35MM: Emily Clark Interview

February 25, 2016
by John Ross Clark
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The Cast & Composer/Lyricist of the LA professional premiere of “35MM: A Musical Exhibition.” BACK ROW: Jeff Scot Carey, Emily Clark, Ryan Scott Oliver, Cody Clark. FRONT ROW: Dana Shaw, Vincent Perez, Katherine Washington.

JRC
Emily Clark is the Artistic Director of The Unknown Artists, which will be presenting the Los Angeles professional premiere of 35MM: A Musical Exhibition by composer Ryan Scott Oliver, based on the photographs of Matthew Murphy, from February 26th through March 19th at The Dorie Theatre at The Complex in Hollywood. Well, that’s a mouthful. Can you tell us what that all means and what we can expect when we go to see this show?
 
Emily
35MM is a song cycle written by composer/lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver – and a song cycle is a very specific type of musical theatre show.  Rather than having a distinct plot, song cycles focus on related themes or ideas, and the theme that ties together 35MM are the photographs, taken by Broadway photographer, Matthew Murphy.  All of the songs are accompanied by an image that inspired it (or vice versa!).  That’s why the show is called “a musical exhibition” – it’s like going to an art gallery and a high energy rock show at the same time.  Ryan’s music is very pop-rock, yet incredibly musical theatre, and the songs in this show run the gamut.  You’ll get something very traditionally musical theatre, followed by chanting in Latin, a full-on rock song, then a dark Southern gothic opera, an a cappella choral piece, and then a story about vampires. It’s nuts in the best possible way, and it all ties together, somehow.  I don’t know how Ryan and Matt do it, but it works!
 
JRC
I notice there’s several people involved in the production with the surname Clark. Is that just a coincidence?
 
Emily
I don’t know what you’re talking about John Ross Clark! Like many theater kids raised in LA, I like to keep it all in the family. One of the performers in 35MM is my brother, Cody Clark.  We’ve been acting together since we were kids, and it’s always so much fun.  I’m lucky he has almost perfect pitch, because this Ryan Scott Oliver music is hard!  We’re both lucky, though, because we were raised by my mother, Gayle Bluemel, who is a singer-songwriter-music director-retired principal with an auditorium named after her.  In fact, last year The Unknown Artists produced an original song cycle she wrote called The Girl is Still Here.  My stepdad, Dan Ames, is our company’s go-to Master Carpenter and sound guy, plus occasional cowboy guitarist.  And my dad has been an actor and director in LA for over 30 years, and he directed some of the pieces in 35MM.  But I dunno how much I reeeeally take after him…
 
JRC
So you could say this is a family affair?
 
Emily
Yes, definitely a family affair!  I’m really lucky to have a family around me that supports this totally crazy dream of being the artistic director of a theatre company, but then again, I was producing and starring in adaptations of “Beauty and the Beast” in my living room when I was a kid, so they couldn’t have been surprised!
 
JRC
I saw a tweet in which you claimed to have been involved/cast in every production of an RSO show in Los Angeles. How did that come about?
 
Emily
It’s true!  Ryan, Cody, and I have been friends since we were 6 or 7 years old!  My mother started the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program when we were kids to give us something to do during the summer (Ryan is the artistic director now, and I’ve worked for the company since 2008).  We all went to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts together, and that’s where Ryan started writing musicals.  The first song he ever wrote was an ode to teenage angst called “Do You Know How to Love Me?” which we sang at our final choir concert of the year in 2000; we thought it was so deep! After that, Ryan went on to UCLA and then NYU, and now he’s New York based, so there haven’t been too many RSO projects in Los Angeles. When they do happen, though, I tend to be involved!  There were both of Ryan’s concerts at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center – “Rated RSO” back in 2009.  I got to sing back-up for Megan Hilty and Lesli Margherita and all these talented people from NYC and LA. It was such a great experience. That was when I first started hearing songs from 35MM, and I was absolutely blown away. I’ve also been on featured on some of Ryan’s albums. Ryan also helped write my one-woman cabaret, Slightly Dramatic which I’ve been performing for several years on both coasts.  But I guess the shows I’ve had the biggest hands in were the Mechanicals Theatre Group’s LA premiere of “Out of My Head,” and now the LA professional premiere of 35MM!  What can I say?  I’ve been his biggest fan since we were in high school. I always knew he was a genius.
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RATED RSO, Boston Court 2009. Emily Clark, Grace Wall, and Katie Gassert (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

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OUT OF MY HEAD, Mechanicals Theatre Group, 2011. Jeni Incontro, Emily Clark, Saro Badalian (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

JRC
You’ve basically known Ryan your whole life then?
 
