A moment with Director Dana Schultes about choosing GRAND HORIZONS

Q: Grand Horizons was a Tony-nominee for Best Play, and is written by one of the country’s leading playwrights, Bess Wohl. It’s about family and change and secrets and growing up. At turns hilarious and heart-warming, this production stars DFW stalwarts David Coffee and Elly Lindsay in the lead roles. What drew you to program this show as the finale of the 44th season, and what excites you most about directing this regional premiere?

A: The play Grand Horizons was passed along to me by a former board member who had seen the New York production and thought it would be perfect for Stage West. After reading it, I agreed. It takes place in a retirement community called Grand Horizons. From what I’ve witnessed over the years, including just recently for some very close friends, transitioning from single family home to retirement community can be emotionally challenging. Change is hard, and in Grand Horizons, Bill and Nancy French’s move into said community takes an unexpected turn with the utterance of four little words. Suddenly, conflict and high-stakes are front and center. It all comes to a head with the arrival of their two adult sons and a very pregnant daughter-in-law.

As far as directing it, I knew I was a good candidate, because I enjoy slice-of-life plays that are fully of heart, hope, and meaty emotions. The playwright, Bess Wohl, did a great job of reflecting how we change as we age and what that means at age 40 vs age 80. (I’m in my mid-40s and my parents just entered their 80s so there’s a lot for me to relate to). Then, I assembled one of the nicest, most talented teams around. Getting to work closely with them to tell the story with truth and care rewards me with one part catharsis and one part humor - as only a great family drama can! It’s like candy to me. I love candy. Especially Boston Baked Beans and Chick-o-Stick.

But I digress…I hope all of you who come out to see Grand Horizons find yourselves laughing and tearing up with the French family, just like I do.