Full Name: Matthew William Panek
Where you were born/where you were raised? Northwest side of Chicago.
Your role within the [title of show] family: Director
What does that mean/what do you do? Assembling a kick-butt production staff and, along with T.J. [musical director] and Danny [casting associate], building a killer cast equal in their butt-kicking abilities. The major challenge of directing [tos] is presenting its clarity. Hunter & Jeff's real-life experience of moving from the New York Musical Theatre Festival to Off-Broadway to Broadway is a joyous yet chaotic 93-minute whirlwind, so the flow of clarity betwixt those "4 chairs and a keyboard" is key. And on a greedy level, I get to work & play & create along side Anna, Neala, Yando, Matt, Stephanie, Chad Michael, T.J., Justin, Monty, Damian, Sara, Eric, Courtney, Danny, Charlie, Matt, & Michelle's creative minds several nights a week for around two months.
If 5 words, how do you describe [title of show]? This show fucking rocks. Yup.
Favorite obscure musical referenced in [title of show]? Merrily We Roll Along is one of my favorite scores. All those songs? So good! Very Warm For May is also referenced in "Monkeys and Playbills" and "All the Things You Are" is one of my favorite numbers. Gorgeous.
Favorite musical: It's a constant fight between Sunday in the Park With George and Pippin.
Favorite show tune: "Overture d'elle Donne" from Maury Yeston's Nine.
First musical you remember seeing: Oklahoma! at St. Eugene Catholic Church on the Northwest side. And the 2nd national touring production of Les Miserables. That one was my "it" moment.
Go-to audition number: If I do, it's "Sailing" from Bill Finn's A New Brain.
Your personal idols: Hal Prince, Dick Cavett, Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, James Lapine, Nancy Swantek, Faye Ryan, Nancy White, & my parents - all of which taught me how to do what I do.
Who would play you in the Broadway musical of your life? Christopher Sieber or [not to kiss ass] Hunter Bell.
Who would write the score? Michael John LaChiusa
Something you're REALLY bad at: Lately? Not crying. In general? Math.
Current local show you have been recommending to friends: It's unfortunately closed now, but Shining Lives at Northlight was beautiful. But who am I kidding? I've been plugging [title of show] like a crazy person.
Most played song on your iPod: I'm serving you Top 3 realness - "Did Spring Come to Texas?" from LaChiusa's Giant, "Nine People's Favorite Thing" from [title of show], and Beyonce's "Love On Top." Love me a good key change ... or seven.
Check out William's work in the Chicago storefront premiere of [title of show] by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell. July 17 – August 16, 2015 at Rivendell Theatre [5779 N Ridge Ave. Chicago, IL 60660]. Thu–Sat @ 7:30 P.M. & Sun @ 2 P.M. No performance Thursday, July 23. Additional performance on Monday, July 20 at 7:30 P.M. $25 General Admission and $15 Industry with headshot/resume or other proof of industry status.
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