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Director Joe Rosario talks about ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ Off-Broadway production

Director Joe Rosario chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his upcoming “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” Off-Broadway production.

Joe Rosario
Director Joe Rosario. Photo Courtesy of Miles Skalli.
Director Joe Rosario. Photo Courtesy of Miles Skalli.

Director Joe Rosario chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his upcoming “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” Off-Broadway production.

‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

“As a director and writer, one of the biggest thrills you have is bringing your own work to fruition, being film or theatre,” he said. “Then you get that call to direct a piece of history. A literary piece that is so iconic, in my opinion, the greatest play ever written, you’re basically frozen at the news.”

“To be honored is an understatement. To be challenged is the goal. You go in with all your tools and commitments and pay homage to the dialogue you were given and share it with a new audience. Plus this production will mark its Off-Broadway premiere,” he exclaimed.

When asked what drew him to this Tennesee Williams classic, Rosario responded, “Out of all his plays this by far is my favorite. I remember seeing the film with Newman and Taylor when I was a kid. I was glued to the TV. Later in life, I was able to see a few of the Broadway productions. They all hit me the same way even though they all had their own flavor to them. For me, I was always drawn to the character of Big Daddy. Damn. You just can’t ask for a better written, more complex, and tortured man. Overall the play is brilliant.”

“I want people to experience a new fresh approach to this wonderful classic,” he said. “See the energy and hard work we all brought to this production. It hasn’t been an easy ride. Every day we are given new challenges, they only made us stronger and more determined.”

“For me, it’s about the work,” he admitted. “The harder we work and challenge ourselves the audience will have no choice but to rise up and applaud. We don’t leave anything to chance. Give those who support you the best. I want the audience to follow us with every production we stage. Speaking of which go to our website and get your tickets.”

He opened up about working with the talented cast on this Off-Broadway production. “As a director, you are basically the ‘creative contractor’ on a project. It’s your job to bring in the best that’s available to you. You build a show from the bottom up. Make sure your team is all in sync. I’m a very hands-on director in all aspects of a production. From lights, sets costumes, look, feel, performance and the list goes on,” he said.

“I expect a lot from the actors. I have a wonderful history with Matt de Rogatis. I know what he is like as a performer and producer. His expectations are high, but he is entitled because he delivers. To build a production team and creative team based on those principles is the goal. I’m blessed to have that team,” he said.

Christian Jules LeBlanc is amazing with a strong work ethic and just a great person. Alison is brilliant, she will knock you out. Sonoya is a hard-working dedicated and talented young actress, beware of our Maggie the Cat. Tiffan is mesmerizing on stage, Austin, a tough act to follow we love him and our ‘Boy Wonder’ Spencer a young man who is making a name for himself, look out,” Rosario said.

Motivations

On his daily motivations as a director and filmmaker, he said, “Creativity is what drives me every day. I have to do something creative. In addition to putting together “Cat” which is a big lift, I also write every day, work on new ideas for scripts, and research. Keep the train moving or you get rusty. A writer writes. A director directs, a producer produces. A filmmaker films, you get the drill.”

The digital age

On being a filmmaker in the digital age, Rosario said, “At the end of the day technology has always been around. Silent to talkies, black and white to color, Vistavison, Dolby, cinemascope, green screen, CGI vinyl to 8track, cassette the list goes on. It’s not about the technology it’s about the work.”

“An amazing script will always be amazing no matter what format. Great music is the same. The writer will always rule. Technology is a means of delivery. The end game is the work. I love technology we must embrace it but never have it replace the work. Keeping up with technology we also have an amazing weekly podcast. Something we are proud of,” he said.

Success

On his definition of success, he said, “Success is getting up every day and being happy with your life. Enjoy your work. Cherish your real friends and have a purpose. If you truly want to be an actor then strive to be a working actor not someone on the red carpet. Let’s not forget who we are. Just everyday people. We are not perfect. Don’t get caught up in all the craziness the digital age throws at you. Your success is measured by other people looking in. Make it easy for them, be a good person.”

Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 17,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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