Evolution Theatre Company presents a world premiere of the musical Breach, opening this Friday. Breach was written by Michael Domitrovich, with music and lyrics by David Nehls, and is directed by Nick Sugar. Amanda Earls stars as Joanne Donetti, a singer-songwriter whose artistic ideals are shocked and tested when she is “discovered” by record executive Lou Valentino. Breach is a rock musical, and promises all of the honesty and grittiness that we’ve come to expect from rock music, in musical theatre form.
Mounting a world premiere is inherently a very different process from mounting a traditional, established piece of theatre. There is no original cast recording to listen to and then make a conscious effort to depart from, no one in the audience has a preconceived notion of how the characters should be, and it’s a brand new story for the audience to connect to. According to Earls, working on a world premiere can be, “crazy, challenging, freeing, and so SO rewarding.” Earls has been through the process before, when the play The Booty Guard premiered at The Avenue last spring. ” I think it’s different from a traditional process because you have to stay on your toes all of the time,” says Earls. Working on the world premiere of a musical, however, has some additional challenges, and some additional rewards. “With this show what has been really great is getting to watch David Nehls with the band find and create different ideas for songs right in front of my face. It’s inspiring for me as a singer to watch that, and I would hope that I as the vocalist am inspiring them as well.”
Earls became involved with the production through her previous working relationship with Nehls, who wrote the music and lyrics for the piece. ” I’ve done The Great American Trailer Park Musical twice now. So when David told me that Breach was most likely happening and wanted me to play Joanne, I just about fell over. I love working with David. Then once I heard the music and read the script I knew it fit.” Through the process, she has also enjoyed working with Jace Smykil (who plays Lou). “It’s not often that you get the chance to be in a show with just one other person. There is a wonderful feeling of trust that starts to form between two people onstage. I have loved that.”
Breach tells the story of a singer/songwriter who is thrust into the spotlight and learns about the trade-offs between being an artist and being a celebrity. When people pursuing their artistic goals become celebrities, Earls thinks that it can be, “both helpful and hindering. Just depends on the person. That’s what Breach is about.” According to Earls, this story is especially relevant to audiences now because there is a “certain following/intrigue towards watching the transformation of artists from nothing to pop princes and princesses…and wondering if they ever truly find themselves on their own, and if they’ll land on their feet in the end. People, no matter how they are first ‘discovered,’ can be amazing if they are willing the be honest with themselves and not apologize for who they are.” In the end, Earls says she hopes that the message she hopes the audience will take away from it is one of courage. “Courage to be exactly who you are, and not apologize for it.”
As for her own goals of celebrity, Earls says that she has never had the goal to be a “superstar”. “My goal is to do what makes me happy in life, and to continue to challenge myself with every new project. Now, if that were to bring me to a bigger level in my career, then so be it. I won’t fight it”
Earls will be performing Breach in repertory with the remounted Hedwig and the Angry Inch at The Avenue. “I’m no stranger to flipping shows in one day, or every other day,” says Earls. ” But this one is much, MUCH harder. For one thing, both Breach and Hedwig require strong rock singing. Also, in Breach, most of the songs are all me. So in this situation that hard part is maintaining health in your body and voice for both shows. Lots of quiet time when I’m off stage. Which, if you know me, is impossible!” And for Earls, maintaining health isn’t just vocal health. “Also, both of the shows require a lot of raw and honest emotion. It can be draining. With all that said though, I have never had a period in my life where I have felt so blessed and full filled as an artist as I do right now.”
Breach opens on Friday, May 6 and runs until May 27 at The Avenue. For tickets and more information, click the logo below.