Behind the Curtains – Tina Salles, Artistic Coordinator for Möeller & Botelho’s Shows

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Obsessed with schedules and organization, the artistic coordinator of Rio’s major musicals became an expert in creating order out of chaos

By Rafael Teixeira for Veja Rio: April 13, 2013

Tina Salles (Veja Rio)
Tina Salles (Veja Rio)

With 32 shows to their credit, the team of Charles Möeller and Claudio Botelho has become the biggest reference point for musical theater in Brazil. Currently, they have no fewer than three simultaneous shows in production, each of them playing to packed houses: The Wizard of Oz and Milton Nascimento – Nothing Will Be as Before, in São Paulo, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, in Rio.

One of the most important ingredients in their recipe for success (but practically invisible to the public eye) goes by the name of Anna Christina Salles Coelho de Araujo Pinto, or simply Tininha [“Little Tina”]. The use of that diminutive nickname is befitting of her 5-foot, 3-inch stature, yet inversely proportional to the size of her responsibility. As artistic coordinator for the duo’s many shows, this 45-year-old single woman from Rio – “I’m married to my work,” she admits –, concerns herself with every aspect of production. “She’s my boss,” concedes Möeller, with his colleague, Botelho, nodding in agreement.

To produce a show with dozens of actor-singers on stage, with live music, elaborate scenery and a battalion of employees backstage and in the wings, is an extremely complex task. In the case of directors Möeller and Botelho’s musicals, there’s ample evidence of Tininha’s fingerprints on just about every aspect of the process — from the germ of an idea to the finished product. From the outset, one part of her job is in the choice of a team, from technicians and musicians to the individual cast members. For example, it was through her intervention that six years ago the directors got to know actress Tatih Köhler, currently playing in Milton Nascimento — Nothing Will Be as Before. The two were so impressed they created the character [of Clara] in 7 – The Musical, a show they staged in 2007, especially for her.

Tininha is also responsible for overseeing the work of those areas involved in putting together the orchestra, choreography, costumes and set designs, among many others, serving as a link between them all. From an ill-fitting wig to an out-of-tune musician, she’s there to resolve it. “Tininha’s what I’d call the conductor of the conductor,” claims Gregorio Duvivier, who portrays the protagonist J. Pierpont Finch in How to Succeed in Business.

Of her many talents, however, none is more recognized than her schedule planning. On the first day of rehearsals, Tininha has already organized everyone’s calendars right up to the premiere. Unlike what takes place in most theatrical productions, the regimen she employs is British-style punctuality. “Everything has a starting and closing time. That way, everybody feels their work is being respected,” explains Tininha, who’s known for managing a thousand and one problems without ever raising her voice. In this quiet, unassuming manner, she handles more specific issues, such as how to combine rehearsals for dancing and singing, so as not to force the cast’s muscles or throats, but still keeping in mind actors with special needs, such as those who have outside commitments while participating in rehearsals. Such competence has even led to a joke among insiders. “When actors who’ve previously worked with us are involved in less organized shows, they say that Tininha is what’s missing,” Botelho recalls.

Claudio Botelho, Tina Salles & Charles Moeller (Photo: Leo Ladeira)
Claudio Botelho, Tina Salles & Charles Moeller (Photo: Leo Ladeira)

The relationship of Tininha to the duo began thirteen years ago by chance. The daughter of a lawyer and a housewife, she graduated with a degree in systems engineering and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. Passionate about movies and theater, she began working in production alongside filmmaker Walter Lima Jr., with whom she had taken a course. She migrated to the theater at the hands of author and director Karen Acioly. It was at a children’s musical [written] by Karen that she met singer and actress Gottsha, who was a cast member of Cole Porter — He Never Said He Loved Me, staged by Möeller and Botelho in 2000. “I went crazy when I saw the show and asked Gottsha for Charles’ phone number. I called, offered my services to the team, and was accepted,” she relates. Their professional relationship coexists with a deep, abiding friendship — she is a constant presence at the partners’ dinner engagements and on their trips to New York and London, where they’ve presented dozens of shows. Loyal to the sturdy rod that won her renown, both partners recognize that their lives can make do without most things, except Tininha.

(English translation by Josmar Lopes. For access to the original article in Portuguese, please click on the following link: http://www.moellerbotelho.com.br/index.php/blog/item/239-veja-rio-atrás-das-cortinas-tina-salles-a-coordenadora-artística-dos-musicais-de-möeller-botelho)

Copyright © 2013 by Josmar F. Lopes

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