecho’s book Genesius – a musical celebration of born performers’ constant desire to be onstage and in the spotlight – we had the opportunity to ask the author and artistic director about the show, other upcoming projects and his favorite Broadway productions.
The L Magazine: What projects are you currently working on?
L J Fecho: Right now I am the book writer and producer of an Actors’ Equity Approved Showcase called Genesius, which runs from August 26 through September 13 at the TADA! Theater (15 West 28th Street). The show tells the story of one woman's passion for love, for theater, and for the opportunity to be onstage. This new musical touches on the universal themes of reaching out and giving back while pursuing one's own dreams. In 1971, Jane Simmon Miller co-founded Genesius Theatre in Reading, Pennsylvania; she dreamed of a theater group where amateurs could participate, learn, and grow while putting on a show. Genesius is her story. I am also the Artistic Director at Genesius Theatre in Reading, which has been operating for 38 years now.
What long-term ideas and projects do you hope to develop in the months and years ahead?
Certainly we hope we can move Genesius up the NYC ladder and see the production get a full First Class production. I am also currently writing a play called The Transmitter and I would like to possibly present another play I wrote, Just Another Illegitimate Child Of John Lennon as a showcase in New York.
What’s the best show you’ve seen recently?
The 39 Steps: The artful staging, the comedic timing, the actor’s ability to switch characters at a moment’s notice mesmerized me. I loved the show so much I saw it twice and the second time was for my bachelor party in May. The guys loved it too!
What show are you most looking forward to (other than your own)?
I really want to see Hair. I just directed it at Genesius Theatre and it was a huge hit, and I would like to compare what I did vs. what they did. This new musical Memphis also intrigues me.
What has been your most positive experience working in the arts in New York City?
The staff at TADA! Theater have been amazing. I thought it was going to be hard finding a space and getting someone to work with me and TADA! has been nothing but helpful, supportive and cooperative. I also am totally blown away by all the talented actors who auditioned for Genesius. I feel as if I were treated to the greatest musical revue in the world on our audition day way back in June.
What has been your worst experience working in the arts in New York City?
The heat in August has been unbearable and has made presenting Genesius a challenge.
What’s your favorite New York City venue to see a show in?
The Helen Hayes Theater, a sweet small theater that has a big Broadway feel to it. How can you go wrong with a theater named after the First Lady of the American Theater?
If, for whatever reason, you could no longer work in theater, what would you do?
Sleep! I would sleep a lot!
If you had an opportunity to work in any other sector of the arts, what would it be?
I would love to work in film or TV… I think TV especially has come a long way.
What’s the best show in another sector of the arts that you’ve seen recently?
Going back to TV – I am from the TV generation – Mad Men, Entourage and Nurse Jackie. Terrific TV!
(photo credit: Judy Hennessey)