The William Woods University Jesters will complete their second annual “Second Season” March 27 with a production of Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen’s “[title of show].”
“[title of show]” is a musical about two nobodies, Hunter and Jeff, who decide to write a completely original musical starring themselves and their attractive and talented lady friends, Susan and Heidi. Their musical, [title of show], gets into the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and becomes a hit. It gets an off-Broadway production at the Vineyard Theatre and wins three Obie Awards. Then it’s announced that their musical is going to Broadway.
The New York Times calls [title of show] “DELECTABLE ENTERTAINMENT! A postmodern homage to the grand tradition of backstage musicals like ‘Babes in Arms,’ ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ and ‘A Chorus Line.’ Fully intrigued, people snatch up tickets and help make Hunter and Jeff’s life-long dream come true!
“[title of show]” was conceived by friends Bowen and Bell during the spring of 2004 after Bell received an announcement for the first inaugural New York Musical Theatre Festival. With the deadline just three weeks away, Bell began drafting the script with Bowen writing the lyrics and music.
Determined to write an original musical rather than adapt an existing play or movie, they discovered almost immediately that their conversations about what to write were more interesting than what they were actually writing.
As the idea to document the creation of the show itself (“a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical”) became clearer, Bell and Bowen expanded the script based on their writing experiences with friends Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff.
“[title of show]” has since become a post-modern work-in-progress, with updates and changes to each new production reflecting the circumstances the cast and the show have experienced.
WWU student performers are Jason Cavallone of Chicago, Ill., as Hunter; Michael Dodson of Mexico, Mo., as Jeff; Rachel Petricka of Las Vegas, Nev., as Heidi, and Paige Runge of St. Louis, Mo., as Susan. Nancy Dreier of Columbia, Mo., acts as Mary, the onstage pianist and musical director for “[title of show].” Stage manager will be Kayla Pulliam of Bloomington-Normal, Ill.
The musical will be directed by WWU student Dustin Z. West, Kansas City, Mo. Other William Woods students on the production team are Maggie Hunter of Columbia, Mo., assistant director; Ashleigh Emmons of Bothell, Wash., costume design; Drew Arnett of Columbia, Mo., sound design, and Bailey Campanini of Camdenton, Mo., and Jen Steindorf of San Diego, Calif., properties design.
The production is entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). The aims of this national theater education program are to identify and promote quality in college-level theater production.
Each production entered is eligible for a response by a regional KCACTF representative, and selected students and faculty are invited to participate in KCACTF programs involving scholarships, internships, grants and awards for actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, designers, stage managers and critics at both the regional and national levels.