This year’s Summer Youth Conservatory show Violet takes us on a journey across the American South in the 1960s. As we travel from Appalachian North Carolina toward Oklahoma, the music that moves us along is as varied as the locations and characters we visit on the way. From bluegrass to gospel, folk to Memphis blues, it’s an experience that invites us to hop on the bus and join our heroine, Violet, for the ride. “I think audiences are really going to enjoy the musical diversity of this show,” says Matt Steffens, director for Violet. “You never get bored, going from a ballad that’s really tender to a rocking night club where you want to get up and dance.”
Music Director Mark Lewis shares Matt’s enthusiasm for the exciting mix of musical genres. “Although the composer [Jeanine Tesori] reflects blues, gospel, folk and other styles, she never writes cliche versions of those kinds of music, always adding surprising harmonies and switching the rhythm – time signatures change all over the place to create exciting beats.”
Mark and Matt work together to ensure that the sound throughout the show keeps the emotional journey moving forward and engages the audience. Matt adds, “This is my third summer working with Mark, and I wish I could bring him up to Broadway with me. He has such a great energy. And he always brings together a group of musicians that rock the house.” Together with a cast of talented young performers from fourteen high schools across the Triangle region, they bring the songs of Violet to life on our stage. “Ask anyone who has come to any of our SYC musicals these past summers, and they will tell you that you feel like you’re IN the music. That will be no different this summer. Violet is full of songs that bring the audience in. They’ll make you want to get up and dance with the cast.”
Every time I listen to On My Way, I find myself singing a different part, and songs like Bring Me To Light make me want to go out and change the world. -Matt Steffens
Mark agrees. “People talk about the ‘variety of styles’ in Violet, but to me the remarkable thing is the cohesion. There are are musical phrases that show up like sign posts on the road from On My Way, the big song at the beginning, to Raise Me Up, the megachurch number in Act 2. All the music is so connected – you couldn’t pull a song out and put it in a different show.”
Join us on this wonderful musical journey with PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory leading the way. Violet is onstage July 20-31.
Click here for tickets or call the Box Office at 919.962.7529.