A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Wes recently joined director, Matthew Warchus during his work on Jack Thorne's new interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, which transferred to Broadway after critically acclaimed runs at London's The Old Vic. This well received Broadway production collaborated with Hearts of Gold, a non-profit whose work's focus is to help homeless mothers and their children transition out of the New York shelter system and into permanent homes.
SECOND STAGE THEATRE
Assistant to the Director
Wes has the priceless experience of working along side a director whose work has been a major influence on him for years. From RENT to Next to Normal to Dear Evan Hansen, Wes has forever admired Michael Greif's deep understanding of psychology and the human condition. In this brilliant new play by Bess Wohl, we meet the kids of the Conlee family during a pivotal moment in their childhood and go on to see the effect childhood can have on us all. This New York Times Critics' Pick is one of Wes's favorite projects to date. Click below to see what The Times had to say.
PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE
Assistant to the Director
Wes is thrilled to join the team for this Paper Mill Playhouse production. Wes is assisting Paper Mil's Artistic Director and director of Oliver! Mark S. Hoebee. This charming piece of musical theatre is based on the classic Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist. Click the video to the right to check out some of the stunning production footage, including original choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter.
CHILDREN OF EDEN
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
As an invited guest director at SIU, Wes directs and choreographs this Stephen Swartz guilty pleasure. Wes collaborates with set and projection designer, Tatiana Vintu to embraced the surreal and create the abstract playground of Eden. With costumes by Andie Nicks and lighting design by mark Varns, Children of Eden embraces theatrical storytelling, modern dance and shadow art to take the audience through a journey of creation, destruction, family, hope and fear. Click below to read more about Wes's experience on this uniquely beautiful production.
CHOICES: A NEW ROCK MUSICAL
WEST VILLAGE MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
With music by Landon Braverman and Book & Lyrics by Derek P. Hassler, CHOICES takes a look at the loss of innocence between two best friends during the Vietnam Draft of the 1970's. This heartfelt and honest musical utilIzes an innovative rock score to explores the boundaries of a close friendship and the choices we make. Click below to hear some of the music.
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
As a director with roots in Bowling Green, KY the strands of bluegrass, country, folk, gospel and rock that Jeanine Tesori used to orchestrate this story had Wes hooked. Doris Betts’s endlessly relatable characters and the honesty in Brian Crawley’s poetic writing pulled him in even further. It is a simple story with a complex emotional journey which Wes chose as his second year project in Penn State's MFA Directing program.
The production’s designers and actors continue to circle back to Violet’s sense of movement and lightness. We discovered that, like Violet Karl’s journey across the South in 1964, we are all continually moving. We are all fluid beings in a constant state of mental, spiritual, and emotional growth, carrying along with us past experiences that have shaped our own personal truths. Directing this piece is a joyous exploration of the process of getting to know yourself and allowing yourself the gift of acceptance and change.
Wes has the opportunity to work on this production with the show’s original director, Susan H. Schulman as his mentor. Susan has a connection and knowledge of the piece that one can only gain by time spent with the story. It is not every day that you benefit from the insights of someone who was instrumental in creating the piece you are working on. Wes's hope is to create a visceral and cathartic experience for those who choose to see the production and that everyone leaves the theatre with the desire to know ourselves better.
THE LITTLE THEATRE ON THE SQUARE
As an invited guest director at The Little Theatre on the Square, Wes is ecstatic to get the chance to work on this forever classic. This show is often taken for granted because of the sheer amount of productions any given person has seen. However, the story and the movement and the chance to work with children and animals are exciting to Wes. This is a story of a girl who did what our country couldn't. This is a story about capitalism, politics, childhood, trust, economics and opportunity. This is NOT a story about a rich man who saves a little girl. This is a story about a little girl who saves a grown man who did realize he needed to be saved.
MCLEOD SUMMER PLAYHOUSE
Authentic, Fresh and Full Of Life. These are the words that drive our creative process. Set design by Brad Carlson. Costumes by Deana Luetkenhaus. Lighting design by Mark Varns. These characters are real people. Their problems are real and cannot be underestimated. The style leans toward naturalism more than most musical theatre. Intense focus on the transitions, smooth and seamless, cinematic. Jud Fry is not cast or portrayed as a hideous monster that lives in a shed out back but instead a complex, troubled man. Jud is a hired hand. He is rougher than Curly. However, he is a human being. It is important that he be a true rival for Curly. Jud requires his own redeeming qualities. Something is off with Jud, something dark. However, the darkness is also slightly sexy in an unsettling way. Jud is the fine line between fear and attraction. He is often one of the most under appreciated and over looked characters in the script, just as he is in the story. His character was an exploration of mental health long before it was a common conversation. The right Jud Fry can change the entire dynamic of the show. If musical theatre tells the story of the outsider, the other, perhaps Jud Fry is the lead character of Oklahoma!. Empathy for Jud Fry transforms the play's final celebration into a a complicated cover up of a town who looked the other way.