The NOLA Project Show Archive

Side Man

Side Man
By Warren Leight
Directed By Mike Harkins
November 2008: Muriel’s Cabaret Theatre at Le Petit Theatre

Alex Martinez Wallace: Al
Andrew Larimer: Ziggy
Ashley Ricord: Terry
James Bartelle: Jonesy
Kate Kuen: Patsy
Michael Aaron Santos: Gene
Sam Dudley: Clifford

Jessica Cook: Set Design
Kyle Herbert: Sound Design
Jennifer L Billot: Stage Manager
Elizabeth Skinner Gore: Asst. Stage Manager
A&P Promotions: Publicity

In Side Man, a young man reflects on the lives of his parents & their friends as the New York jazz scene declined from the 1950s through the 80s. As big bands died out and jazz was relegated to small clubs and lounges, the musicians who lived and breathed it struggled to survive.

some personal history…
When I auditioned for Side Man, I had no intension of making New Orleans my perminant home.  I had just started rehearsals for Assasins, and had driven from LA just to do a great Sondheim musical and check out a new city.  But our director, Mike Harkins, I guess liked the way Michael Aaron Santos and I looked next to each other and gave me the part of Clifford (I'm sort of tall, but Michael was still a bit taller than me, making me a good candidate to play his son).  Now Clifford narrates most of the action onstage in the first act and then joins some of fun in the second act, but as himself at 10 years-old: A challange!  I was onstage the whole play, but didnt get to really interact with any of my castmates until an hour into the drama; and when I did, it was about a young boy being forced to take care of his neglectful parents.  Needless to say, during the rehearsal process I felt isolated from the rest of the cast and stressed about not receiving anything back from and absent acting partner-the audience.  But the play opened, and it was good.  People reacted well to the touching story: they laughed, they gasped, some cried.  It was during the run of this play that I knew the city of New Orleans had its grip on me, and wasn't about to let me go.—Sam Dudley

In the Autumn of 2004 when we first began speaking as a company about doing theatre in New Orleans, the only show I could think about wanting to put on was Warren Leight's beautiful memory play, Sideman. In a city that treasures musicians as an integral part of the culture, I thought a play about the lives of struggling jazz musicians during the decline of big bands would be much appreciated. When we finally produced the play in the Fall of 2008 (almost exactly 4 years since we had first discussed it- fearing, for some time, that we were too young to play any of the roles), we had the incredible fortune of collaborating with InSideOut Productions and got the opportunity to create, what remains, in my opinion, one my favorite shows I have ever done.—James Bartelle

2009 Big Easy, Stoorer Boone, Ambie, and Marquee Awards for Best Actress in a Play: Ashley Ricord
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