Dave Thomas Brown is no stranger to San Diego, he was last seen here in the Cygnet Theatre’s SHAKESPEARE’S R&J. While my conversation with him went well over our allotted time and covered a whole range of topics we mostly covered his return to the San Diego Cygnet stage and bringing angst to the stage via song as Melchior, one of the angst filled teenagers in SPRING AWAKENING playing through April 27th.
Though he is based in New York, there was no hesitation for Dave to come back to the San Diego stage.
“I spread the gospel about San Diego back in New York. I really think it is California’s theatre town as far as a healthy theatre environment with a diverse theatre landscape with larger theatre companies and smaller theatre companies. La Jolla (Playhouse) is a place where a lot new work gets a workshop before it goes to New York and then you have great theatre in New York. I lived in LA for 5 months and the theatre community there is all about showcasing something. It is less about the work and more about ‘who can I invite?’ Which is very LA, but I can’t say enough about San Diego as a theatre town.”
But it’s not just the charms of San Diego that draw him to the regional stage, he also loves the chance to perform for appreciative audiences that support regional theatres across the country.
“I work a lot in New York, and New York is great and you get to do a lot but I love working regionally. I love working regionally because in New York a lot of the audiences are your peers, so half judging you and half judging you. You go anywhere regionally and the environment is less competitive, just because of scale. So you have people that really enjoy coming to the theatre and really love to support. I love coming out here whenever I can.”
It was not just the draw to come back to sunny weather that brought him back to San Diego, but the chance to cross performing the role of Melchior in“Spring Awakening” off of his bucket list!
“I wanted to play Melchoir someday. I saw it on Broadway and I thought ‘ I have to do this one day’ and here I am. I wouldn’t say it has been a life long dream but it is definitely a bucket list show.
I always have (the music) on my iTunes and I’m always listening to it. It’s just so rich and the music just tears at every inch of your soul. It’s so well written. It’ nice to do a show you are also in love with.
Speaking of the music, what are his thoughts on the combination of the older play with the more modern music?
“There is the posit that I bring to it, and that our director has really taken the production in, is really that these themes are timeless. What’s going on is timeless. Young love, discovering our bodies, teen suicide, domestic and child abuse, and sexual abuse. These are all themes that have not gone away. It all really flows together really well for me. Between the costumes and the fact that when you come in and you realize that this is 1870 Germany, it does all the work for you setting the scene.
So for me, it isn’t confusing of are we in the past or the present. It is a rock musical feel, and the best angst musical that you can possibly have. It’s about what is the best music that epitomizes the feelings of these kids and sometimes it’s a slow sweet ballad and sometimes it’s a rock your socks off jam.”
Come see Dave Thomas Brown rock it as the intellectual Melchior in “Spring Awakening” at the Cygnet Theatre March 6 – April 27, 2014. Show times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting Cygnet’s website at www.cygnettheatre.com or by calling the box office at 619-337-1525. Cygnet’s box office and theatre are located at the Old Town Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.