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Narnia ~ From the Director's Chair

From the Director’s Chair: RoseAnn Labriola

Today we’re sitting down with RoseAnn Labriola, who is directing her 3rd production with KVTA. In this interview we will learn more about RoseAnn, her thoughts on theatre and directing, and about her latest KVTA production, Narnia: The Musical.

RoseAnn, please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a writer in my spare time and have 3 novels and a cookbook. I also work for an insurance software company full time. I have a love for all things geeky and love sharing my love for board games and fun nights in.

What first drew you to directing?

Whenever I used to watch a musical or play, I always used to imagine how I would do it, whether the same or different than the person who directed the one I was watching. After a few years with KVTA, I knew it was my turn to give it a try.

As a director, what do you see as the biggest challenge to putting on any production?

It really depends on whether it is an adult show or a youth show. I have done both now for 2 different theatre organizations. I would say that for the adult shows, it is harder since they are your peers and it is more difficult to command the presence as a director. For youth shows, the hardest part is casting and having to break so many hearts.

What advice would you give to someone considering getting into directing?

Do it. Whether you get the position or not, the experience of it is a great learning tool for the future.

What do you think makes for a great audition? Or, what qualities do you seek in the actors you work with?

I think that being prepared for your audition is extremely helpful. Also be confident when you are up there in front of the directing panel. The 3 qualities I look for most are confidence, character, and capability.

If you had a dream ensemble and no financial constraints what show would you want to produce and why?

The Lion King. It has always been my favorite Disney movie and as soon as I saw it in Chicago, I knew it would be my favorite musical, too. Sadly, there is only a junior version available that I know of.

Tell us a little about your current production of Narnia: The Musical.

Narnia (The Touring Version) is a 90 minute, shortened version of the original musical. There are about 15+ songs and over 51 cast members. We have everything from Aslan to Hellions, the White Witch, and more. You will laugh and cry all in the short time you will see it. The storyline stays pretty true to the second book in the series, but sadly not everything from the book could be in it.

What made you want to direct Narnia: The Musical?

C.S. Lewis. I have read the series multiple times, and as soon as the KVTA board chose it as a show, I knew that I needed to be a part of it in one way or another. I have always loved the stories that follow it, and (though some people don't lol) I loved the movies, too.

Has this show presented any particular challenges?

Without jinxing myself, I am going to say no, other than the music. It is a bit more difficult than a normal kids show, but they are doing amazing and sound absolutely wonderful. (Tears have been falling when we listen to them).

Do you have a favorite line, character, or moment from Narnia: The Musical?

My favorite moment in the show is when Edmund realizes what he did was wrong, and when Peter finds the strength that he did not know he had.

And finally… Is there anything else you want the public to know about this production of Narnia: The Musical?

All the excitement and adventure of the original full-length version are here, led by a delightful cast of characters: the majestic lion, the evil White Witch, the four English schoolchildren who journey through an old wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia, a scary wolf and a charming beaver couple. The children become caught up in an epic battle between good and evil, where they are the key players. Joining Aslan the great lion in a war against the White Witch, they learn valuable lessons in heroism as they fight off wolves and cruelies, eventually fulfilling an ancient prophecy. There is action, adventure, laughter and tears. If you are a lover of C.S. Lewis, you won't want to miss it.

Thank you to RoseAnn Labriola for taking time out of her busy production schedule to talk with us. If you and your family are interested in seeing Narnia, the musical presentation of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, performances are on Saturday, April 6 at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 PM at Lincoln Cultural Center. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door one hour before each performance.

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