Runyonland Productions is featured in the Art Sustains Hope episode of Detroit Performs. We got the lowdown of what Runyonland Productions has in store for 2019 and beyond from their producer and president, Thomas Laub.
Detroit Performs: How did the audience receive the performance For The Record?
Thomas Laub: The audiences absolutely loved For The Record. The performances sold out months in advance, and (director) Geoff (Packard), myself, and the whole team were able to get a lot of wonderful feedback that will help guide the creative life of the show as we move forward.
DP: What did Runyonland Productions learn throughout the process of presenting For the Record?
TL: Every new work is different, and Runyonland has presented original musicals before, but never a play. The rehearsal and rewrite process was more intensive, and the team learned a great deal about how to best support a new piece in its incubation. It would also be remiss not to mention how much we learned from working with Geoff, a seasoned Broadway performer and writer, and his guidance during the process was instrumental, and will be as we move forward with the piece.
DP: What productions do you have coming up in 2019?
TL: We have two more shows in our current season that we’re beyond excited about. Firstly, Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, presented in concert with a full orchestra in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. We are currently working hard in the rehearsal room for that production, and it’s going to be a wonderful night where music, theatre, and the story of a complex, evolving friendship combine to create a magical experience for the audience. Additionally, the original Broadway lead actress, Ann Morrison, will be coming in to attend our opening night! The show runs February 28th to March 1st, and tickets are available and going fast at www.runyonland.ticketleap.com/merrily. Farther in the future, we are working with a Broadway Director and Music Director in Geoff Packard and Jason DeBord, respectively, to present A Night of Myths & Hymns, a brand-new narrative using the music of Tony-Award winner Adam Guettel to explore how human beings turn to different belief systems in times of crisis. We will have a rabbi, imam, and a priest offering passages from their respective texts during this one-night-only performance in the gorgeous University of Michigan Museum of Art on Sunday, April 7th.
DP: Why did you choose these particular productions?
TL: We spent March and April of 2018 crafting out a varied, diverse season through which we could explore different performance styles, mediums, and spaces to offer Ann Arbor a wide array of theatrical entertainment that is unique from every other performance company in the city. From the Duderstadt Video Studio, to the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, to the University of Michigan Museum of Art, our performance venues vary just as much as the stories we’re telling, and we’re excited to present such a wide variety of art this year.
DP: Where can people go to see a Runyonland production?
TL: Depending on the production, our venues are all around Ann Arbor. Check the individual production’s details, and, this season, we’re producing in the Duderstadt Video Studio, the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
DP: What do you hope to bring to the community through Runyonland Productions?
TL: We aim to bring the best entertainment to the widest, most diverse audience possible. We have created outreach initiatives to engage with the greater Ann Arbor community as fully as possible, and we’ve partnered with the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning as well as the Ypsilanti Public School System to bring in students from local public schools that lack requisite arts funding. Our productions are for all audience members, and if any community members cannot afford the price of a ticket, we encourage them to email us, so we can find a solution.
DP: What is the goal for Runyonland Productions?
TL: The goal of Runyonland Productions is to present and incubate theatrical work in Ann Arbor, and provide a pipeline from Ann Arbor to the Broadway theatre scene at large in New York. We’ve started this with SHEL: A Historically Fictionalized Musical, which we’ve workshopped in NYC, Calgary, Charlotte, and LA before an upcoming NYC industry presentation.
You can watch Runyonland Productions performance of For The Record on Detroit Performs here: https://youtu.be/50phqsKaaRE