The Overcoat: A Musical at Belvoir's 25A

Belvoir's newest initiative, the 25A program, supports low cost, independent theatre making for emerging talents and next to take the Downstairs Belvoir stage is The Overcoat: A Musical. Created by siblings Rosemarie, Constantine, and Michael Costi, this new musical is the tale of an office worker’s tragic quest for warmth and connection in frantic city streets that pulse to the rhythm of a Russian jazz trio. This week, Rosie spoke with co-creator and director, Constantine Costi - have a read below:

The Overcoat: A Musical is based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, and brought to life by you and your siblings, Michael and Rosemarie. What inspired you to bring this story to the stage?

Gogol’s short stories are intensely theatrical. His characters are over-the-top and the stakes are absurdly high. However, Gogol always has one foot (or at least a pinky toe) grounded in reality. He doesn’t present alternate universes – but rather, heightened ways of seeing the world before him. The Overcoat is Gogol’s masterpiece. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and heartbreaking. The perfect material for a musical.

You, Michael and Rosemarie make a pretty unstoppable force as Director, Writer and Composer. Is this the first time the three of you have worked together as a team? What’s the dynamic like working with family on a creative project?

Yes! This is the first time we’ve all worked together. The good thing about working with your siblings is that a shorthand already exists between us, which is often hard to develop with collaborators. Also a brutal luxury of working with your siblings is unflinchingly honest feedback.

The Belvoir 25A program is an exciting new program that supports emerging artists and encourages low-cost theatre making. Why do you think that The Overcoat: A Musical is a good fit for this program?

The Overcoat was developed with the distinct purpose of creating a small scale and low cost musical. We believe that a large scale is not essential for a musical to work. All that matters is that a well-told story is emboldened with evocative and compelling music – and that the audience are moved in some way.

What can audiences expect from this show?

A double bass. A piano. A sax. A brutal St. Petersburg winter. Typewriter solos. 4 incredible performers. 31 scenes. 18 characters. An unusual love story between a man and a coat.

How has this show helped you develop as a creative?

Every show has its unique challenges that help you grow as a director. Being involved with the composition of the music has meant that every note has meaning. I’ve really had to develop my ear for musical detail.   

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS

Favourite production you have ever seen?

Life and Times Vol. 1 – 4. by Nature Theater of Oklahoma

You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?

Russia

Dream show to direct?

Street Scene by Kurt Weill.

Plays or musicals?

Musicals

What’s next for you after this show?

We go into development of a new musical, and the next show I’m directing is a revival of Massenet’s Werther for Opera Australia.

The Overcoat takes to the stage from November 14th-December 1st at the Downstairs Belvoir Theatre. Tickets are available now.

Constantine Costi

Siblings Michael, Rosemarie and Constantine Costi

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