Welcoming Brian Yorkey Back To Village Theatre with The Foreigner
By Carly Vester
We, here at Village Theatre, are so excited to welcome The Foreigner Director Brian Yorkey back home. A former KIDSTAGE student, later our Associate Artistic Director from 2000-2007, director of various Mainstage shows from 2000 onward, and author and lyricist of several new musicals in the Festival of New Musicals, Brian is no stranger to Village Theatre. He also happens to be a long-time aficionado of The Foreigner, an enthusiasm that has resonated with him since the 80’s.
The show had over a year long run at Seattle’s Pioneer Square Theatre, which is where Brian had his first experience seeing it.
“I thought it was just a crazy, strange, hilarious, and remarkable play,” he said, explaining the lasting impression. “I wasn’t even sure how to classify it. The show created a very specific, strange, and funny world that was totally outlandish and completely real.”
From there, it stuck.
What excited Brian the most about the opportunity to direct this show at Village Theatre was the chance to create the specific world of The Foreigner and do justice to Larry Shue’s play.
“It’s a fantastic composition,” Brian emphasized. He admits that creating that specific world is somewhat daunting, but delving into the uniqueness of it, with its complimentary combination of humor and darkness, far outweighs any apprehension.
Looking back at his history with Village Theatre, Brian couldn’t choose just a single favorite show he lent his directing expertise to. At the top of his list, however, were Jesus Christ Superstar in our 2010-2011 Season and Evita in our 2006-2007 Season. In both, he was proud of the fantastic casts and creative teams behind the shows, and thoroughly enjoyed the process of bringing each to life on stage. In Evita he also expressed how much he loved co-directing alongside Village Theatre’s current Artistic Director, Steve Tomkins.
“The Who’s TOMMY gets an honorable mention,” he added with a laugh. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in theatre, but I love what all of us came up with.”
What’s up next for Brian? His new musical If/Then, written in collaboration with Tom Kitt (co-writer of Tony and Pulitzer Award winning Next To Normal alongside Brian) just ran in Washington DC and opens on Broadway in New York in March, starring Idina Menzel (Wicked). After that, he’s hoping to get back to Jesus In My Bedroom, a show he is the co-author/lyricist of with Village Theatre’s resident Music Director Tim Symons and The Foreigner Costume Designer Melanie Burgess. The show debuted at our 2013 Festival of New Musicals, and by the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“We just had a really great writing retreat and we’re hoping to take the next steps with it later in the Spring,” Brian said, noting how passionate they are about this particular show.
When you walk out of the theatre from seeing The Foreigner, it is our hope that you are still chuckling to yourself over this comedic farce.
“I hope it keeps the audience a little off-balance,” Brian adds. “That they can leave with some understanding of the ways we fail to understand each other sometimes.”
Published January 2014