For Way Off Broadway creative director Jordan Stocksdale, spending New Year’s Eve anywhere but on stage seems wrong.
“There’s no better way to ring in the New Year than to be up there doing what you love,” says Stocksdale, who also is the children’s theater manager at the Frederick dinner theater. “It’s just a way to kick off the New Year where we like being most.”
For the past four years, Stocksdale has joined other Way Off Broadway veterans to stage a New Year’s Eve musical revue. On top of giving the actors an excuse to get together, Stocksdale says it gives them an opportunity to show their gratitude to the Way Off Broadway audiences.
“Here at Way Off Broadway, we talk like we’re all family,” Stocksdale says. “It’s a nice way to spend New Year’s Eve with the people who have been loyal to us.”
In the past, the musical revue has centered around a theme and featured selections from both past and future shows.
“In the past we’ve done ‘Broadway through the ages’ and commercial radio [songs],” says actress Sarah Melinda.
“Every year we try to change it up a little bit and look back at the season we just did,” Stocksdale says. “And give [audiences] a look at what’s coming up next year.”
But this year, Way Off Broadway has decided to do things a little bit differently.
“We went with an all-out theme,” Stocksdale says. “Hollywood meets Broadway.”
The 2012/2013 musical revue will feature songs from plays that have crossed over to the movie genre or vice versa. Hollywood meets Broadway also is the theme for the theater’s 2013 season.
“This season’s going to be a blockbuster hit for us,“ Stocksdale says. “I can’t wait — all of these shows are fantastic.”
Way Off Broadway’s 2013 season is composed of four shows — “Steel Magnolias, “9 to 5: The Musical,” “Legally Blonde” and “Sunset Boulevard.” All four were films before they were adapted for the stage.
“We’re exploring the genre of Hollywood to Broadway,” Melinda says. “Broadway goes to the movies.”
In addition to selections from the upcoming season, Way Off Broadway also is taking on possibly the biggest play-to- movie project of the year — “Les Misérables.”
“We’ve got a huge ‘Les Mis’ chunk in this one since that’s the huge movie this year.”
While the New Year’s musical revue typically only features songs from shows slated for the upcoming main stage season, this year, the show will feature some songs from the children’s theater as well.
The 2013 children’s theater season also will feature well-known movie musicals, including “Aladdin” and “Cinderella.” Selections from those productions also will appear in the revue.
“The New Year’s show is definitely an all-age, family kind of show,” Stocksdale says.
Stocksdale adds that making the show accessible and enjoyable for audience members of all ages is something that’s important to him, since he fell in love with theater at a young age.
“When I was young my grandparents took me up to Toby’s Dinner Theatre,” says Stocksdale, regarding the longstanding Columbia, Md., establishment. “That’s what kind of hooked me on theater.”
While the revue runs like a normal dinner theater show — a buffet dinner is served beforehand and the actors also double as waiters — Melinda and Stocksdale say the New Year’s Eve show poses a unique challenge.
“The amount of timing that goes into this show is amazing,” Melinda says.
“It’s much different than regular dinner theater,” Stocksdale laughs. “We are on a time schedule or else you’re not getting champagne at midnight.”