April 22, 2006

Director Des McAnuff on Jersey Boys and More

April 22nd, 2006

Although he is a hard man to track down, VoiceofSandiego.org’s Will Carless’ had a chance to talk with two-time Tony Award-winning director and writer Des McAnuff.

Des McAnuff has done it all. He’s directed big-time Hollywood movies, written and directed some of the most popular plays to ever come out of San Diego, and transformed the La Jolla Playhouse, where he’s been the artistic director for more than 15 years. Here’s what McAnuff said about Jersey Boys:

Q: Jersey Boys hit Broadway last year to excellent reviews. What is it like to shepherd a production from a West Coast theater to the world’s most prestigious theater district?

A: When it goes well, it’s a lot better than when it goes badly. It’s a fantastic feeling when it goes well and it’s obviously devastating when it doesn’t. I’ve had really remarkably good luck on most of the musicals on Broadway, I’ve had very good fortune.

To be truthful, I think as you get a little bit more mature, you try not to let the highs get too high and similarly you try not to crash and burn emotionally or spiritually if something doesn’t go well. I think you learn to realize that there’s another day and there’s going to be another show.

The point to me is really to keep the work going. What really inspires me and gets me up in the morning is, frankly, working with these actors in rehearsal. That and the process of working with writers and designers, that’s where I get my kicks. The nice thing when shows go well is that you know you’re going to get to do a lot of them.

Carless also asked McAnuff about his penchant for snazzy velvet jackets and other eye-catching fashions. McAnuff said that his favorite designer is Ted Baker, a British designer who has shops in Los Angeles and New York. Will we be seeing Jersey Boys wearing this designer? McAnuff said,

Also, if we’re lucky enough to get any Tony nominations this year, he’s going to dress me and the Jersey Boys. We’re going to wear Ted Baker tuxedos. So they’re already taking measurements.

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