We were fortunate enough to sit down and interview one of the creators of The Land of Forgotten Toys, Dylan MarcAurele! Dylan writes the music and lyrics for the production along with other creators Jennifer Enchin, Jaclyn Enchin, Mike Ross and Larry Little
Tell me a little bit about your theatre background!
The high school I went to didn’t have a lot of money, so they couldn’t always afford to license a ‘real’ musical. One year, a friend decided to write an original show and asked me to music direct it. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I had tons of fun, and a few years later when I got into Harvard I immediately dove into the theater scene and ended up composing the score for two shows for the historic Hasty Pudding Theatricals. After college, I spent a summer interning for the Broadway and Chicago productions of Hamilton, and have been working in theater ever since.
How did you get involved with The Land of Forgotten Toys?
I met producer Larry Little after contributing additional music to a show of his at NYMF, a theater festival that no longer exists. Afterwards, he told me he wanted to work with me on a holiday show. He had the characters and the concept. He just needed the writers! I was thrilled to have my first real professional composing credit.
Talk a little bit about your creative process. Generally, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of different lyricists and the process is always different. I used to prefer musicalizing a lyricist’s basically-finished lyrics, but in the past couple years—particularly through my time at the Dramatists Guild Fellowship—I’ve been pushing myself to do more music-first writing. It is amazing how different the results can be.
What’s it been like to work on this new musical with this creative team?
Jennifer Enchin and Jaclyn Enchin are some of the most imaginative people I have ever worked with. I tend to be okay with structure and outlining, but I would be lost without collaborators like them to dream up hilarious and wild ideas for scenes and songs. Their heart and creativity shines through this whole show. And I’m thankful to Larry for the workshops and readings we did in Chicago, Wisconsin, New York, and Florida, all of which were a total blast and helped us really sculpt the show.
What are some of your musical influences?
I am so bad at answering this question. I try to be a chameleon and write in multiple styles. The Land of Forgotten Toys is a mix of pop rock and broadway. Another musical I’m working on, Tea with G (words by Deborah Berenson), is a mix of British-music-hall songs and old jazz standards; another, Lewis Loves Clark (words by Mike Ross), is much more bluegrass and Americana. Honestly, when I’m not working on a show, I listen to Kesha.
What do you hope audiences will get from seeing The Land of Forgotten Toys?
I hope it gives them all the familiar holiday ‘feels’ that any holiday show should, while also giving them a completely original story that they’ve never seen before, with all new songs that I hope stay in their heads!
What do you love about the holidays?
Dessert and leftover dessert.
Fill in the blank: The Land of Forgotten Toys is…
The Land of Forgotten Toys runs December 2-18 with performances on Fridays at 7:30PM, Saturdays at 4:00PM and Sundays at 2:00PM. For tickets, click here.