Whether we have a good or a bad relationship with our fathers, it is a relationship that has a large impact on our lives. It is that relationship that forms the basis for Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus’ latest choral theatre production When I Was Your Age, where real-life stories are told with music. In this latest Quick Chat, Kevin Robison discusses the show, the music and more.
Why do you call this show “Choral Theatre”? Did the group coin the term?
I actually believe that we did coin this term, though I think it was inevitable that others would think of it. When we first started using the term several years ago, I did a quick Google search and didn’t come up with anything. There is now a choral theatre company in Chicago — whether they got that from us, I can’t say. We are at the forefront of an emerging genre, for sure.
What three words would you use to describe the production?
Powerful. Entertaining. Universal.
What is the best part of working with your fellow chorus members?
For When I Was Your Age, writing the script with Christopher Repotski has been an amazing experience. We collaborate extremely well. With the technology we have now, we never had to sit down in the same room to write. We had an online document that we shared to build the show. We would each go in with new ideas and highlight them for the other to comment on the next time they were in the document. We’re also very lucky that we have unlimited texting. We were just saying at lunch today that we need to transfer our texts to a document as a memoir of how the show was written. So many ideas were exchanged through text messages. In general, however, the best part of working the AGMC is that it actually makes a difference in people’s lives. We are affected by our own work, and we have an impact on the lives of others through it. It’s very rewarding.
Why do you think audiences will enjoy the most?
When we began developing the show about a year ago, we based it on the premise that many gay men have had issues with their fathers, and I was a little concerned that all the fodder we would get from chorus members writing stories about their relationships with their fathers would be negative. I was happy to see that many men have had very positive experiences/relationships. The show is balanced with the good, the funny and the ugly.
How would you describe the music?
Any music that you don’t already know, you will feel like you do. There’s a wide range of music, from rock, to pop, country and Broadway.
Is there a song that stands out among the others?
Every song in the show has a distinct purpose. I think if only one in particular stood out to everyone who saw the show, we’d have a problem. For me, the song that I will take away the most from is “Not My Father’s Son” from the musical Kinky Boots. Just as we were about to secure permission to arrange the song for men’s voices, I got an offer from a publisher to write that very thing. There was a synergy there that I won’t forget.
What would you say to someone on the street who asks, “Why should I see it?”
You will see yourself on the stage, whether you’re male, female, or transgender — and regardless of how you identify. And, “For the same reason you like Steel Magnolias.”
When I Was Your Age runs March 27 through March 30, 2014 at Fabrefaction Theatre. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.voicesofnote.org/agmc/.