Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Interview With Producer/Writer
Also see John's review of The World Goes 'Round
Alan Jacobson was a theatre major in college and found his way into the business world after graduation. After several years as a salesman in the garment industry, he founded his own dress manufacturing firm, Stuart Alan Ltd., in New York in 1983. He opened two more companies within four years and, within that short time, the business grew to over $25 million.
Disenchanted by the "rat race," Alan decided to pursue his dream to fulfill his passion for the arts. He quickly became successful as an actor, appearing both Off-Broadway and in regional theatre productions around the country. Alan also had recurring roles on several soap operas, and appeared in bit parts in a number of movies. Just as his career was kicking into gear, he met his future wife, Melissa. He then shifted his focus from acting to producing. Alan utilized his business acumen and experience, as well as his flair for creativity, to become a successful theatrical producer who founded both non-profit and commercial theatrical production and entertainment companies.
Since 1993, Alan has produced more than 80 shows both locally and out of town. His shows have featured well known local actors as well as Broadway and Hollywood stars. Two of his shows, If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You starring Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna and Down the Garden Paths starring Eli Wallach, both moved To NYC.
In 2003 he turned the international hit comedy Beau Jest into a musical and produced the world premiere at the Hollywood Playhouse. Plans are underway to bring the show back in an updated version. Alan also continues to produce the popular Mane Stage Cabaret shows. Last year was marked by a successful run of his show You Made Us Love You, a tribute to the music of Al Jolson, Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor. This year he has two shows on board at the FAU theatre in Boca Raton: The Three Cantors' Tribute to Israel's 60th and That's Ballroom!.
Alan's latest show, Food Fight!, is a musical revue written in the style of Menopause the Musical set in a modern day health club. Its parody lyrics to popular songs take a look at the impact food has on the human body, and the pleasures and neuroses that are linked to it. It comedically covers issues like dieting, exercise, plastic surgery, cooking show gurus and much more.
John Lariviere: How would you describe Mane Stage Productions?
Alan Jacobson: Mane Stage Productions started in 1992. It is a commercial, for profit company that currently produces and manages theatrical entertainment, specializing in musical revues and cabaret shows. We also provide entertainers and can customize shows for corporate and private functions. Mane Stage Productions' latest endeavor is managing the world premiere musical revue Food Fight!. The company is virtually a one man show, with me as producer and writer of most of the productions. I do hire the talent, however. We produce shows all over the country in venues large and small, both open to the public and for private audiences. This year we will have around 60-70 performances in total. My goal is to find an appropriate venue to call our home, and from there both produce our shows and broaden the spectrum of what we produce. We would like to have the space be the tryout venue for shows to develop and take around the country - even possibly to Broadway.
JL: How is Food Fight! different from what you and Mane Stage usually do?
AJ: It's not, it's just that it's my first non-cabaret show in five years. The last was the musical Beau Jest.
JL: What made you want to write and produce this show?
AJ: I have followed the success of Menopause the Musical and tried to ascertain whether I could put together a show with the same basic premise, that of a light and breezy musical revue about a topic that resonates and strikes a chord with the audience, and uses the successful device of taking familiar songs and writing parody lyrics to tell the story. I felt that food and the issues associated with food, such as diet, exercise, plastic surgery, self-esteem, etc., were something that audiences deal with and for most people, grapple with, on a daily basis.
JL: What was your biggest challenge in doing Food Fight!?
AJ: The biggest challenge for me was to take the step to write it myself. It was, and continues to be, a far more daunting challenge than I realized.
JL: What is your goal for this show?
AJ: My goals are twofold. First, I view the initial production as our tryout, essentially for my creative team and me to look at the show and gauge audience response and see what parts of the show work and what parts may not work. We will then take that information and continue to develop the show for the next production. This is very much standard industry procedure. No show ever starts out with its first production as the "finished product." It doesn't matter who the writers are. They're constantly honing and tweaking until they either reach Broadway, or until they are satisfied. I hope to take this show to cities across the country and even around the world. Off-Broadway would be nice, but I don't view it as necessary. It is very topical; our advance ticket sales have indicated that people are intrigued and want to see the show, so I am confident that we can position the show to continue and hopefully enjoy success for years to come.
Food Fight! will be appearing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through October 28, 2007. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit, community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres. This theatre employees both local and non-local Equity and non-union cast and crew members. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd. (just off of A1A) in Jupiter, FL. Show times are Tuesday - Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.. For tickets to this show, and complete information on the theatre's offerings, you may contact them by phone at 561/ 575-3332 or 800/ 445-1666, and online at www.jupitertheatre.org.
Mane Stage Productions is a member of the Theatre League of South Florida hiring both local and non-local Equity and non-union performers. For more information on Mane Stage Productions you may reach them by phone at 561-242-5033 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.