Arizona Repertory Theatre
The Last Night of Ballyhoo
A play about reconnecting through family and faith, a Jewish family in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia struggle to accept their identity, culture, and religion. Feeling assimilated in the city, they try to blend in, but brings no success, as their ancestry will always be a part of them.
The goal for both the sounds and music heard in this production were to help tell the story, like a narrator would. The scenic transitions in particular were vital in achieving this effect. Lengthy conversations took place about whether or not the music should stay honest to the sonic signature found in the 1930s, like slate vinyl crackle, low-fidelity recording, and the sound as if an entire big band was recorded simultaneously. Instead, we came to the conclusion that the music simply needs to exist for the purpose of providing a sonic resemblance to the period and location stylistically, while giving context, reflecting on the several moods of the show, and providing clean, high-fidelity recordings, not only to convey the ideas clearly, but also help this production exemplify a relation to the modern world and the societal issues found today.
All the music was composed and recorded specifically for this production. They are all original compositions that were recorded, mixed, and produced by me. A few classic songs, like "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller, are found in the show, but are displayed as original arrangements in order to maintain the sonic similarity throughout the show. As this was my Senior Capstone at the University of Arizona, it was crucial that I challenged myself to articulate ideas as I thought of them. Rather than pulling songs from the era, I instead took influence from great artists like Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and others, to make my own stamp on this show, while still giving the production justice to achieve its intention.
Directed by Hank Stratton
Assistant Designed by Katie Mayfield
Scenic Design by Joe Klug
Lighting Design by Megan Mahoney
Costume Design by Alexia Avey
Photos by Ed Flores