Kate Pazakis is an actress, producer and artistic director for the Rockwell: The Table & Stage. It’s a quaint and cozy theatre house that feature musicals of bold talent and meaning. The entire concept itself is fantastic. Located in the heart of Los Feliz Village, Rockwell: Table & Stage offers Angelenos a truly unique experience by staging live, musical performances while serving unwavering cuisine (Chef Wayne) with seasonal alternating menus. Baroque chandeliers and a dark rustic vibe fashion a warm indoor eatery and performance space. So, who makes the Rockwell “rock”? Producer and Writer Kate Pazakis and her talented team, especially producing partner Bradley Bredeweg (who also directed “Edward Scissorhands”).
Specifically, Kate Pazakis is responsible for the concept development and artistic vision, with a strong influence on script and song selection. She hires and oversees a director, musical director, casting director, technical director, and stage manager to evolve each show from creative concept to final production. In many instances, high profile personalities perform as recurring lead roles or surprise guest stars, creating substantial buzz around each show, which makes it very appealing.
Kate and her team produce 25 plus original in-house shows per month as well as lead and motivate a production crew of 15. Pazakis has also created her unique niche within Rockwell: the UMPO, which stands for (Unauthorized Musical Parody Of) and represents productions that Kate feels will resonate strongly with the audience.
Recently, Gemma was extended an invitation to see “Edward Scissorhands,” the musical. It was incredible and makes you realize how exciting theatre is in Los Angeles. Furthermore, when, you have an excellent showrunner like Kate Pazakis, the productions at The Rockwell are going to be high quality, filled with authentic talent and deliver a great story. When Kate had a moment to speak with us, we were able to get insight about her creative process and what inspires her.
How were you introduced to the Theatre World? I know that you were a performer before becoming a producer/writer.
I started doing musicals in first grade. I was hooked from that moment.
Being Artistic Director requires many details and tasks. What motivates you (since you are also responsible for motivating cast and crew members)?
For me, it would be the reactions of the audience members, how excited they get when they see live theatre — especially in Los Angeles. It’s very inspiring.
What made you want to start UMPO (which stands for Unauthorized Musical Parody Of)? It seems like an incredible combination of creativity and sharp business skills.
Rockwell hired me as the artistic director of the space and part of my job was to bring in outside shows. I did not like the shows that were being brought in and decided to create them myself. Furthermore, I do feel that I’m in a great space for a venue that mixes creativity and business skills.
Can you please describe the audition process? Strong Vocals would have to be at the top of the list. Vocals are first. And then acting is just about as close. It must be a robust double threat.
You and who else are the core members of UMPO?
I have a group of about 30 actors that tend to do a lot of the shows. It is not a company per se, but people always want to return.
What do you love most about the theater world?
I love being able to play pretend as an adult with no holds barred. It’s life, the feedback is honest and immediate.
It’s interesting that you choose certain favorite cult films to parody
Is there a common thread that stands out?
I usually pick a property that is quotable or very current. Being a relevant production that will resonate with the audience and initiate a discussion.
“Edward Scissorhands is phenomenal.” The cast is so talented and the writing is superb! The production was directed by Bradley Bredeweg There were light and heavy moments. Do you feel that you are given a powerful platform to shed light on particular social issues? For Edward Scissorhands, police brutality stood out as well as the fear our country has of someone they perceive as different.
Thank you! I feel it is a great platform to discuss the terrifying politics in our world today.
Do you ever perform in any of the productions?
I played the T-Rex in J”Jurassic Park” and loved it. It was my return to the stage after many years. It’s interesting because, after such a long break from performing, you get to look at the process with fresh eyes. Who knows. Maybe I’ll do it again soon. LOL.
Lastly, you’re a mom and how do you balance that with all your responsibilities?
I’ve made sure that I’ve set strict boundaries with my time so that there is a healthy balance between family and work. I’m an organized person, but delegating is crucial.
We want to thank Kate for speaking with us. Edward Scissorhands has been extended until the 30th, and we highly recommend you see it. You might even shed a tear.