Rick Lombardo is an award-winning American stage director, Artistic Director and adaptor. He was the Artistic Director of San Jose Repertory Theatre, the flagship professional theatre of Silicon Valley, for six seasons, as well as serving as the Producing Artistic Director for 13 seasons at New Repertory Theatre in Boston. His work has been seen at every level of the American Theatre, including Broadway and major regional theatres. An award-winning stage director and adapter, in 2009 he was awarded the Norton Award for Sustained Excellence from the Boston Theatre Critics Association. His award-winning productions include Game On, The Snow Queen, As You like It, Sweeney Todd, The Clean House, Ragtime, Waiting For Godot, A Streetcar Named Desire several works by Harold Pinter. His world premiere production of Bill W and Dr. Bob enjoyed an extended run off Broadway. As a writer, his successful adaptations for the stage include A Christmas Carol, along with the musicals Scapin and The Snow Queen. www.ricklombardo.net
Kirsten Brandt is an award winning playwright, director and producer. She served for six seasons as Artistic Director of Sledgehammer Theatre where she directed over a dozen plays and wrote Berzerkergäng, The Frankenstein Project and NU. She was the Associate Artistic Director of San Jose Repertory Theatre, where she directed Dr. Faustus, Next Fall, The Big Meal, Legacy of Light and Groundswell, among others. As a director, Ms. Brandt work has been seen at San Jose Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, TheatreWorks, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, North Coast Repertory, and Arizona Theatre Company. She is the co-adapter of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which had its world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre. Her telematic, multi-site play The Thinning Veil was produced at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her other plays include The Mechanic’s Daughter, The Waves and an adaptation of Wuthering Heights. www.kirstenbrandt.com
Haddon Kime is an Atlanta based composer, songwriter, and sound designer. His original musical adaptations include Scapin, and A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway credits include The Atheist (with Chris Pine), Haymarket, and The Blowin of Baile Gall. Regional credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Managing Maxine for the Alliance Theatre, As You Like it, The Death of the Novel and Game On at San Jose Repertory Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Pillowman for New Repertory Theatre, and Richard III for Georgia Shakespeare. Haddon is the winner of the 2004 & 2007 IRNE awards for best original music/sound design, the 2009 TANNE Foundation Award for Artistic Excellence, the 2014 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Original Music, and most recently the 2015 Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab grant from the Alliance Theatre. You can learn more about and hear Haddon’s work at www.haddonkime.com.
“Conjuring “The Snow Queen”
In July 2013, adaptor/lyricists Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo, and composer/lyricist Haddon Kime, travelled to Pebble Beach, CA to begin writing what would become “The Snow Queen: A New Musical.”
“We wanted to create a show that would serve as an alternative to the usual two or three choices for family holiday shows,” says Lombardo. “Kirsten walked into my office one day where we both work at San Jose Repertory Theatre with an idea to adapt Hans Christian Andersen’s coming of age fairy tale ‘The Snow Queen’ into a stage play, and we quickly realized that the story would lend itself quite well to songs and music.”
“At first, we thought it would be a play with songs, but as we looked through the story, we found more and more potential for songs to tell the story,” says Brandt. “Almost every page brought a new possibility. Also, Rick and I each have one child – a daughter – so this story is particularly exciting and personal because the protagonist is the heroic and willful young girl, Gerda.”
Composer Haddon Kime of Atlanta (also a father of one daughter), who had worked previously with Lombardo on a rock musical adaptation of Moliere’s “Scapin,” was then invited onto the project, and the journey began.
“It’s a dream come true to work with such talented storytellers to tell such a great story,” says Kime. “When we made it to Pebble Beach, it was foggy, cold, and overcast — a perfect environment to inspire music about Gerda’s journey into the cold unknown.”
“For the next few weeks before I arrived in San Jose, we worked at a feverish pace to begin rehearsals at the beginning of November,” recalls Kime. “Even when we entered the first rehearsal, there were still a few incomplete songs.”
“Luckily, we had the support of an incredible and multi-talented cast,” says Brandt. “The excitement of collaboration in the rehearsal room was something I rarely get to experience. Broadway performers, Bay Area actors and SJSU students from the workshop production all brought their A-game. The show would not be what it is today without their talent, ability, and collaboration.”
The first preview performance of “The Snow Queen” on November 27th 2013 won an extended standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience, and on December 2nd 2013 “The Snow Queen” opened to critical acclaim at San Jose Rep.
In January 2014, a 55 minute T.Y.A. (Theater for Young Audiences) version of the show played to over 10,000 third and fourth grade students from Bay Area schools.
“We invited the entire original cast and band back to join us in New York, and were thrilled that most of the members of this incredible creative family could make it” says Lombardo.
“When we all returned together, with some new members added to our family, we worked really hard to revise the show based on everything we had learned during the San Jose run” Kime said. “The experience was cathartic, partly due to the fact that weeks earlier, after 34 years, San Jose Rep had declared bankruptcy.”
“While we are all heartbroken for the demise of the Rep, we are also so very thankful for the chance the Rep gave us to create this show and are determined to continue the work started there and carry the show forward.” adds Brandt.
“The Snow Queen” opened to an off-Broadway audience on July 14th 2014 and quickly won a rave review from The New York Times as well as an awards for Outstanding Design and musical direction.
“The Snow Queen” continues to be a dream come true” says Lombardo. “We can’t wait to see what happens next.”