Three friends and Washington, DC theatre professionals - Beth Amann, Jimmy Mavrikes, and Michael Windsor - came together in 2015 to form the now award-winning Monumental Theatre Company. Since then, Monumental produced solid seasons of critically acclaimed work, then won the 2018 Helen Hayes Award named after John Aniello for the best Emerging Theater Company in the region.
This week, Producing the District interviewed Co-Artistic Director Michael Windsor about Monumental’s efforts in its current season, its multiple Helen Hayes Award nominations, and what to look forward to in the company’s future (See all the 2019 HHA Nominations).
Beginning with the happy news about their recent nominations - the first production nods since they were acknowledged by TheatreWashington in 2018 - “reinforces the work we’ve done and what we do. It makes us stronger as a company,” Windsor said.
Part of the company’s mission is appealing to the Millennial generation through productions that strive to promote inclusion in the DC theatre community, and their 2019 season is absolutely a reflection of this.
Dress Up Day by Jenna Murphy and Roc Lee, a workshop for young audiences, their fourth annual Flip Flop cabaret featuring performers presenting selections regardless of their gender orientation, and one of the last regional productions of Joe Tracz and Joe Iconis’ Be More Chill since it opened on Broadway this year - which will feature an all-female design team - all starts on March 7 with a reinvented version of the classic Daddy Long Legs by John Caird and Paul Gordon and directed by Windsor himself.
Windsor, too, is also a first-time Helen Hayes nominee this year for his direction of the musical Brooklyn from their last season. In his excitement, he plans to bring that artistic validation into his vision for the first show of the season.
According to Windsor, Daddy Long Legs is a partnership with the company’s place of residency that “presents an open door policy for students who live on campus to drop into rehearsals and see a production from start to finish,” Windsor said, (Monumental is in residency at Episcopal High School where students live on-campus in Northern Virginia).
When asked why he is directing a story from the early 1900’s - 1912 to be exact - and whether it will be relevant for today’s high school students, he explained that “at it’s core, it’s about young people discovering who they are and what impact they want on the world. And, of course, finding love along the way. I think it’s truly timeless and relatable across generations.”
Throughout its nascent years, Monumental easily grew to become a sweetheart company in DC with productions that made it an unforgettable favorite and force for good in the community. With all the recent accolades and acknowledgements where most companies would begin to overcompensate, Windsor said it still grounds the team and only fuels them to strive further.
“We’re still the same people. It’s great to be recognized and to have that reinforcement that what we are doing is important,” Windsor said. “We want to create art that matters across humanity.”
The future of Monumental Theatre Company is a bright one, especially with incredible endorsements from theatrical powers that be. The artistic team strives for the usual goals of any young company such as opening their own space one day, but according to Windsor continuing to “create a safe space for artistic development,” where he hopes audiences will continue to “be with us to create more influential and important work” is always the priority.
Photos provided by Monumental Theatre Company Brooklyn Production Photo Credit: RJ Pavel