The Musical Mind

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Dan Wootton holds more accomplishments than his musical fingers can count. He has conducted orchestras from Chicago to St. Petersburg and has composed works for the likes of Broadway star Sam Harris and opera diva Sarah Coburn.

His new musical, A Few Doors Down, will premiere Sept. 25 at Tulsa’s Studio K. The work takes the audience into the lives of four characters for an in-depth study of the struggles and triumphs that alter their lives.

What is the overarching theme of A Few Doors Down?

The main theme is that change takes time. Several of the characters we get to see over the process of 30 or 40 years. It’s my belief that life doesn’t wrap up perfectly like we see in 90-minute films. There are some things in life that take a couple decades to work out, and this is that story. One of the characters is Cedar, and we meet Cedar as a 14-year-old on the night she is rescued from a home that is cursed by domestic violence. So to see her the next week is interesting, but to see her in 30 years would be fascinating.

What inspired you to write A Few Doors Down?

There is a saying: “Write what you know.” With this project, I wanted to write about what I knew. We moved to Oklahoma eight years ago, and for me to write a musical set in France or about zombies and aliens would feel disconnected. The characters names are Sundland, Madison, Cedar and Fort. Those are the names of the homes I grew up in. It’s the idea that you can walk down a street and see these stories.

Where does your love of music come from?

I just think it’s so cool that something that exists today did not before. It’s like my own version of therapy: To make something up that didn’t exist five minutes ago. There’s something magical about it.

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