Supporting creative work by women
Director Taryn Turney is a Southern California native. This January, she has her sights set on a Gotham-like city in Urinetown: The Musical, which famously made its way from the New York International Fringe Festival to the Great White Way. From January 10th through 26th, her new vision for the tale of corporate greed and corruption — private toilets have been banned in this new world order — will take the stage at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City.
Taryn spoke with Works by Women about what’s new about this production of Urinetown, how important the emotion that makes the world go round is, and what musical is next on her dance card.
WORKS BY WOMEN: Why Urinetown: The Musical right now?
TARYN TURNEY: It just happened to be the right time, the right place, the right line up for our musical productions. We’re very selective in the musicals that we produce and when we produce them. We don’t want the audience to continue to see the same type of show over and over. I have been waiting to be a part of this show for years, and now that the time has come, I couldn’t be more thrilled!
WBW: What can audiences expect from this production?
TARYN: We’re taking Urinetown and trying to create a “new” version of it. We’re not doing the traditional set design; you’ll see our Urinetown as an almost post-apocalyptic world. Our world is run by commercialism. Big corporations have taken over in this time of drought. Oh, and it’s hilarious (just in case you didn’t get that from the depressing definition I just gave you).
WBW: Has the recent Hurricane Sandy and its troubling aftermath affected the production or the lens through which you view the musical?
TARYN: Hurricane Sandy shut down our theatre (Secret Theatre in Long Island City) and many theatres in the community when it came by. We were very lucky (especially being so close to the water) that we still have our space and a community willing to come and support us.
WBW: What is one thing, other than a free toilet, that you would fight to keep?
TARYN: Love! (which also happens to be one of the themes of our show). Whether it’s a love of a person, an animal, or musical theatre, we all need love motivate us and be our best selves.
WBW: What’s next for you?
TARYN: Pending the rights, Secret Theatre Musicals will be producing The Wedding Singer next!
WBW: What are the challenges facing women in American theatre?
TARYN: The biggest is just being a woman. I’ve found that every time I go into an interview I have to work really hard to convince someone that I’m right for the job. People picture a director as a man, not as a 5 foot tall tiny blonde woman.
WBW: What gives you hope for women in American theatre?
TARYN: The amazing directors, actors, and crew members that we see breaking the mold both on and off Broadway every day. Even with our production, our set designer is a woman, and she works those power tools like no other!
Urinetown: The Musical plays at the Secret Theatre through January 26, 2013. For additional information and tickets, visit http://www.secrettheatre.com/.