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Meet The Directors!

CenterStage is designed to give all kinds of opportunities to young artists. This upcoming year, we have many young women stepping forward to share their minds, their voices, and their talents. This blog post is dedicated to them-- to these talented ladies who, though they may seem unseen, are truly the heart of their respective productions.

The first of our spotlighted directors (drum roll, please) is Lydia Gifford. She is a sophomore Musical Theatre BM with a minor in Music Composition. She hails from Florida, but CenterStage is so proud to have kept her here in spite of the dropping temperatures. She recently assistant directed CenterStage’s production of Proof last semester, and now she will take the lead on their upcoming production of Where the City Sings, which will be one of two shows featured in CenterStage’s For the Students, By the Students event.

“The most exciting part about this process for me is, well, the process,” Lydia says,

“I'm excited to see how that perspective changes the show throughout rehearsals, and I hope that collaborating as one unit on this work makes us all better artists.”

After the curtain closes on Lydia’s show, Gabriel Ashton Brown will be working hard to prepare her team for this semester’s mainstage production, The Addams Family. Gabe will graduate in May with a BM in Musical Theatre with not one CenterStage directing credit on her resume, but two!

“It's the most gratifying thing to see actors do something that's in your head or that's even better than what you originally had,” Gabe shares. “I've always been a director and artist for my own work, but I've been directing other people for a few years now and have found that I'm very passionate about collaborative pieces. Musicals are great because you have to balance your job as director with the music director and designers and all the other people who put the show together.“

When asked, “Why should people come see you show?” both Lydia and Gabe articulated not only how their experience with Centerstage has impacted their time at CUA, but also how CenterStage’s future audiences will benefit from attending the developing productions. Check out their answers below!

Q: Why should people come see you show?

Gifford: We all assume a great deal of things about the people we pass on the street on a daily basis. With the ever-present influence of the media on today's society, it's easy to group people and places into categories and not waste time trying to get to know those people and places better. New York City, for example, is a place that is full of people who have been stereotyped by society and commercialized to no end. Where the City Sings provides a new perspective on these well-known people - such as beggars, immigrants, and cynical millennials - and the heavily commercialized tourist destinations which New York is known for. To top it all off, there's the intriguing melodies and rhythms written by Evan Brende, as well as Nicholas Rao's clever sense of humor woven into a wacky story, containing all kinds of twists and turns to keep you on your toes and unexpected moments of authenticity to keep the story grounded in reality. Mix everything until combined, and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes of one treat of a show!

Brown: The Addams Family is so freaking funny and classic. It's about family, and as someone who is very close to theirs, this show comes from a real place. Even though its morbid and dark humor is hilarious, the story is about the strength of familial love. More than that, this show is about normalizing conflict between people, as it is something all people have in their lives with friends, classmates, and partners. It's a story of accepting people with opposite opinions, and loving each other as if they were your family. We all need to hear stories about that on our campus and in the United States capital.

Thanks to our directors for answering these questions, and sharing their talent with CenterStage! Hop on over to a CenterStage event this semester and give these amazing women the support the deserve!

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