[title of show] Takes Self-Reflective to A New Level this Weekend in the ’92
No, that's not a typo—it's meta (Oh, Wesleyan). This weekend, a show actually called [title of show] goes up in the ’92 theater. [title of show] is about two guys writing a show... about two guys writing a show. Think Inception, but take out Leonardo and add Paul McCallion ’15 and Andrew Hopen ’13 and some killer vocal chords.
[title of show] tells the story of Hunter and Jeff, an aspiring writer and a composer trying to make it big together without letting the competitive world of musical theater suck them in too deeply. With the help of their friends Heidi and Susan (Emily Hunt ’13 and Emma MacLean ’14), the four set off on a mission to make it to Broadway by just being themselves.
“This show is about friendship and porn,” says McCallion.
This show fits wonderfully into a perfect WesFest experience. Wesleyan students will certainly appreciate the plentiful witty dialogue and puns throughout the show, including the accusation of Hunter being a “procrastabator” and Jeff’s constant grammatical corrections. Wes’s resident theater kid community will love the cliché musical theater references throughout the show. The team self-referentially discusses the typical struggles and necessities for a musical, such as key changes, transition music, prop handling, dream sequences, and medleys.
The small cast has visible chemistry that helps a plethora of jokes come to life. Putting on a tight show with such an intimate cast was the primary concern for director Ariella Axelbank ’14.
“I wanted to direct a small cast show, so originally I thought there was no way I was going to do a musical,” says Axelbank. “But when I found [title of show], I thought, 'This should happen at Wesleyan.'”
Stage manager Claire Whitehouse ’14 agrees that the small cast has been a crucial part of this show’s success.
“It’s really fun to have a show where a collaborative process not only works, but is necessary,” she adds about the cast’s contribution.
Axelbank says that the greatest challenge was finding a musical director who was also a killer piano player. Thankfully, Dylan Griffin ’12 was able to fill that role. Griffin plays Larry, the on-stage keyboardist who is occasionally allowed to speak. He helps fulfill Hunter and Jeff’s vision for a show to exist in its simplest form, with only four chairs and a keyboard.
In addition to taking advantage of the wordplay in [title of show], the cast is jam-packed with strong vocalists. The actors have mastered their four-part harmonies, and McCallion even takes an opportunity or two to riff with some attitude. The show adds the fun twist of showing the rehearsal process of creating these harmonies, with Griffin helping each cast member find his or her note.
This show will keep your brain spinning and your eyes wide open. The cast’s vocals and comedic timing are spot on, and with a few extra touches before opening night their choreography will be on the same level. Come see a truly hilarious account of a musical in the making this weekend in the ’92 theater Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8. Tickets are free and available at the Usdan Box Office.