It’s A Woman’s World with Dean Ness and Professor Mossman
By Madison Kobe ’18
Music theatre shows bring together the Carthage community and music theatre students, and they are a great way to integrate a new faculty member. Professor Jeremy Mossman and Dean Corinne Ness are coming together to co-direct the second music theatre workshop production of the 2017-2018 season, It’s a Woman’s World.
What is the process for choosing which shows will be performed for the season? Why was this particular show chosen for the 2017-2018 season?
C: We choose our music theatre workshops based on what the students enrolled in the courses need; we strive to be aware of our students’ needs and strengths. This fall, we had a large number of students and we wanted to provide projects that helped all of them grow in their skills. Godspell, the first music theatre workshop, is an episodic show that has more of a vignette or cabaret feel to it. So, we decided to create our own cabaret for some of our advanced sophomore women, and we used the theme of “It’s a Woman’s World” because that will be one of the featured songs. The song is actually from the musical The Full Monty.
What has been a highlight of working on the production of It’s a Woman’s World?
C: We’re also including Kerry Bieneman, a fabulous coach/accompanist, for the final performance. As I said earlier, we wanted to have women’s voices everywhere, including at the piano!
J: There is nothing like doing a show with your students to really know them. Since I’m new to the faculty, I’m getting to know a lot more than just the students, I’m learning the styles and energies and ethics, and the students get to know mine too. I’ve also really enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Dean Ness, who is a consummate teaching artist.
What challenge(s), if any, have you faced in preparing for the show?
C: One of the challenges of this project is balancing process and product. We want all students to be developing their process and growing as artists, as that is one of our goals for the music theatre workshops. But we also need an end product - we have to perform the show. That means we can stay a little longer in the development side, but we can’t just live there - we have to be ready to polish things for an audience.
J: As a director I always feel like there are deeper layers of interpretative nuance and specificity in performance, so I always want more time! In a way, it’s those final stages of preparation where there’s a lot to learn - I could live there.
How do you think having a new faculty member and a returning Dean of Fine Arts and Humanities on this project benefit the experience of the students involved?
J: Co-directing with Dean Ness has been beyond exciting! I love this kind of show. When working on a show with a script you’re confined to that script. When developing a cabaret-style show you have a much room to explore different angles and interpretations of the music and lyrics. You aren’t restricted to any style or writer - everything is allowed. Its purpose is for the performers to express themselves through their art personally and genuinely.
What advice would you offer to a student considering a career in the performing arts?
J: Be as broad a person as you can be, not just a versatile performer. Have interests in areas outside of music and theatre; nurture your hobbies whatever they may be; know the world around you. Nowadays there’s so much innovating being done by performers, which never used to be the case. People like Todrick Hall and Colleen Ballinger (known as her YouTube personality Miranda Sings) have become quite successful from making videos on YouTube; and, now they headline on Broadway, or have shows on MTV or Netflix. Their ultimate goals are probably quite different than when they graduated from school. The more varied your interests the more exciting the innovative possibilities!
It’s a Woman’s World is running Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. in the Visual Arts and Performing Lab. Seating is limited so get your tickets 24/7 at carthage.edu/tickets