Emily
I have!  And we’re still in each other’s lives!  I was the maid of honor at his wedding.  He even wrote a song for my wedding a few years ago.  I’m divorced now, but the song is still good!
 
JRC
The Unknown Artists is a true labor of love for you. You’ve been in literally every production since its inception either as an actor, director, and/or producer.  Can you give us a brief rundown of the last four years?
Emily
The story really starts in 2007 when I was living in New York and I founded the company with my good friend, Pamela Eberhardt.  She had written a musical and wanted to produce it, and we were tired of waiting for other people to give us opportunities, so we figured we’d make them for ourselves!  We produced the show, and it was a nightmare!  Not the show, just trying to produce theater in New York when you’re 25…oh man.  I had way more connections in LA, so I relocated and by 2011 we moved the company out here.  We started Play Club West, our weekly free cold reading group, as a way to stay creative, but we also reach out to playwrights looking to have new works produced.  We love new works and helping actors, writers, and directors find a voice!  We’ve produced seven shows (two of them have been short play festivals), plus multiple concerts, fundraisers, and cabarets.  Most of these have been new works, but we also did Matt & Ben, a re-imagining of Lysistrata, and now 35MM, which is absolutely our most ambitious project to date!
JRC
And what prompted you to take on the daunting task of starting/running your own theatre company in what has been described by many as a declining market for theatre?
 
Emily
Oh boy, that’s a tough one.  I guess the only answer I have is that I cannot see myself being truly happy doing anything else.  I’m constantly stressed out and overworked, but if I’m not working on a show, I’m going absolutely crazy!  The end result is always worth it, in my opinion. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded with like-minded performers. We just want to do theatre, and do it our way. And the more I work in this town, the more I’m able to find people with the same mindset!  It’s incredibly encouraging.  I’m obviously not in it for the money.  Did I mention that I’m a performing arts teacher by day?
 
JRC
What’s next for the Unknown Artists?
 
Emily
Play Club West will continue to meet every Tuesday night at the Complex for free readings of new and established works, as well as our monthly Sunday Musical Symposiums.  Anyone can sign up by sending us an email!  March is Women Playwrights Month, so you know it’s gonna be good!
 
JRC
Thanks for sitting down with us and we look forward to your future success, and especially to seeing 35MM on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm at The Dorie Theatre at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood for the next four weekends.
For more info about The Unknown Artists visit https://iamanunknownartist.wordpress.com
“35MM: A Musical Exhibition” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

35MM: A Musical Exhibition

The Unknown Artists present the Los Angeles PROFESSIONAL PREMIERE of:

35MM: A Musical Exhibition

Music and Lyrics by RYAN SCOTT OLIVER

Based on the Photographs of MATTHEW MURPHY

TICKETS at UA35MM.eventbrite.com

$20 Pre-Sale, $25 at the door

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FEBRUARY 26th-MARCH 19th, 2016

Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT – Only Eight Performances!

DORIE THEATRE AT THE COMPLEX

6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Representing a collision of artistic disciplines as disparate as musical theatre, photography, and pop/rock music, 35mm, according to press notes, “pushes the limits of self-expression to create an art form utterly its own. A collection of ‘snapshot stories’ are woven together as each of the evening’s original songs is performed – with gusto and musical virtuosity — while the audience is immersed in stunning projections of the photography that inspired it. 35mm brings the connection between pleasures visual and aural into razor-sharp focus, creating a singular, multi-sensory emotional journey.”

Direction for this eighteen selection song cycle is shared by directors drawn from the Unknown Artists stable.  Each director will work with one or more stories from 35mm, as each selection stands alone in the song cycle varying structurally, tonally, and emotionally.

STARRING:

Jeff Scot Carey*^ (Feb 26-27)
Cody Clark*
Emily Clark*
Nate Parker (Mar 4-19)
Vincent Perez*
Dana Shaw
Katherine Washington

*Company Member, The Unknown Artists
^Appearing courtesy of the Actor’s Equity Association

CREATIVE TEAM
MUSIC & LYRICS: Ryan Scott Oliver
PHOTOGRAPHS: Matthew Murphy
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Brigham Freeth
STAGE MANAGER & LIGHTING DESIGN: Martyn Tyler

*DIRECTORS: Lucas Alifano, Meghan Allison, Amy Bartlett, Jeff Scot Carey, Emily Clark, John Ross Clark, Allie Costa, Kate Purnell

*All of our directors are company members of The Unknown Artists. Each director will work with one or more pieces of 35mm, as each piece stands alone in the song cycle and varies structurally, tonally, and emotionally.

