Creative partners Cordelia Zars and Max Middleton met at Bowdoin College, where they combined their artistic candles to ignite the flame under a shared passion--obsession?--for musical theater. In 2015 and 2016 Max and Cordelia co-directed Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. Max’s life-long training in theater and Cordelia’s life-long training in music made them an unstoppable team. From applying for grants to teaching complicated Sondheimian rhythms and melodies, constructing their own sets over school holidays to stringing their curtain up on a rope stolen from the Outing Club, they were in charge of every single aspect of production. Although Max and Cordelia also acted in both shows, their most fulfilling experiences as directors were not their own solos or scenes. They were crouching behind the curtain at the end of Act I and hearing their rhythmically-challenged Sweeney sing “Epiphany” with such conviction that the audience was too stunned to applaud for a second when the number finished. It was seeing Chris, a lacrosse player who had auditioned on a whim having never sung before, throw his arms in the air and bellow, “AGONYYY” with such gusto that the audience exploded in laughter. It was taking their bows, exiting the stage, and huddling together tearfully, not knowing whether to be happy or devastated that the lights had gone off, for the final time, over the magic they had made.
Someday, Max and Cordelia knew they would have their own theater company.
At Arête Theatrics, we know the power of musical theatre. We know the unforgettable community, the empowering embodiment of sound and character, and the enduring location one finds in one’s own body, voice, and boundless capacity to imagine. For us, this is how we change the world.