The Artist’s Journey – Cris O’Bryon
The Artist’s Journey provides an insider look at the creation of a production, through the eyes of one of the show’s key players.
Cris O’Bryon is a local actor/musician and plays “Song Writer/Manager” in the concert reading of Chasing the Song. We sat down with him to talk about his experience working on this new musical.
How long have you been performing in San Diego as a performer, musician and teacher?
For over 15 years in San Diego, and before for a number of years on the East Coast.
What has it been like working on Chasing the Song as a performer and as a professional music director?
It’s is always exciting to watch a new work take shape, to watch the daily rewrites that occur sometimes several times in a single hour, sometimes inspired by an ad lib from one of the people in the room, sometimes as a result of a happy accident in learning new material. It is also very interesting to see the confluence of diverse backgrounds and creative vocabulary unite to make new artistic work come alive.
What is different about working on a reading like this versus a full production?
Well, a full production often has 3-6 weeks of rehearsal, and 4-8 weeks of performance or more, depending on the project – this is only 3 weeks total for both rehearsals and previews. Also, there seem to be many more rewrites because there is more flexibility to see what works and what doesn’t, to develop characters differently, and to try new ideas within the songs, add new ones, reassign vocal parts, harmonies, etc.
How does it feel to be back at the Playhouse working with Christopher Ashley?
It is so much fun to watch him work on a new piece, adding his wonderful direction and concepts throughout each aspect of the show. He both knows what he wants and, at the same time, is unafraid to allow and encourage input from others to co-create these threads that make the fabric of the new play to come.