35MM
Music and Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver
Based on Photographs by Matthew Murphy
Vocal Arrangements and Orchestrations by Ryan Scott Oliver
Additional Percussion arrangements by Jeremy Yaddaw
Additional Guitar arrangements by Matt Hinkley

35mm is produced by special arrangement with THE GERSH AGENCY,
41 Madison Avenue, 33rd Floor, New York, NY 10010
 
35mm was originally produced by John Johnson and Very Intense Productions, Galapagos Art Space, 2012.
 
Original Cast Album now available on iTunes.

 

Donate to the 35MM Kickstarter!

The Unknown Artists are thrilled and excited to bring 35mm: A Musical Exhibition to the stage for the first time professionally in Los Angeles!

AND YOU CAN BE A PART OF IT BY DONATING TO THE
35MM KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN!!

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As a non-profit company, we often rely on tax-deductible donations to fund our productions, and this is our most ambitious project yet! Your donations will help us with the following elements of production: a killer five-piece band, theater rental fees, production rights, sound and lighting equipment, set pieces and build, costumes, publicity, programs, and importantly: concessions (we always provide a hearty amount of beer, wine, and candy for your lobby time!).

No donation is too small and no donation will go unappreciated. Not able to donate at this time? You can also help by spreading the word about this project on social media and letting anyone who may be interested in this sort of thing know about us.

Our production is scheduled to run in February & March of 2016 at The Complex in Hollywood. We hope to see you there!

To Donate: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1604241134/35mm-a-musical-exhibition

Auditions for 35mm – Oct 19th

The Unknown Artists are having AUDITIONS for our upcoming production of 35mm, music and lyrics by RYAN SCOTT OLIVER, based on photographs by MATTHEW MURPHY.

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Representing a collision of artistic disciplines as disparate as musical theatre, photography, and pop/rock music,” 35mm, according to press notes, “pushes the limits of self-expression to create an art form utterly its own. A collection of ‘snapshot stories’ are woven together as each of the evening’s original songs is performed – with gusto and musical virtuosity — while the audience is immersed in stunning projections of the photography that inspired it. 35mm brings the connection between pleasures visual and aural into razor-sharp focus, creating a singular, multi-sensory emotional journey.

AUDITIONS:
Monday, October 19th
6:30-10pm

Madilyn Clark Studios
10852 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

PERFORMANCES:
February 26 – March 19, 2016 (Friday & Saturday nights, possible 2 Sunday matinees w/talkback)
The Complex, Hollywood CA

BREAKDOWN:
Woman 1 (Soprano) – On Monday, Twisted Teeth
Woman 2 (Mezzo-Soprano) – The Ballad of Sara Berry, Hemming and Hawing
Man 1 (Tenor) – Cut You a Piece, Crazytown
Man 4 (Bass) – Good Lady, Make Me Happy

*Woman 3 (Alto), Man 2 (Bari-Tenor), Man 3 (Baritone) are already cast.

For more info as well as audio & video clips, go to http://ryanscottoliver.com/show/35mm/

Please email iamanunknownartist@gmail.com to schedule your audition appointment.
You will be given sides to prepare for the audition.

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE:
January 9 – February 25, 2016

Rehearsals Monday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings, Saturday early afternoon, Sunday late afternoons. All rehearsals will be in Pasadena, until tech week when we move to the Complex in Hollywood.

This show has a lot of difficult music, so ALL performers MUST be available for 3 rehearsals a week at the very least. This is non-negotiable.

The Girl is Still Here (Feb 20-Mar 7, 2015)

The Unknown Artists Present…
THE GIRL IS STILL HERE
An original song cycle by Gayle Leslie Bluemel and DeVorah Ross Johnsen

TICKETS
$15 pre-sale at http://thegirlisstillhere.eventbrite.com/
$20 at the door

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FEBRUARY 20th – MARCH 7th, 2015 (LIMITED ENGAGEMENT)

ONLY SEVEN PERFORMANCES
Fri 2/20 8pm, Sat 2/21 8pm 
Fri 2/27 8pm, Sat 2/28 8pm Sun 3/1 7pm
Fri 3/6 8pm, Sat 3/7 8pm

Dorie Theatre at the Complex
6476 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Meet Debe and Gayle, The Wild One and The Wise, on their road to self-discovery, drawn together in high school by their common interests in music and poetry. Through a complex song cycle, we see their lives unfold ….one the free-spirited word-smith and poet, the other the disciplined musician. Their close friendship as girls and their divergent experiences as women culminate in their glorious partnership as passionate and fearless songwriters. THE GIRL IS STILL HERE is an entertaining vision of womanhood, touched with comedy, tragedy, and emotional insight.

