In this edition of the Director’s Chair, we are talking with Josh Hedding-Hess who is directing his 3rd production with KVTA. Today we’re asking about how Josh first got started directing, some of the challenges he’s experienced putting shows together, and about his latest KVTA production, Almost, Maine.
Josh, please tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Kankakee with my husband Matt, we currently have a foster son RJ. I like to read & theater has been my hobby since I was 11.
What first drew you to directing?
I have been in many productions and I found myself thinking I’d do this differently or I’d listen to a soundtrack and dream up the set design and a vision for what that show could be.
As a director, what do you see as the biggest challenge to putting on any production?
Casting, for sure. Once you have a good cast & crew the pieces seem to fall in place.
What advice would you give to someone considering getting into directing?
You should have a clear vision of what you want, there will always be compromises, but if you keep focused on your vision it will get there.
What do you think makes for a great audition? or What qualities do you seek in the actors you work with?
Give it your all, or “flex” your most confident skill. Sing the highest note, give it your best cry. When reading do something different than everyone else. You will stand out. Actors who are willing to take direction and change accordingly.
If you had a dream ensemble and no financial constraints what show would you want to produce and why?
Wicked! But my runner up is Cinderella, I remember seeing the musical as a kid and being dazzled by the magic of theater and I hope to do the same someday for other children and adults.
Tell us a little about your current production of Almost, Maine.
Almost, Maine is a collection of good stories. They all have to do with love, and the many aspects of love. Everyone can relate to at least one scene in this show.
What made you want to direct Almost, Maine?
It’s a really well written show, plus I love the simplicity of it. I love that we can feature 19 great actors and they all have time to shine. This show will pull at your heartstrings and that’s why I’m lucky to share these stories with the audience.
Has this show presented any particular challenges?
Because each scene is a separate story you have to think about the overall arc of the whole show as well as the arc of each scene. You want a dynamic experience. So making sure each scene feels different and you’re portraying different notes as it were. So just keeping everything on track so you get the laughs and the tears and everything in between.
Do you have a favorite line, character, or moment?
I can’t pick a favorite!
Is there anything else you want the public to know about this production of Almost, Maine?
Everyone feels love, and everyone wants a connection. This is a play about everyone & the connection we search for. This is a play anyone can enjoy & relate to. So I encourage you to come & see these beautiful stories that these amazing actors are telling. You will hopefully leave with a little more hope for the world.
Thank you to Josh Hedding-Hess for taking time out of his busy production schedule to talk with us. If you want to see why Almost, Maine is often referred to as a romantic comedy for everyone, get your tickets now! Performances are in the Black Box Theatre at the KVTA Studios on Saturday, February 8 & 15 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday February 9 & 16 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.KVTA.org or by calling the box office at 815-935-8510.
This production of KVTA's Almost, Maine is sponsored by The Daily Journal, Riverside Healthcare, Taylor Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, and Taylor Ford of Manteno.