Bear Snores On : Q&A with composer / lyricist Blake Thomas

Get to know the CREATIVE TEAM of Bear Snores On with our Q&A as we Journey to the Cave.

We’re delighted to have composer / lyricist Blake Thomas join us for the first time. Hailing from the northern Minnesota, he brings that rich wilderness feel to BEAR SNORES ON! Join us as we get to know Mr. Thomas!

What is a composer / lyricist?

Let’s break it down…A composer is someone who writes songs. And a lyricist is someone who writes lyrics for a song.


Q&A with : Blake Thomas (Composer / Lyricist)

Q:Please tell us a little bit about your working process

A: Of course with this project it started with the book. While the story was new to me it also felt very familiar, and the whole tone of the book was warm and comforting and playful. So that was the starting point. With that in mind I began to play (in many meanings of that word). I have a house filled with instruments, some traditional (guitar, banjo, piano, etc) and some not so much (instruments made from found objects, computers/synthesizers, pots and pans). Most anything is an instrument, so it’s just finding the right feel for what you’re trying to create. While going through the book, different illustrations, coupled with different animals and different lines of rhyming poetry would lead me to one instrument or another. Sometimes a guitar, sometimes hitting a pot with a wooden spoon and singing over it, sometimes playing a trombone section through a keyboard going through a computer with all the wires and chips and processors that make that happen. From there you have a place to start. I have a small home studio that allows me to layer instruments on top of each other and listen back. Often times what you start with gets replaced. The banjo you started with might get replaced by a marimba. Or the whistle you started with might get replaced by a flute. Or the whole thing might get thrown out and you start over from scratch. But that’s the fun part. For me, capturing the feel of the book was the most important thing. Trying to create music that mirrored the way I felt about the book: new, but also familiar, as if I had heard it before somewhere… The story, the humor, the cleverness, the structure and the understanding of how it was supposed to turn out; that was all Jennifer Kirkeby. And that’s what made my job so special. I didn’t have to worry about covering any of that ground. I just got to try to capture the feel of the book: warm, comforting and playful.

 

Q:What in your childhood got you to where you are today?  

A: Oh gosh, whole lots of things… My family allowing me to explore the arts. The simple fact that my parents were open to the idea that the arts are important is, unfortunately, not the case for everyone. From there? A few great teachers. Plus Elvis Presley. Elvis was HUGE for me as a kid!!! Starting in 3rd grade I would ask my teachers if I could get up in front of the class and perform. I would go to the bathroom, slick a bunch of water through my hair and come back and sing Elvis songs. Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes. It was important to me and it made sense to me although I didn’t know why at the time… Having heroes is very important. Elvis was my first musical hero and it changed my life.

Q:What do you enjoy most about your job in this production?

A: Feeling the friendships between the animals.

Q:Favorite Color        

A: I don’t think I have just one anymore.

Q:Favorite Book You Remember from Growing Up   

A: The Phantom Tollbooth

Q:Favorite Winter Activity (either as a kid or now)           

A:   Now…Walking with my wife through the woods.  As a kid… Sledding.


Learn more about BLAKE THOMAS

 

BLAKE THOMAS – COMPOSER AND LYRICS

Blake Thomas is a Duluth-based musician, writer, actor and producer of the live radio podcast ‘Take It With You.’ The show, set in a watering hole on the shores of Lake Superior follows Blake and Colorful group of his multitalented pals, patrons and employees as they stumble through each new 60-minute adventure filled with original music, laughs, sound effects and conversation. The show has been dubbed a “wonderfully new and fresh take on the old radio variety shows of the past…charming and funny and silly and musically delicious” by Cherry and Spoon magazine. Blake is the songwriter and musician of the full length albums, “Stay Tuned” (2013); The Window and The Light (2011); Flatlands (2008); 40 Minutes (2006); and Real Like Theatre (2005). He also was the composer of the album, Our Town (2011), which accompanied the Yellow Tree Theatre production of Thornton Wilder’s classic American play. Blake also played the Stage Manager in the production. Blake’s music evokes the American country and folk tradition. Blake’s album, Flatlands was named Album of the Year by The Isthmus and Real Like Theatre was named Best Folk/Americana Album and Blake was named Best Folk/Americana Artist by the MAMA Awards in 2006. Bear Snores On is Blake’s first collaboration with Stages Theatre Company. You can learn more about Blake and his music at www.blakethomasmusic.com.


Come see BEAR SNORES ON

and hear the wonderful music of BLAKE THOMAS!

NOW thru FEBRUARY 15, 2016 • All Ages

Adapted from the book by Karma Wilson. Adapted for the stage by Jennifer Kirkeby. Music and Lyrics by Blake Thomas.

Bear-snoresWorld Premiere

Warm-up this winter as Bear and all his friends cozy up in our imaginative new musical! On a cold, stormy winter night, one by one, a whole host of animals venture into Bear’s cave to warm up. But even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on! Come see what happens when he finally wakes up and finds them having a party!

Buy Tickets Group Tickets Video

CAST: Teagan Bowar, Nick Cecchi, Nicholas Dekker, Sophie Farrell, Ki’Shaya Graham, Emma Kempf, Sara Magnuson, Greta Nackerud, Camille Norman and Brent Teclaw

CREATIVE TEAM & CREW

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – Sandy Boren-Barrett
DIRECTOR & PRODUCTION MANAGER – Melanie Salmon-Peterson
MUSIC DIRECTOR – Sarah Hohenstein Burk
CHOREOGRAPHER – Stephanie Harmon
COSTUME & MAKE-UP DESIGNER – Samantha Fromm Haddow
PROPS DESIGNER – Jim Hibbeler
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR – Gretchen Katt
LIGHTING DESIGNER – Barry Browning
SET DESIGNER – Tiffany Fier
STAGE MANAGER – Becca Buntjer

Based on the Book, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.  Adapted for the stage by Jennifer Kirkeby.  Music and Lyrics by Blake Thomas.  Copyright © 2002 by Karma Wilson