Producer Profile: Jack Maple & The View Upstairs
Jack started producing at the age of 20, becoming one of the West End’s youngest producers. Next month, he will produce the eagerly anticipated European premiere of Max Vernon’s The View UpStairs at the Soho Theatre starring Tyrone Huntley, Andy Mientus & John Partridge.
Previous productions include; The Rink (Southwark Playhouse – winner of five Off-West End awards); Sitting (Artis Tree, Hong Kong); RunderTisch (workshop; Tristan Bates Theatre); Loop (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); the European premiere of Stephen Schwartz & Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Working(Southwark Playhouse); the Olivier Award-winning revival of Show Boat (New London Theatre); The Diary Of A Teenage Girl(Southwark Playhouse) and as Associate Producer; The Boys In the Band (Park Theatre, National Tour & West End).
In 2018, Jack founded Take Two TheatricalsLtd and has produced a series of concerts including Olivier award-winner Laura Michelle Kelly, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel & Laura Benanti (all at Cadogan Hall) and Keala Settle (Hippodrome). Upcoming concerts include Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara and with Caissie Levy(Cadogan Hall).
A little bit about you first. When and how did you start producing?
I was very fortunate to have known for a long time that I wanted to be a producer, so I didn’t go to University and instead moved to London to start a series of internships. I started in Jamie Wilson’s office on Exeter Street in the heart of Covent Garden, which at the time, Jamie shared with veteran producers Paul Elliott, Duncan C. Weldon and Karl Sydow – I learnt more in those first few months than any university course. From there, I interned at Playful Productions, The Almeida Theatre, as well as Mark Goucher and Neil Laidlaw’s offices. But it wasn’t until 2016 that I actually started producing; the show was a transfer of Daniel Evans’ incredible revival of Show Boat, that I had been invited to co-produce at the New London (now Gillian Lynne Theatre). I’ve been producing independently ever since!
What was your first encounter with The View Upstairs?
I was first sent the show just as we were entering previews for The Rink, which I produced at Southwark Playhouse last year. It was the first time I had produced with my now-producing partner Brian Zeilinger (later that year we set up our new company, Take Two Theatricals), and at the end of our first preview he turned to me and said “What’s next?” - The View UpStairs was an unlikely choice; it’s a new musical by a unknown writer about an widely ignored chapter of LGBT history. However, what shocked me in particular was that it wasn’t until I’d finished reading it that I realised it was inspired by a tragic and true story; coupled with what I think is one of the finest musical theatre scores of recent years, I knew I had to bring this show to London, specifically the Soho Theatre.
It was great to get a sneak preview of the production at West End Live last weekend. What’s your favourite number in the show? What should we look out for?
The opening number “Some Kind Of Paradise” remains a real highlight – it draws you into this forgotten world and introduces you to it’s glorious madcap ensemble. We have been blessed with one of the finest companies ever assembled on the Off-West End stage and their combined vocals are quite literally going to raise the roof off the Soho Theatre. Tyrone Huntley, Declan Bennett, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Cedric Neal, John Partridge and making his UK debut, Andy Mientus all in one company?! It’s crazy. But they adored the subject material and in this the 46th anniversary of the tragedy (and 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Riots) it really seems to have struck a chord with them all.
How has connecting with Stage One, gaining a mentor and receiving a bursary award, helped with your development as a Producer?
Stage One has been and remains an invaluable source of guidance. I attended the New Producer’s workshop in 2015 and was awarded the bursary the following year. The bursary in particular, and it’s benefits of a mentor and an office space were incredibly useful in the early days of my career. Having the financial support to take a day or two a week for yourself and your projects, while not having to worry about the rent or the bills meant that I was able to focus on my projects and give them the attention they needed rather than squeezing it all into evenings or weekends. But it’s also the accompanying network of people you meet that really sets it aside. I’ve met so many friends and co-producers through Stage One and I’m forever grateful for it.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job as a producer?
I truly love watching a show come together; I consider a producer’s job to be bringing together a group of people to achieve something that no one person can do by themselves. I can’t design a set or teach a company how to sing a score, but I love bringing creative and like-minded people together to create something unique and special.
Tell me a bit more about Take Two Theatricals & where you see the company going?
Take Two was formed during our run of The Rink last year. Brian and I were both aware of each other in the industry but hadn’t met until that project brought us together. Given our backgrounds, Brian’s in the US and mine here in the UK, the aim was to create a production company with international reach – which sounds ridiculous, but within our first year, we’ll have produced 12 projects – including a play, a musical, several concerts and workshops as well as an international premiere in Hong Kong, with lots of plans for 2020 and beyond. Neither of us want to be pigeon-holed as producers who only revive old shows or only produce musicals, so there’s a heavy focus on new writing. We’re currently working with younger theatre companies including Bag Of Beard and Boxless Physical Theatre Company to create a varied and dynamic portfolio of shows.
Any advice for first time producers?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – that one took me a while to learn.
A provocative new musical, The View UpStairs is inspired by the true story of the 1973 arson attack that was the largest single attack against the LGBTQ+ community until the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Florida in 2016.
Filled with a collection of beautiful love songs and power rock ballads, this is a musical about friendship, community, how far we’ve come and how far we still have yet to go.
It is a story of hope; and it’s a rainbow rollercoaster you do not want to miss.
Tickets for The View UpStairs can be booked at www.theviewupstairs.co.uk and using the code STAGEONE25 at checkout will make all Band A seats for previews (18th - 22nd July) only £25!