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From the West End to Waveny: Jeremy Bloom Directs 'A Year With Frog and Toad'

After being selected by Kevin Spacey to participate in London's 2011 T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange, Bloom takes over the latest Summer Theatre of New Canaan production.

When you grow up on the New Canaan/Stamford border living in a house on the grounds of , it’s hardly surprising that you’d go into a profession that trades heavily in imaginative storytelling.

That’s exactly what happened to Jeremy Bloom, the son of the summer camp’s owners, Barbara and Gary Bloom. Everything that has happened to the young stage director since has been just as unconventional. And now he’s back to direct the children’s theater production of  which is currently at the Summer of New Canaan in 

Though his earliest exposure to the stage centered on performing in classic fare like The Music Man and Oliver, when Bloom was given his first opportunity to direct at  he choose a piece that was guaranteed to stretch him creatively: a poetry play by cult literary figure Denis Johnson.

Bloom’s time at Northwestern University included studying with the stage auteurs Mary Zimmerman and Frank Galati. Since then, Bloom has worked in close association with several of the theater’s most innovative artists, like Zimmerman, Elizabeth Swados, 2011 Tony Award nominee Alex Timbers and the legendary Lee Breuer.

Bloom’s personal projects have included directing his own stage adaptations of literature La Boheme (Spoken), Peter-Wendy (Dark) and Leaves of Grass (Nude), as well as the work of new playwrights.

In New York, he has directed at The Flea, Walkerspace, The Cherry Lane, Incubator Arts Project, NYU Grad, 45 Bleecker, The New York Botanical Gardens, in festivals, site specifically, and at The Cell where he has been a resident artist since 2008.

Bloom is a Drama League Directing Fellow and he just returned from London where he was one of seven young directors chosen to participate in the 2011 T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange hosted by the Old Vic and Artistic Director Kevin Spacey.

Patch: Stamford High School is where you directed your very first play?

Bloom: Yes. They have this program called Senior Scenes where the members of the senior class get to do directing projects.

Patch: What did you learn from that experience?

Bloom: That being a director suits my eye better than being in a play. I liked being on the outside watching and making decisions about the storytelling.

Patch: Were there other things that happened when you were young that sent you down the path you’re pursuing professionally?

Bloom: It was great to grow up so close to New York City. I saw Metamorphoses on Broadway (2002) and that was a big turning point for me. It led me to choose Northwestern (where the play’s creator Mary Zimmerman continues to teach) as the school I wanted to go to for college. There I ultimately found my way into the Performance Studies department as a major. It’s not a directing class per se. We dealt with adaptations of literature. But, you’re constantly writing and creating performances.

Patch: You’ve worked with what looks like the A-List of cutting-edge directors. How has that shaped your personal artistic identity?

Bloom: A lot of what I do is to take a text that isn’t a play and put it onstage. That’s kind of what Frog & Toad is like. The book is an unlikely source for a musical. It’s sort of an open text that really drew me in. It has a lot of opportunity for beautiful interpretation of the season and the outdoors. Stretching my creativity to the limit by putting it onstage will be exciting.

Patch: And can you give future audiences a hint at what they'll see when they come to the show?

Bloom: I’m imagining the toys that you see in your backyard? Like kites, sandboxes, those plastic toy lizards that everyone had. What everyone loves about picture books like Frog & Toad is that the animals have human qualities. So, Frog and Toad will have an amphibious side, but they’ll be wearing tuxedos and crocs to bridge the gap between human and animal. That’s always been a key image in how I want to tell the story. It’s going to be wild!

For tickets and information visit www.stonc.org or telephone 203-966-4634.

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