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INTERVIEW: Marcia Milgrom Dodge On Bay Street's "Backstage With MMD: Random Notes & Anecdotes From Productions"

T.J. Clemente

James Alexander, Q. Smith, Aurelia Williams, Monica Patton, and Jim Weaver in the 2008 production of Ain't Misbehavin', directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. (Courtesy Photo)

Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is presenting an eight-part online interview series entitled, Backstage with MMD: Random Notes & Anecdotes From Productions. The show will provide a personal and intimate forum in which award-winning director Marcia Milgrom Dodge and her guests share insightful and entertaining stories from some of their most beloved stage productions. The series takes place Mondays from 7 to 8 p.m. via Zoom as part of Bay Street's online programming platform Bay Street To-Go. Backstage with MMD: Random Notes & Anecdotes From Productions will air through August 31 and will feature guests such as Dame Julie Andrews, Tony Award-winner Randy Graff, Q. Smith and Emmy Award-winner Peter Scolari, along with other special and surprise guests.

Milgrom Dodge shared some thoughts about the new show, her life and her long career. When asked about the genesis of the new show, she said, "Once we went into lockdown, like all theater folks, I started to panic. Then I realized I could generate some entertainment perhaps through a trip down memory lane. So I started putting together this idea called 'Backstage at Bay Street' and ran it by Tracy Mitchell at Bay Street. I told her I would love to get involved to do something for Bay Street because I have a great love for that theater. Between 1999 and 2013 I did eight different productions at Bay Street. I thought it would be fun to do some mini-reunions with a couple of people from each of those shows."

"I am hoping that many from the Bay Street audiences who saw some of these productions will join us and maybe ask questions or let us know what they thought of the show," she relayed.

About her previous Bay Street work, she recalled, "Some of the shows were strangely timely for the time we were living in. Like we did Hair, closing four days before 9/11 and then the world changed. Now I am coming back to Bay Street in this strange new world and hoping to kindle that relationship and also remind people how important theater is. That there really is no substitute for it."

Milgrom Dodge explained the process of a girl born in Detroit, Michigan ending up doing regional theater all over the country, eventually landing on Broadway. She said, "I took dancing and music lesson starting at three-years-old." She went on to discuss the big break that launched her career. "For the first ten years, I was running around the country choreographing musicals for summer stock, in Missouri, in Naples, Florida. I would read Backstage Magazine, and if it said choreographer needed, I would call that theater and send my resume. I am very tenacious. I am the daughter of a V.P. of Sales, so I know how to sell a little."

My biggest break was perhaps getting the rights to Little Shop of Horrors for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Even though it was still running off-Broadway, I got to choreograph my own version in the mid-eighties. Once I hit the regionals as a choreographer, I was very busy because the mid-eighties was when regional theaters realized musicals were a very viable product for their theaters."

Registration is $20 per episode, or $100 for all eight.

For more information, visit www.baystreet.org.

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