By Tom Alvarez
Savvy Indianapolis theater lovers know that if collaborators Zach Rosing and Zack Neiditch are putting on a show, that it is bound to be a smash.
This creative pair has presented some of the most creative work around; their successful track record includes hit shows “The Great Bike Race (2014),” “The Rocky Horror Show (2014),” “Holy Ficus (2015),” and most recently, “Bat Boy: The Musical,” at Indy’s Theatre on the Square.
Recently The Word reached out to independent producer Rosing – owner/operator of Zach Rosing Productions, which provides video, photography and multimedia production services to arts organizations – and director/actor Neiditch, about their working relationship and the popularity of their productions.
What are your upcoming projects together?
Zach R.: We’ll continue at Theatre on the Square in July with the Indianapolis premiere of “Heathers The Musical” [July 22-Aug. 13; info: tots.org] and are thrilled to bring back “The Rocky Horror Show” to the Athenaeum in October.
What makes your work together unique?
Zack N.: Working with Zach, I’ve never felt confined in any way. I’ve never felt limited by the size of our space, or by the tech limitations, or by the amount of money we have to use. I love that our work is big, no matter what we have to work with. That’s what I tend to strive for: a real sense of spectacle; working with Zach, I feel that I’m always able to achieve that.
Describe your working relationship.
Zack N.: It’s great. We’re both nitpicky and detail-oriented, and that really helps us to push each other in our own respective fields. I always say that we “fight well” as well: Since we’re able to have arguments, end them, and then move on with no problem. I think the fact that we’re good friends outside of working situations helps tremendously.
Zach R.: I feel we each have unique skill sets that complement rather than overlap. I’m someone who makes a point of sticking to the things I know I do well, and staying out of everything else. So this arrangement allows us to give our full energy to those parts of the project we’re best suited for.
Why do think audiences and critics have responded so favorably to your shows?
Zach R.: First of all, Zack is an excellent director. I think so much of that comes from the fact that he actually went to school for this, and is as eager for as much hands on experience he can gain. But beyond that, I think we always strive to exceed expectations in our shows. Even in a setting like the IndyFringe Theatre Festival, where you are constrained by factors out of your control, a strong script and clever elements like video or sound design can make for a really strong product.
Zack N.: Well for one, I’m just super pleased that people are responding so well. I don’t know if I can say exactly why I think people enjoy the work, I can only say that I’m happy they’re doing so. It’s what many people in the theatre have to do: put your all into your work, lay yourself on the line, and then hope that it’ll be well-accepted.
Does your gay identity inform your work?
Zach R.: I guess I would say that theatre has provided this awkward gay kid, who already didn’t quite fit in anywhere, an opportunity to thrive in a loving and accepting environment. And to have stumbled into theatre so late in the game makes me even more grateful for the opportunities I’ve been provided.
Zack N.: I love gay stories and subject matter, and anything that, even slightly, pushes against the boundaries of what is considered “normal” in society. Drag and gender-swapping are often present in my work, as I’m always looking for ways to play with peoples’ comfort-levels when it comes to gender.
What does gay pride mean to you? Does it relate to your artistry?
Zack N.: To me, gay pride is knowing your history. To me, it’s about knowing what came before me, and being proud of that struggle. I want to use that pride to live my life unencumbered, and hopefully people younger than me see that it’s okay to do the same. I only had a few examples of out artists when I was growing up, so I’d like to be that example for others now.
What is it about theatre that appeals to you?
Zach R.: I’ve always been excited about opportunities where I can use my unique skill set to create and improve. I wasn’t a theatre kid in high school, and was pretty unaware of the community until I happened to stumble into it in 2004. I have been provided numerous opportunities where I can share my talents in a manner that was previously lacking. Sometimes that means you get paid, sometimes that’s as a volunteer, but it’s all extremely rewarding for me.
Zack N.: What appeals to me about theatre is the familial nature of it. Even the smallest production is a big machine with lots of moving parts and everyone needs to do their job so that the next person can do theirs.
What would you say to those who are LGBT – or anyone, for that matter – why they should support local theatre?
Zack N.: Speaking to people in general: We need to support our arts communities. Arts need to flourish or else we’re just existing in a vacuum. What’s the point in existing if you’re not able to see yourself reflected back somewhere? New York is not the only place to see good theatre; it can be found all around our great city. You just have to go out and give it a try.
Zach R.: There is amazing work out there – something for every taste, at every price point – just waiting to be experienced, and so many in the Indianapolis community have no idea it exists. Others believe the only theatre worth seeing is large touring productions. Take a chance and go check out a local show.
Tom Alvarez reports on the performing arts for Examiner.com and is arts and entertainment editor and columnist for Unite Indianapolis Magazine. A longtime journalist, reviewer and Emmy-winning television and video producer/director, he is also a regular contributor on Indy Style on Channel 8, WISH-TV.