Wednesday, August 8, 2018

a conversation with Mark and Lynzee 4Man, appearing in bROCKway 2 this Friday at A/C Theatre Company

Mark 4Man in bROCKway
photo by Josh Globke
by Gil Benbrook

Mark and Lynzee 4Man are one of the hardest working theatre couples in the Valley.

Lynzee has graced the stages of many theatres in town dozens of times, including Arizona Broadway Theatre and Phoenix Theatre, and she also choreographs and directs shows, while Mark is one of the most sought after music directors in town and he also directs and performs as well.

The couple also oversee the HyRev youth performance troupe at Arizona Broadway Theatre and this Friday night are both appearing in bROCKway 2, the one night only return event of last year's concert engagement at A/C Theatre Company that combines Broadway tunes with rock arrangements. The concert on Friday also features James Gish, Joey J. Grado, Sarah Pansing, Ava Diane Tyson, Jasmine Bassham, Cheesey Cheese, Anson Romney, Daryl Johnson, and Stevie Hagel.

Even though Mark and Lynzee work non-stop they took a few minutes to sit down and answer some questions about their work plans this season as well as the details on the bROCKway 2 concert this weekend

Mark, what was the impetus for bROCKway?

"Bruce Healey’s Fantasmic planted the seed with his arrangement of 'Pink Elephants on Parade' and his 'Love Medley.' That seed grew and as a young music director I started messing around with my own arrangements. And then one summer while working on some projects at Theater Works (Lakes Club location) it all kind of clicked. I was having so much fun rocking out with the pit band but then the show closed. I wanted to keep jamming out to those songs even after the run ended. So, now here we are 15 years later still putting our own spin on these classic songs. There are so many great music theatre songs that the world is missing out on simply because it’s in the 'Genre of Broadway'. Enter bROCKway, bringing Music Theatre to the Mainstream!"

Mark, how will this return engagement compare to last summer's production?

"First of all, last Summers Production was a three week run with over 20 special guests, which meant that each show had at least two new songs each night. This year it is a One Night Only engagement (due to scheduling and it being a benefit for A/C Theatre Company) In addition to that change, over this last year through various projects we have teamed up with Drake Dole for some killer Media integration which was something that I always wanted to have with our show. Those are the two biggest differences from last Summer. We have some new songs and arrangements  as well as a slightly different lineup than last time."

Lynzee 4Man in bROCKway
photo by Josh Globke
Lynzee, you'll be performing again in this year's concert. What songs will you be singing?

"Yes I will! I’ll be singing background on all the group songs as well as lead on several songs including: 'Up to the Roof,' 'Nobody’s Side' and NEW for this concert , 'Turn Back O Man'!!"

Mark, are there any Broadway tunes you wanted to include in the show but couldn't find a way to make them rock-worthy?

"There have always been songs that don’t make the cut for various reasons...sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard we try to bROCK out a song it just doesn’t connect...sometimes songs are just too 'Music Theatre' to translate properly to our setting. This year we were entertaining the idea of doing 'If Only-Quartet' from The Little Mermaid but it just didn’t quite work. I pull a lot of the songs we do from shows I’ve worked on or am currently working on. As a Music Director when living in a show, some of those melodies just stay with you, and sometimes it just makes sense to add a BackBeat here and there or make a chorus Half Time Rock instead of a cheesey 2 Beat all while adding a Guitar/Keytar solo heading into or out of the Bridge."

Lynzee, what can you tell us about the new performance troupes you guys are overseeing at Arizona Broadway Theatre? How did that come to be and what are your future plans for it?

"HyRev is the combination of two groups , HyperTonez and Sonic Revolution, that is comprised of the Valley's most talented teen performers. Ages ranging from 11-19, these young people are put through a fast paced, professional process that teaches them complex harmonies , intense choreography and how to work in the big leagues of musical theatre. We hope to make these kids into the best performers and business people they can be. We have had this program in the valley for eight years and Arizona Broadway Theatre has offered the program and the kids some AMAZING opportunities, the sky is the limit for these kids, and we wanna take them there."

Lnyzee, The two of you are probably the hardest working duo in the Phoenix theatre community. What else do you guys have coming up this season?

"Well, we are both currently working on Altar Boyz at Arizona Broadway Theatre, I’m doing the choreography and Mark is the music director and the conductor of the band, which is comprised mainly of the bROCKway band! After that Mark and I are directing / music directing
/ choreographing Young Frankenstein at Desert Stages Theatre. And then in October/November I’ll also be showing my quarter horse, Audrey competitively. I grew up showing horses before I was involved in theatre, so it will be nice to get back out into the pen. And then during the holiday season in addition to our HyRev Winter Show and hopefully a bROCKway Christmas Spectacular, Mark will be music director for a Christmas Show starring Chuck Wagner."

That's truly a lot of things, and I completely forgot about your quarter horse endeavors. Also, Chuck Wagner is amazing. I saw him thirty years ago in the original Broadway cast of Into the Woods

You guys have clearly worked on a lot of shows already but are there any that you've been dreaming about either performing in, directing, choreographing or music directing but haven't gotten the chance yet?

Mark: "Thats an interesting question...I have had the privilege through my career to work on some wonderful shows as an MD but would love to work on them again in a different Light. I love working with Lynzee on shows. I feel we have a great synergy when we Co-Direct/Music Direct/Choreograph a show together. I would love to continue that Team 4man collaboration on Heathers, Evil Dead, Rocky Horror Show, Rock of Ages, The Wiz, Bat Boy, Blood Brothers, Little Shop of Horrors, Seussical, Urinetown, Wicked

Lynzee: "That’s a tough one! I definitely second everything Mark says. We work really well together and have similar taste in shows."

Mark, I know you also provide your services for private special events

"If you have ever wanted a killer unique Broadway type show for your event give us a call, we are available for hire. We can theme shows to fit any event...Opening Night parties, Season Announcement Parties, Thespian Conference Opening Night Celebration, Galas of any sorts, Cast name it we can do it, just give us a call."

See Mark and Lynzee, and a cast of well known Valley performers, in A/C Theatre Company's bROCKway 2, at Phoenix Theatre this Friday night 


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