To kick off our Fringe Spotlight artist series, I’d like to introduce Orlando Fringe veteran Thom Mesrobian Founder and Executive Producer of Acting Passionate Productions.
Did you make the 2017 Lottery? “We did not get selected for the 2017 Festival.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your current project? “Our current production is called “Julie D’Aubigny,” book and lyrics by Thom Mesrobian, Music by Ben Shepler and Thom Mesrobian. It’s a rock musical that tells the true story of Julie D’Aubigny, a woman in the 17th century who was a bisexual, sword fighting, opera singing superstar who once burned down a convent to rescue her girlfriend from nuns. It’s a story about a hero of a different age who dealt with the same issues of gender identity and sexual orientation that people struggle with today and shows how the struggle is easier if we don’t struggle alone. We will be workshopping the show throughout 2017 with public reading and showcases. Go to Acting Passionate Productions on Facebook for events and updates on the project.”
Please tell me about why you chose to apply for the Orlando Fringe festival. What about Orlando Fringe appeals to you as an artist? “Orlando Fringe gives artists a wonderful opportunity to create and present their own art in a low cost, low risk setting. The fact that it is lottery driven and unjuried means that everyone from experienced producers to first timers has equal footing. My favorite part of the Fringe is the wonderful creativity of artists from all over the world that is given free reign, as well as the awesome sense of community that arises as artists learn from, inspire and encourage each other to make art of all kinds.” (Those are some of my favorite things, too!)
Has Orlando Fringe enabled/enhanced your artistic career in any way? “Orlando Fringe has allowed me to move from being an actor doing other people’s material to a producer and writer of my own projects. The network of friends I have made has led me to new artistic and business opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. The friendships I have made have not only made me a better artist but a better person.”
How long and in what ways have you been involved with Orlando Fringe? “I’ve been a fan of Fringe since we stumbled across an early festival downtown on Church Street. We were new to town and were exploring the downtown when we came across a man balancing a shopping cart on his chin and we’ve been fans ever since. I didn’t get involved as an artist in Fringe until 2015 when I produced “FrankenChrist: The Musical” to great critical response. In 2016 we produced “Simpleton: The Legend of President Trump” where we were awarded Best Musical of the Fringe and were the best-selling show of the entire festival.”
What piece of advice would you give to a first-time Fringe artist and/or patron? “I would tell first time Fringers to ask questions. Go in with an open mind because the chances are you don’t know everything. Learn from those who have made mistakes before you. Use resources like this blog and the Orlando Fringe Artists Facebook page to pick the brains of other artists and producers. There is a formula for success and if you listen to Mike and the staff, follow and hit your deadlines, and work your ass off the festival sets you up for artistic and commercial success.”
Last question, tell us anything you’d like! Fringe is the artistic heart of Orlando. It’s more than just a festival, it is a year round style of life. It not only injects money into our city’s economy and introduces new people to our art, it brings us together and identifies us as a truly unique destination in central Florida. I’m so thankful that it’s part of my life.
Thanks, Thom! It’s too bad the Lottery gods didn’t show you favor this time, but we are excited to follow the advancement of your current project, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing you in May!
To follow Acting Passionate Productions, visit: facebook.com/actingpassionateproductions
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