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SCOTT ROBBINS AND THE TRAVELING SHOW

Playwright and composer Tyler Tafolla brings his new musical comedy SCOTT ROBBINS AND THE TRAVELING SHOW as a guest production at Diversionary Theatre Friday, November 11th, and Saturday, November 12th only. Tafolla talks about creating the piece, his inspiration , and the hope that this new musical promises to bring a sense of wonder and inspire performers and audience members alike to believe in the magic of theatre.

Photo credit: Tyler Tafolla
Photo credit: Tyler Tafolla

Tyler Tafolla is a writer, performer, and director and he got to utilize all of those skills when crafting the new musical SCOTT ROBBINS AND THE TRAVELING SHOW. Tafolla has honed his theatrical skills over the years performing and directing from San Diego, to Los Angeles, and New York.

The show follows a traveling circus in the middle of The Dust Bowl 1930’s and a young street kid named Scott Robbins who finds his life completely changed when he joins a traveling circus by passing himself off as a world-famous magician. Sometimes you find family, romance, and even yourself in the least likely of places.

The show explores how art, and artists persevere to create magic and wonder for the audience while maintaining the sense of magic in performing for others. This very specific time period and place were very important and chosen with care.

“The show is set at a 1930s traveling circus on The Great Plains of America, smack dab in the middle of the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression. It’s a time period I was very adamant about – thematically I think it plays a big part in the story of this Traveling Circus, whose performers have now sort of forgotten what it’s like to believe in magic when they themselves are the magic makers for their patrons. “

The show’s comedic tone and the reminder to find wonder and magic even when circumstances can be challenging are also as relevant today as ever when cynicism can be so easy to fall into and as theatres and audiences rebuild in a post-pandemic restriction world.

“I think it’s that age-old struggle parents and adults alike try and figure out; how to still grasp hold of the magic, wonder, and sincerity you once felt as a child but now taking that and creating it for others in the adult world.”

It’s something many of the circus performers have to relearn throughout the show; although circumstances in the world can alter drastically and it may feel like all hope is lost, there can still be sincerity, wonder, and magic in the world. But it is up to us to create that now for others.”

Tafolla says growing up inspired by humorous, musical, and even absurd comedies like “The Muppets, Dick Van Dyke, Monty Python, Carol Burnett and Bugs Bunny” have shaped his outlook as a performer and their influences can be felt in this show as well.

“I am also a product of the 90’s and the Disney films & children’s shows that came out around that time. I think that’s where a lot of that wonder and heart comes from in the show as well. The desire to make people laugh and enjoy themselves has always been at the heart of this piece.”

Tyler is a quadruple threat on this project as well as the Actor, Director, Producer, and Writer of Book, Music, and Lyrics, this project has been a labor of love and laughter for Tyler and his cast to work on. The cast includes Kelly Prendergast, Shaun Conde, Jordan Brownlee, Cameron Blankenship, Anna Duchi, Isabella Pruter, and Russel Clements.

“This show has been performed 7 times over the past five years and surprisingly enough, this has been the most fun and stress-free rehearsal period I’ve ever felt on it. I think a lot has to do with the cast and team we have working on it. This cast is so incredibly fun to work with and SO FUNNY. They leave me in stitches every rehearsal and it is quite hard to stay in character with them without immediately breaking out into laughter. It truly does feel like one big ol’ live-action Muppet Show when we’re all in the room together. “

While this show has been in progress for a few years, Tafolla says that focusing on the present, and not the future goals (although Broadway is always a nice end goal to have) has allowed him to have the best time creating the possible version of this show for his cast and their audiences.

“I think what’s been great about this time doing it is that the thing that’s been at the forefront of my mind is just having a good time and having fun performing. I haven’t had this much performing and being in a room creating with people in so long. It’s been so creatively fulfilling for me because I’ve just been focused on enjoying every moment I’m in it. Doing this show is an absolute show. And I think more than anything, I hope the audience leaves this show having some of that joy land on their shoulders and follow them home.”

Tyler also hopes audiences leave with a little more magic and joy than before and take that out into the world with them.

“I hope people leave the show filled with a little more joy than they did when they got there. The human race as a whole has been through the wringer the last few years. I think we all deserve a show like this right now.”

You can see SCOTT ROBBINS AND THE TRAVELING SHOW as a guest production t the Diversionary Theatre Friday, November 11th, and Saturday, November 12th only. For ticket and show time information go to https://www.tylertafolla.com/ or https://scottrobbinsandthetravelingshow.ticketleap.com/scott-robbins-and-the-traveling-show/dates

You can follow Tylerand the show’s adventures in San Diego and beyond by following them on Instagram at @scottrobbinsnewmusical and @tatafolla and Tik Tok @tyleratafolla

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