thatgirl speaks with Rod Gailes OBC, creator of COLORS: Dream of The Masta

Rod Gailes OBC is the creator of the musical experience that is "COLORS: Dream of the Masta". "COLORS" is opening tomorrow night for a 3-week run at The Marlene Boll Theater in Detroit, MI.

“This compelling amalgam of music, dance, and the spoken word pierces like a laser into the consciousness of the spectator, making an indelible imprint impossible to ignore”.-University of Michigan Professor Emeritus George I. Shirley

thatgirl: "COLORS: Dream of the MASTA", unique title, tell me about about what you intend the name of the piece to imply.

Rod Gailes OBC: COLORS:Dream Of the Masta is ultimately about the human struggle to
return to the Dream of Creation: we are one human family. I read a children's book a couple of years ago called "Everything and Everywhere". It was the first children's book I ever saw
that explored and explained the notion of GOD or the Creator in a way that wasn't overly simplistic but not too far out there. It talked about the creation of the universe starting in the mind of God as a "Dream". That the creator "dreamt" us and everything that exists into being was a mind blowing but simple idea I wanted to explore further. In my estimation, LIFE and CHOICE are the greatest gifts we've been given, and probably in that order. The fact that we as a human race don't always make the best choices and have to live with the consequences as a group is very telling. As I dug deeper into that notion I started thinking about what we have chosen, what we have done, and wondering if those choices are in line with the Dream God had when we were created. We took the notion of choice and, at times in our history, re-invented OURSELVES as THE MASTER. I find that hilarious and ironic. And so the Master of creation had a dream for us and we as our own "new, self styled, self masters" have our own dream. Those dreams and the realization of them are very often in conflict.

thatgirl: Where did you receive your musical training?

Rod Gailes OBC: I started writing for musical theatre in college. I worked with an eclectic mix of gospel artists, classical composers, jazz cats, dance music people, and film score composers that really helped bring my musicianship to a functional place. I work principally with voice as an instrument of composition. In collaboration with everybody from church musicians to PH.D's in composition, I then craft things for performance and recording. It's a really organic and interesting process.

thatgirl: When did you start to feel like you could create a musical?

Rod Gailes OBC: In college I really got the bug to write. It was very "OUR GANG". A "hey let's put on a show" kinda thing. Somebody had to be the actors. Somebody had to choreograph. My skills we're in Writing and organizing so I became a writer/Director/Producer. I consider it a gift from God.

thatgirl: Who are your musical/theatrical influences?

Rod Gailes OBC: When I first started writing I was very influenced by provocative Pop music
artists like Prince. He's probably my biggest single influence. But I grew up listening to everything from Patsy Cline to Michael Jackson. Motown stuff and the very synthetic but melodic palette of 80's sounds. I was also very drawn to a bunch of things in the 70's: ELO, Elton John, and the great work John Farrar did with Olivia Newton John! Just amazing. I'm all over the map in terms of influences. But movie music was probably the biggest influence next to Prince.

thatgirl: Why did you decide to collaborate with Darnell Ishmel on this project? Knowing your other works an Operatic Baritone is not the obvious choice.

Rod Gailes OBC: Darnell is at the root of things a Gospel artist who BECAME and Operatic Baritone. He also has a very open mind when approaching some of the craziness I bring to him. We've worked together for many, many years. In the world of music there is no one second to him as a principal collaborator. Only my work in film with John Angier could even hope to rival the work I've done with Darnell and that's a totally different medium.

thatgirl: Why have you spent so much of the developmental phase working in the Michigan area?

Rod Gailes OBC: Michigan is an amazing hot bed of talented people. It's also a lot cheaper to develop this in the nurturing bosom of Detroit than in New York City. Y-Arts has been a wonderful partner in helping the show to grow and reach audiences. The idea that I could come home and help to build a creative community in the creation of new work was the other big impetus. Michigan is a great place to do creative work. I've been coming back to do that since I started making films. I would drive my whole cast and crew across the country just to work here. I love the energy and it's a part of my voice as a creator... DETROIT!

thatgirl: What do you hope to accomplish with this project? How does it fit in to the catalog of your work?

Rod Gailes OBC: We're going to Broadway and on a major National Tour. I'm also writing and Directing a play about the life of comedian, Richard Pryor for Broadway called UNSPEAKABLE. That's been in development a little longer. COLORS is supposed to follow it onto the boards. But the amount of development that needs to go into a musical is considerable. We needed to have this head start so we can hit the ground running when UNSPEAKABLE hits.

thatgirl: Who is your favorite character in COLORS? Is there a "lead" character?

Rod Gailes OBC:
Because of the themes in the show there is no "lead" per se. But the role of "Dubin" is the closest to a "lead" if there were one. It's the role I created to showcase the amazing talent of Darnell Ishmel as a vocalist, band leader, and creative spirit. He's amazing in it!

thatgirl: When creating stage works you tend to go with ensembledriven pieces, why?

Rod Gailes OBC: That's where my head is. I believe in community and people working together. That's what I write about and try to make happen in my life and in my work. Everyone has a purpose. Bringing people together through art is probably mine. Ensemble work isn't about ego. It's about working together and making something great happen. I live for that.

thatgirl: Why do you think the world needs a "COLORS:Dream of the Masta" now?

Rod Gailes OBC: It seems we are finally ready for the message of love and
cooperation for the greater good. People are in that mindset now for a variety of reasons and
need an artistic meeting point. Art has a way of doing that: creating community. Television did it years ago. Michael Jackson and MTV did it in the 80's. But there is no artistic expression that is uniting people right now. I see COLORS as that kind of vehicle.

The “Colors” special return engagement: 8:00PM Fridays and Saturdays, February 13th through 28th and Sundays, February 15th through March 1st at 4:00PM.

Tickets are $20.00 with Group rates available. Tickets are available online click here! or by phone at
800.838.3006. For reservations email or call Y-Arts at 313-223-2751.

The Marlene Boll Theater is located at 1401 Broadway - Detroit, MI between Grand River and John R. inside the Downtown Boll Family YMCA We are directly adjacent to the Detroit People Mover Broadway Station. Proceeds to benefit Y-ARTS and The C.H.A.N.G.E. Foundation


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