Front Row Reviewers (FRR): Welcome Vanessa Olson! It’s exciting to have you here as we dive into the world of A Tale of Two Cities. Let’s start with something fun—how would you, in the most creative way possible, summarize the plot of your production?
Vanessa Olson: Thanks for having me! If I were to get creative, I’d say it’s a serious case of mistaken identity wrapped in the drama of the French Revolution. It’s like if your doppelganger had a penchant for getting into trouble in one of history’s most tumultuous periods!
FRR: That sounds absolutely thrilling! Now, if you could describe the process of putting this show together in just one word, what would it be and why?
Vanessa Olson: Passion, without a doubt. From the initial concept to the final bow, every step is driven by a deep love for storytelling, music, and the magic of theatre. It’s this passion that aligns perfectly with our mission at West Valley Arts—to create high-quality, accessible, and affordable theatrical productions for families across the Salt Lake Valley.
FRR: Speaking of your mission, can you tell us more about how West Valley Arts came into being and what drives your vision?
Vanessa Olson: Absolutely. West Valley Arts has been lighting up the West Valley Performing Arts Center since 2019. Our goal was to establish a space where the community could experience and participate in outstanding theatre. We wanted to blend quality with accessibility, ensuring that families throughout our area could enjoy the arts.
FRR: Running a theatre sounds like a roller coaster of challenges and joys. Can you share some of those experiences with us?
Vanessa Olson: Indeed, it’s a journey filled with highs and lows. The challenges often lie in the details—conceptualizing, designing, rehearsing, and building a world onstage. Yet, these are also where the joys emerge. Seeing a production come to life, witnessing how each detail contributes to the story, and ultimately sharing that with our audience is incredibly fulfilling. My favorite moment is when everything clicks together, and we convey something beautiful and meaningful to our patrons.
FRR: What message do you hope to convey to your patrons about the arts through your work at West Valley Arts?
Vanessa Olson: We want our patrons to see West Valley Arts as a beacon of incredible work and wonderful entertainment. It’s not just about putting on a show; it’s about creating a community where artists, designers, performers, and audiences can come together to celebrate the transformative power of the arts.
FRR: Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share about A Tale of Two Cities?
Vanessa Olson: This production is a labor of love from the very start. We’ve assembled one of the most stellar casts to bring this incredible story and unforgettable music to life. It’s a production you won’t want to miss—I promise it’s going to be a memorable experience for everyone who joins us.
FRR: Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing your insights and excitement with us. For those listening, “A Tale of Two Cities” will be showing at the West Valley Performing Arts Center from February 2nd to the 24th, 2024. Don’t forget to visit https://www.wvcarts.org/ for more information and tickets. Vanessa, it’s been Front Row Reviewers’ pleasure to interview you.
Vanessa Olson: The pleasure was all mine. Thank you for chatting with me, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the theater!