Photo Credit: Jonathan Quash
By Rachel Dalloo
Jonathan Quash, the director of York Colleges Men’s Center, is working on putting together his first musical, Set Me Free. The musical centers on a young man’s destiny to find the true meaning of himself with the help of music and features musical pieces that acknowledges the heritage of African Americans.
Pandora’s Box sat down with Dr. Quash to discuss the background and future plans for his musical.
Pandora’s Box (PB): What made you want to start your own musical?
Jonathan Quash (JQ): “Basically, it was a product of years and years of working on musicals but also something that I’ve wanted to do, to challenge myself since I was young. I wanted to be able to do that because, I love musicals and I have serviced many plays both on and off campus. But I’ve never written one, so I’ve always wanted to do that.”
PB: What are the main influences behind your decision to come out with your own play?
JQ: “The influence behind the musical is essentially all of the great musicals that I grew up with as a kid, as well as the great musicals that I have had the pleasure of being the musical director of while at York College. Some of those shows include Little Shop of Horrors, Fame, Rent, Dreamgirls, Aida, Five Guys Named Moe, Mother Courage and Her Children, and Tambourines to Glory.”
PB: If you were to compare your musical to one that is already established, which one would it be? Why?
JQ: “I think my musical is unique in a lot of ways and I tried my best to not let existing productions influence what I have written. However, I do think that Rent, Purlie, and The Wiz could possibly be named as influencers, for different reasons.”
PB: How is the production of the play going?
JQ: “Production has not started as of yet as I am still in the publication phase of the musical. But, I have already spoken to a number of designers and actors regarding potential involvement and so far, the response has been excellent.”
PB: How does this musical help relate with social issues in our society today?
JQ: “There are issues of dealing with marginalized populations such as those with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community. There are also issues of dealing with self-love and healing, which I think is extremely important.”
PB: What impact are you hoping to have on the audience with this play?
JQ: “The message that I am trying to convey will be one of discovering and embracing love of self. Another message that I am hoping the audience walks away with is to support all aspects and members of the community, not just a select few. We are all part of one community, and we need each other to survive.”