Drawing Inspiration From Toulouse-Lautrec, Shawna M. Hamic Captured These Breathtakingly Parisian Portraits of Her Goodspeed Castmates
“While shooting these portraits I kept thinking about Lautrec. While he did use posed models -he most often observed life and tried to capture the energy he saw and felt with his sketches and then with his brush. There is a vibrancy to his work. I wanted the color and hue he is famous for portraying to come through the lens and strike your eye the way his artistry strikes the heart. He went out and was among the people he immortalized. He drank with them and laughed with them. He observed and recorded life in a way that never had been realized before. His masterpieces were created on used cardboard and wood and scraps, not just canvas."
"He saw the world in a different way and tried to recreate what he saw. I tried to do the same with a camera. Not just to show a pretty woman or a handsome man sitting and looking into the camera, but more I tried to freeze a moment in time. A second of life that could be preserved. And in that second-- all the color, the light and the shadow with it. Art at its core (be it painting or theater or photography) is all about the balance of light and dark, action and stillness, emotion and connection. All these things Lautrec recorded with the line of a pencil or the stroke of his brush."
"With the exception of a few photos the actors aren't looking into the camera. Some didn’t even know I was taking the photo as I shot it. That was on purpose. To observe and to glorify or heighten the everyday moments and to see them as something truly beautiful- Well— that is what I feel makes Lautrec unique. It's also what I hope in the end you see in these photos- the everyday world of creating a new musical made beautiful.” * One of three new musicals being produced this summer by Goodspeed Musicals at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, My Paris began performances July 23 and runs through Aug. 16. As previously reported by Playbill.com, it features a score by Charles Aznavour with English lyrics and musical adaptation by Jason Robert Brown, his first new project since Honeymoon in Vegas earlier this year. The libretto is by Alfred Uhry, who collaborated with Brown on Parade, and who has won the Tony, the Oscar and the Pulitzer Prize for his various projects, including Parade, Driving Miss Daisy and The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
My Paris is directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall.
Goodspeed describes the show thus: "A new musical about the life and times of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the artist who captured the gaiety, color and heartbreak of Montmartre, Le Can-Can, and the world of Le Moulin Rouge. Inhabited by the colorful people he painted, it’s the story of a great artist who loved a world that never quite loved him back. Music and lyrics are by legendary French performer Charles Aznavour. The book is by Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner, Alfred Uhry, with English lyrics by three time Tony winner, Jason Robert Brown. Tony winning director/choreographer, Kathleen Marshall, brings it all to whirling, spinning and sassy life. C’est magnifique!"
Toulouse-Lautrec is played by Steggert (Mothers and Sons, Big Fish). Davi (A Chorus Line, Irving Berlin's White Christmas) plays Suzanne Valadon. Also in the cast: Chad Jennings (as Aristide Bruant), Tari Kelly (as La Gouloue), Cameron Adams (as Jane Avril), Greg Hildreth, John Riddle, Paul Castree, Chad Jennings Jeffrey Pew, Jermaine R. Rembert, Kate Marilley, Shawna Hamic and Wendi Bergamini.
The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester. For more information call the Goodspeed Box Office at (860) 873-8668 or visit www.goodspeed.org.