Q&A With BRIDGES Director Chase Ramsey

Utah Rep Artistic Director Johnny Hebda, Chase Ramsey directs THE BRIDGE OF MADISON COUNTY. For Utah Rep Chase has previously directed “Ordinary Days,” “Love Letters” and “What the Bellhop Saw.”

What do you find most intriguing about THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY?

I have never done a musical that was crafted so much like a film. The flow of it feels like a movie, in the best way. With that comes an almost ultra realism within a very heightened form of art. The way we approach this show as directors has to be different than most. We can’t use conventions like we’re used to. There is definitely no cutting corners.

What message is there to the show that you want to uniquely highlight?

Our protagonist, Francesca, is one of the most redeeming, incredible characters in musical theater. And this show is an incredibly romantic escape between two wonderful people. Francesca choosing to stay with her family is the hardest choice she could ever make: To sacrifice your own happiness for the ones you love is an unbelievably selfless thing. It’s so hard to say [that her relationship with Robert] was right or wrong.

How can this production increase the company’s stature?

It will show the community that Utah Rep is among the elite, if they don’t already feel that way. But I guess I feel there is nothing to prove at this point. I think we are just lucky to do such a wonderful project and [to work with] a brilliant score. Our goal is to share some amazing new work with a starving audience. And I can’t wait.

Beyond that, everything is on the actors. I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate me saying that, but it’s true. The music, the pacing, and the acting… We have brilliant musicians and actors, and I think Johnny and I can help keep the train moving. This is a big piece and a special show in a new and beautiful black box theater.