CREATIVE TEAM
MUSIC & LYRICSGayle Leslie Bluemel & DeVorah Ross Johnsen
DIRECTOR – Emily Clark*
MUSIC DIRECTOR – Gayle Leslie Bluemel
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR – Amy Bartlett*
STAGE MANAGER/SET DESIGN – Cody Clark*
MULTIMEDIA/LIGHTING DESIGN – Martyn Tyler
SOUND DESIGN – Dan Ames
CHOREOGRAPHY/COSTUMES – Meghan Allison*
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT – Kate Purnell*
COMPANY MANAGER – Tiffany Brain*
GRAPHIC DESIGN – Katrina Rennells*


CAST
GAYLE THE GIRL – Danielle Wallius
DEBE THE GIRL – Quinn Gearheart

GAYLE THE WOMANKatrina Rennells*
DEBE THE WOMANEmily Clark*

GAYLE THE SAGE – Gayle Leslie Bluemel
DEBE THE SAGE – DeVorah Ross Johnsen

MALE PLAYERLucas Alifano**
FEMALE PLAYER – Jenny Martin

*Company Member, The Unknown Artists
**Appearing courtesy of the Actor’s Equity Association

BAND
Michelle Beauchesne – CELLO
Gayle Leslie Bluemel – KEYBOARD
Brian Boyce – DRUMS
DeVorah Ross Johnsen – GUITAR

Find “The Girl is Still Here” event on FACEBOOK and follow The Unknown Artists on TWITTER!

Interested in what the music from THE GIRL IS STILL HERE sounds like?  Here are some clips of songs from the show, performed at our Gala Fundrasier in August 2014, as well as Debe and Gayle themselves performing with their band, Sister Moon.

4th Annual FESTIVUS Holiday Show (December 11th)

The Unknown Artists Present…
Play Club West’s 4th Annual FESTIVUS

It’s that time of year again… It’s time for the Unknown Artists to bring you an LA Snow Day, full of slightly off-kilter holiday cheer! Join us on December 11th for our fourth annual holiday cabaret, complete with a silent auction, refreshments, and some amazing performances to get you in the Festivus (for the rest of us) Spirit.

Tickets at http://uafestivusshow.eventbrite.com/

Festivus 2014 postcard
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11th
Refreshment Hour & Silent Auction 7:00pm
Show 8:00pm

Dorie Theatre at the Complex
6476 Santa Monica Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90038

Tickets $20
http://uafestivusshow.eventbrite.com/
Cash Only at the Door

Featuring performances by…
Lucas Alifano
Meghan Allison
Amy Bartlett
Anna Bowen
Tiffany Brain
Cody Clark
Emily Clark
John Ross Clark
Oscar Gubelman
Pat Lentz
Jenny Martin
Vincent Perez
Tripp Pettigrew
Kate Purnell
Travis James Riner
Sunshine Smith

With Gayle Bluemel on the Piano

Emily Clark is SLIGHTLY DRAMATIC 9/26

SLIGHTLY DRAMATIC is back!!!  The show that spawned a web series, and inspired an entire generation of young people returns on September 26th at The Complex in Hollywood. Catch Emily Clark in her semi-autobiographical cabaret and learn of her semi-triumphant rise to semi-stardom.  Featuring a book co-written by musical theatre phenom Ryan Scott Oliver (Jasper in Deadland, 35MM, Mrs. Sharp), with Brett Ryback (Off-Broadway’s Murder for Two) tickling the ivoriesEmily will bring you true-to-life tales about dead dogs, mean girls, bipolar boyfriends, and Bernadette Peters.  This show has something for everyone…if you’re a Broadway geek, or a gay man, or lived through the 90’s. Or all of the above.
Tickets $15 at http://slightlydramaticcabaret.eventbrite.com

Slightly Dramatic Postcard 2014

The Unknown Artists Present…
SLIGHTLY DRAMATIC
Starring Emily Clark

Written by Emily Clark and Ryan Scott Oliver
with Brett Ryback on the Piano
with Special Guests Anna Bowen, Jeff Scot Carey, and Jenny Martin

Friday, September 26th 
7:00pm Cocktail Hour
8:00pm Show

Dorie Theatre at the Complex
6476 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles 90038

Tickets $15 online, $20 at the door
http://slightlydramaticcabaret.eventbrite.com/

Slightly Dramatic Postcard Back

Photos by Darlington Swink Photography
Graphic Design by Sunshine Marie Smith