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As Jacksonville Opera Theatre (JOT) rehearses and gears up for their production of Peter Pan to open at Oxford Performing Arts Center, we interviewed Technical and Artistic Director Nathan Wight for a little behind the scenes details!
- Tell is a little about the history of JOT and how people can contribute to future performances.
Jot began in 2003 with two one act operas that we produced with a budget of a whopping $199.80. We have since progressed to being a nationally recognized and award winning company producing musicals and operas on a much grander scale every year. Our foremost mission is to change the face of arts education in northeast Alabama. We give performance opportunities to JSU students, local High School students, elementary students, and community members.
We cannot provide these opportunities without the support of people who also recognize the important roles that art plays in our everyday life. We are always looking for monetary and in-kind donations, but more importantly people who want to work alongside us.
I should mention that OPAC has been a great supporter of the arts in NE Alabama. Our partnerships with them have produced some really great productions like Phantom and Into the Woods.
- Past performances have included Into the Woods and Phantom of the Opera, why Peter Pan?
It is interesting that you should ask about why we chose Peter Pan. It was actually chosen at the second to the last performance of Phantom of the Opera. John Longshore and I sat in the Box office at OPAC, and asked...”What are we going to do next?” Les Miserable was not available, and this seemed like a good choice for another joint venture.
- What are some other favorite musicals of yours?
My most favorite musical is Carousel. We did a production of that a few years back, and people still talk about it. Many don’t like it because it is a tragedy, but I really enjoy the way it can move people.
- What's been your favorite part of building Peter Pan?
My most favorite part of building any show is that moment when it is all done. Of course, anyone who has been to one of our shows knows that I am fond of imagining things in a different way. One of my favorite comments ever was “It wasn’t until half way through the show that I realized we were on a ship, and there wasn’t anything on the stage other than a couple of doors and a chair on wheels!” This production of PP is no different. There is only one bed, just part of a boat, and a different kind of window. For crying out loud, we did Carousel without a Carousel!
- Do you have a favorite moment or scene? When & why?
I don’t have a favorite moment in this show. . . But I find myself frequently during rehearsals with this silly grin on my face. The story and the music is so incredibly delightful.
I suppose that one of my favorite moments will be Slightly‘s line, “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” I can’t wait to see the audience reaction to the surprise.
- Who should and why should folks come see the show?
If you are looking for a wonderful way to start your new year, this is it. Peter Pan is a timeless classic that has something to say to the child in all of us.
Peter Pan runs January 4-10 at Oxford Performing Arts Center! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit oxfordpac.org.