We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Tafolla and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I grew up up on a healthy diet of Disney, Spielberg, George Lucas and The Muppets. I was that kid watching TV Land and The Dick Van Dyke Show at 11 Years Old. I loved comedy and stories that could take you to another world. I gravitated towards stories of people wanting to become something more or be a part of something bigger than themselves. I think one of the most influential experiences though growing up was watching Mary Martin fly through the window for the first time in Peter Pan. I was in LOVE with that VHS tape and I think we might’ve rented it out every week from the library when I was 6. My parents took me to a live stage production of Peter Pan when I was 8 and that’s when I knew I wanted to be on stage. Musicals have the power to instill hope in us and redefine good and evil for us. They can whisk us away to new and exciting worlds. They can teach us something new or remind us of something we may have forgotten. They’re escapism and a place to help us heal. And right now, with the world being how it is, I think we could all use some healing. I think we all need Mary Martin to come fly through our window and whisk us away on an adventure. I think the world needs to learn how to believe in magic again, and if I can do that for people with my work, then I will die a happy man.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a writer and creator of two musicals, “Scott Robbins and the Traveling Show” and “Seasons: A New Musical Song-Cycle.” One was a college workshop that has gone on to have productions on both coasts, the other is a song-cycle that had a concept album recorded and released during the Summer of 2020. Both were equally giant-sized endeavors to take on. But I think that’s what I’ve been most proud of over the years. My endurance. My drive. My ability to pivot when obstacles get in the way. My 360 perspective. And my determination. This is a HARD field to work in. There is no 9 to 5 work hour. There’s no set pay. There’s no guarantee that people will even see what you’ve created, let alone like it. But despite that, I’ve continued to push through and create. Because it fuels my soul. It’s a spiritual experience for me. I’ve seen the overflowing positive impact musicals have on people. And if I can provide that experience for someone, then I’m doing my job.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
House of Pies, UCB and anywhere where there is live music happening. There’s bars, small black box theatres and coffee shops what have live music coming out of it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My success is to the point it is today solely because of the support that has surrounded me and have lifted me up over the past ten years. It’s because of my parents, Tanya and Noah Tafolla, who encouraged me to chase after my dreams and gave me the support to go to college and pursue my passions. It’s because of teachers like Linda Wolfe who taught me about Improv in high school and how to really listen to your scene partner and create a world in your head. It’s because of college professors like Joel Bishoff who told me I was a writer and guided me step by step on how to tell a clear story to an audience. It’s because of colleagues like Michael Sobie who said yes to me and believed that I had potential and musical talent. It’s because of friends like Tyler Stouffer who has been a loyal, active and collaborative partner during all my creative endeavors. It’s because of people like my incredible fiancé Megan who is there for me for all my ups and downs and reminds me to keep going. For picking me up when I’m down and for being the best life partner I could ever ask for. It’s only because of this kind of support system that I have come this far.