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UBCFA "Goes" with David Shire

Shawn Smith, Kara Tripoli and Company in IT GOES LIKE IT GOES. Conceived by Nathan R. Matthews and directed and choreographed by Terry Berliner.

Jim Bush

From Harold Arlen to Michael Bennett to Tom Fontana, Western New York has always been the launch pad for fine entertainers. One of the most lauded luminaries is David Shire, an Academy Award and two-time Grammy winner and multiple Tony and Emmy nominee, who has composed music for the theater (Baby, Big), movies, television (Shining Time Station), and beyond. He composed original music for Saturday Night Fever, All the President's Men, and Norma Rae (which included the Oscar winning song “It Goes Like It Goes”).

Mr. Shire’s career is being celebrated in a new musical compilation called It Goes Like It Goes which opens on Wednesday, November 16. Conceived by Nathan R. Matthews, UB Associate Professor of Music Theatre and Director of Music Theatre, the world premiere production features newly designed and executed sets, lights, and costumes, with direction and choreography by Terry Berliner.

We spoke to Nathan Matthews, who also provides music direction, just before the show opened.


Darwin McPherson: What was the inspiration that sparked your desire to create It Goes Like It Goes

Nathan Matthews: I have had the pleasure of meeting David and his principal collaborator, Richard Maltby, Jr., on a number of occasions in New York and in Buffalo. We first met in 2006 immediately after the tribute that the Nichols School did for him. I attended the production of A Time for Love at Studio Arena in 2007 with David and Richard. I had the pleasure and privilege of being in David’s home when he rehearsed the singers for his concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. When we produced Baby at UB in 2008, I arranged for David to be in residence and teach a master class to the cast on the show and their roles. Additionally, in 2010 my graduate school classmate, Kevin Stites, was music director for Take Flight at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ.

This repeated direct contact with David Shire provided me with personal experiences that revealed the truly wonderful man behind the music we have all heard. To use his words, in addition to being a composer and writer, David Shire lives a life as a “…husband, father, counter of blessings, appreciator of the miracle of everyday living, and human being as well.” The truth of this is evident in the sound and architecture of his music and in the themes he chooses to set to music. That inspires me.


Cristiana Cavallo, Richard Steele and Company in It Goes Liek it Goes. Conceived by Nathan R. Matthews and directed and choreographed by Terry Berliner.  Photo by Jim Bush.


The show is being called “a musical compilation.” Is there a narrative structure and how big is the cast?

The piece is a musical revue, [which includes] songs from his theater pieces and from his films. There is no narrative per se. There is a cast of eighteen with six being principals [all students from the UB Music Theatre and Dance programs]. The audience will hopefully experience an emotional, musical journey through these three men and three women.


How does it go with you working on the show with Terry Berliner?

Terry is a marvelous collaborator. She is ideal for this project, first because she is at once an incredibly intelligent, patient, and kind person.

In addition, her diverse professional work includes having worked as resident director of the Broadway company of The Lion King for four years. Maintaining a Julie Taymor production of this size is quite a feat. She also was associate director at La Jolla Playhouse for Franco Dragone’s production of Carmen, The Musical. Dragone is the creator of the world renowned Cirque du Soleil and Wynn shows including Le Reve, Saltimbanco, Mystère, and “O.”

This makes for a director with great visual image experience.


Zachary Rich, Stephanie Klajbor, Angela Siler and Kara Tripoli in It Goes Like it Goes. Conceived by Nathan R. Matthews and directed and choreographed by Terry Berliner.  Photo by Jim Bush.


Is there anything else you wish to note? 

I am incredibly grateful to David Shire for letting me take his music and make this show. It is a loving tribute to him. The show is at times beautiful, fun, surprising, hip, and full of heart!


It Goes Like It Goes runs Wednesday, November 16 through Sunday November 20 in the Drama Theatre, located at the UB Center for the Arts, North Campus. Evening performances will be at 7:30 PM. There will be matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM.

For more information: http://www.ubcfa.org/eid/753/It-Goes-Like-It-Goes.aspx#753e


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