A moment with Director Joanne Zipay about the curtain FINALLY going up

Q: This production of Into the Breeches! has been years in the making. It was originally slated to be produced in the summer of 2020, and we feel very fortunate to finally have the opportunity to share this story with our community. While the play is set in the 1940’s, elements of it remain wildly familiar and timely. What do you find to be the most exciting aspects of working on this show now, and what about it are you excited for audiences to experience?

A: I have a history with Stage West that goes back into the 1980s, when I worked as a young actress with Jerry and Jim on several shows, and so this theatre has always had a special place in my heart. When I was getting ready to move back to Texas (I'm originally from New York) I reached out to Dana Schultes, and she just happened to be looking for a director for a show that was right in my wheelhouse. After serving as Artistic Director for Judith Shakespeare Company NYC for 20 years - the company I founded to give women more opportunities to perform classical theatre - there could not be a more perfect fit for me than Into the Breeches!  And what a fun show! It was a match made in heaven!

I got to town August 1, 2019, and we cast the show that next week as part of the full season - even though the show would not go up until the following summer. Little did we know that, thanks to Covid, things would get so crazy. No one knew what to expect from one moment to the next - but Dana and her staff fought hard for the theatre these past two years, and fought hard for this show as well. By the time we start rehearsal it will have been THREE YEARS since we initially cast the roles! That's pretty unique! And, boy, are we looking forward to it finally getting onto the stage!

The show follows a group of women on the home front during WW2, who are trying to keep their local Shakespeare theatre alive while the men are "over there." Their spirit to "make it happen" in the face of daunting challenges speaks to us even more vitally now that we've been coping with this pandemic for a good long while - and especially to that unrelenting determination of theatre people to keep our art alive. The entire staff of Stage West has demonstrated this in particular. Life imitates art imitates life...! The drive to create this art - which gives us so much more than we can describe or quantify - is a part of all of us who work in the theatre, and at the heart of this play itself. It's a show that celebrates resilience, ingenuity, the love and magic that is theatre! The show must go on - somehow - and it will! We are SO excited!