Get commissioned to write a musical by a community theater, finish the feat in a matter of days, and wind up with a bona fide hit? It sounds like a plot for a comedy, but it’s exactly how Kevin T. Morales created the smash Let’s Go to the Movies for Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre Company. Now the Danville-raised wunderkind is the artistic director for the company, and is directing a revival of Let’s Go, his satire of thespian dreamers, which runs August 4–14 at Town Hall Theatre.
Q: What made Let’s Go to the Movies such a hit?
A: It celebrates community theater. It satirizes a lot of things. But at the same time, it captures what keeps community theater vibrant and alive, and how the act of putting on a show can bring people together. It was great that real life paralleled the story. The show they’re trying to put on is an amazing success, and in actuality, this show is an amazing success.
Q: Did your real-life experiences make it into the play?
A: Oh, yeah, especially in the auditions segment. I tried to present every horrible audition I’ve ever seen. I think that’s what the show is all about—the courage of putting yourself out there and risking embarrassment for entertainment.
Q: Is it easy to write plays?
A: For me it is. I’m fascinated by storytelling. I was really into comic books as a kid, and I drew a lot. Marvel Comics wanted to hire me when I was 16, but my mom wouldn’t let me go to New York.
The new show I’ve written, Love Lafayette, is another comic look at the people who live in this area. Not to make fun of them, but to take an everyday situation and blow it up to an absurd level. I love plays that take American life and heighten it, find what is strange and brilliant and scary—but somehow always comical.
Q: What’s in the future for the Town Hall Theatre?
A: We’ve started employing professional actors, though it’s a long way before it becomes a regional theater like Berkeley Rep. The community loves this theater and supports it. So why not try to make it less a hobby and more a really active, exciting, educational, intellectual part of the community—something that citizens can really take pride in? I grew up in Danville—I know this area very, very well. But I was baptized in the New York theater scene, at the New York Public Theater. I believe in the Joseph Papp philosophy: that a theater has an obligation to its community. If you fulfill that obligation, then the community feels obligated to the theater, and that’s when it can truly flourish.
Let’s Go to the Movies, August 4–14, $18–$25; Love Lafayette, August 25–September 24, $15–$23; 3535 School St., Lafayette,
(925) 283-1557, www.thtc.org .