Q&A with Kevin Mathie, Music Director: “[title of show]” #*^&!$ rocks!

How do you explain what “[title of show]” is?
I use a line from the show, and say that it’s “two guys writing a show about two guys writing a show.” That tends to pique their interest. 

What do you find most appealing about the show?
Well, of course, since I’m the musical director, it would be the music. I think the music is great. And, as a pianist, I find the score very enjoyable to play.

In “[title of show],” you are the music director, accompanist, and on-stage actor. Please describe what that is like to be part of the rehearsal and performance process and with a “pianist’s-eye-view” of “[title of show].”
It is a bit different to be on stage with the actors and also be a part of the action. Most of the time, I’m an invisible participant that the audience rarely thinks about. And, most of the time, rehearsing this show is pretty much the same as rehearsing any other show: I’m constantly listening to make sure the vocal harmonies are right, that the lyrics are understandable, that the tempos are right, etc. But, then there are those times when I have to break out of my concentration of all things music, and actually deliver lines and interact with the actors as a character instead of a musical director. To be honest, being a character that delivers lines falls pretty far outside of my comfort zone. Give me an amazingly difficult piece of music to play any day; but give me a line to say on stage and my insides start getting all knotted up.

Have you performed a similar function in a previous show you’re contributed to?
I have. It’s unusual, but from time to time I have had to deliver lines. In “Always, Patsy Cline,” which I’ve done nine times, there’s one scene where I had a couple of lines. In “Nunsense,” which I’ve done three or four times, there’s also a scene where the conductor delivers a couple lines, and there have been a few punchlines over the years in “Saturday’s Voyeur” that I’ve had to deliver. But in all of those shows, the dialog is very minimal and is used only to set up a joke, or to deliver a punch line, or to introduce a song. It’s like the writers needed those devices, but there was no one left on stage to perform those functions, so they said, “Well then, let’s have the conductor say it.” But, in “[title of show],” the character of Larry is a bit more filled in and has a lot more to say than in most shows that have the conductor speak.

What would be the title of the show that you would write about?
I suppose if I were to write something akin to “[title of show],” it would be about the antics of pit musicians. No one gets to see that world but the few people who live in the pit, and it has its own humor and antics that help pit musicians survive down there.

What aspect of the production process excites you the most?
It’s all about performing! While I do like the rehearsal process, and the friendships that are forged in rehearsals, in the end it’s all about performing for an audience. That’s what I always look forward to the most.

Why do you recommend your friends see “[title of show]”?
Again, to quote a line from the show, I would recommend they see it because “this show #*^&!$ rocks!”

KEVIN MATHIE (Music Director/Larry) Kevin is happy to be performing his first show with Utah Rep! He is the resident Musical Director at the Grand Theatre. He has also been the musical director/arranger for Salt Lake Acting Company’s “Saturday’s Voyeur” for the past five years. Salt Lake City Weekly named Kevin the Best Behind-the-Scenes Musical Theater MVP for the 2013 Arty Awards. His recent directing and conducting credits include the U.S. Premiere of Monty Python’s new show “Not the Messiah” and “Once on This Island,” “Into the Woods,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Xanadu,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” “Oliver!,” “Urinetown,” “Schoolhouse Rock Live!,” “Musicals of Musicals the Musical,” “Cabaret,” and “My Fair Lady” to name a few. As a composer for theatre, Kevin has produced complete original vocal scores for “Shear Luck” (book/lyrics by Brenda Cowley), “Rumpelstiltskin” (book/lyrics by Dana Keiter), “Jack and the Beanstalk) (book/lyrics by Dana Keiter), and Intermountain Heath Care’s “Live Well” (co-written with Eric Jensen and Robin Wilks-Dunn) that tours schools throughout Utah. He has also written incidental scores for Salt Lake Acting Company’s “Two-Headed” and “Voices in the Dark,” The Grand Theatre’s “Miss Evers’ Boys,” and “Our Town,” and Weber State University’s “Danse Macabre.” He also writes for film and TV, including arranging and musically directing a special comedy song for the Showtime special Larry Wilmore’s “Race, Religion, and Sex in Utah.” He was awarded Best Musical Score for the short film “Enthusiasm” at the 2014 Las Vegas 48-Hour Film Project, and Best Musical Score at the 2009 Salt Lake City 48-Hour Film Project for the short film “S.H.A.T.” Kevin is a member of the Dramatists Guild.