Dan is the author, lyricist, and assistant director for The Art of Living. Here, we asked him a few questions about musicals, the show, and those awesome sketches of all the characters.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working on musicals?

A: I love the collaboration that is involved with this type of play. I love music, dance, and movement, and I love how all the different layers of talent and creativity come together in a musical. It is so exciting to watch and see the different stages of development unfold.

Q: What’s great about community theater?

A: Discovering how much local talent there is right in my own neighborhood is wonderful. I am often proud and amazed at the performances I see by friends and people I know. The level of commitment is very impressive too.

Q: How did you get your start in theater?

A: By chance my high school English teacher asked me to fill in for an actor who dropped out of a play. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and this inspired me to continue. Later I took theatre as a minor in college and I began writing.

Q: What’s your favorite show?

A: The Music Man. I directed this play and I have very fond memories of my experience. Every time I see the play I recall the great time I had directing and collaborating with others. Wicked and Hamilton are also favorites. I am very fond of Waitress and a huge fan of Sara Bareilles.

Q: How did you get involved with The Art of Living?

A: I wrote this play as a high school play. The story line came to me quite naturally. It took 12 years to write and I have enjoyed every minute spent on perfecting the story and the musical lyrics.

Q: How has being a teacher influenced your writing?

A: For the better part of my career I taught high school students. This has given me insight into their sensibilities. It has allowed me to come to know what they find interesting and entertaining. Much of what I have written has been done with my students in mind.

Q: What was your inspiration for The Art of Living?

A: The play is kind of a reflection on how I view life. I tend to have a positive outlook on life. I believe things will work out in the end. The play also contains many characters from the past that I grew up knowing and loving. There are many sayings, jokes and points of view in the play that are kind of a personal collection of my favorites.

Q: What’s the most challenging thing about writing a musical?

A: Because I don’t know how to write music, I initially had to make do using public domain music. I finally found the right partner in Vivienne Deane, who has brought my lyrics to life in an original way. I have had to have patience and perseverance in this regard. It’s been the biggest but sweetest challenge.

Q: Do you have a favorite song in the show?

A: I love the song Alive Again. It’s Ily’s song — she’s the lead female character in the play. It reminds me of my wife.

Q: We love your sketches of the characters! Which came first: those sketches, or the written descriptions of the characters in the script?

A: The written descriptions came first. The characters lived inside my mind until I decided to draw them so I could share my vision with the other directors, cast and crew of the play. The sketches have become endearing souvenirs.

Dan Gallagher has done some plays. This is one of them.


2017-04-06T15:22:38+00:00 April 13th, 2017|Q&A|