In August 2013 I was talking to a local singer songwriter Amy Bowie about possibly doing some music videos for her. Amy mentioned she was working on a character that would be the centre of a musical theatre themed series for the internet. This instantly captured my attention, I'm a big fan of musical theatre, in particular I love movie adaptions of Broadway shows and some of my greatest experiences in high school where the musicals that I was in.
So in early 2014 Amy and I decided to start putting together our "web-series" starting with a pilot video that we could use to find funding and support for the full show. Amy began work on a song titled "I can't... I have rehearsal" a line that is often used by those in musical theatre when they can't do something because their life has been taken over by rehearsals.
I had reasoned that if Amy could write a song I would be able to put together a video easily enough and we could use that to prove that there was an audience out there that wanted to see a New Zealand based comedy series about musical theatre types. So one thing lead to another and before we knew it the simple pilot that i had planned to shoot in a single weekend was a full blown production. We ran auditions, we did a crowd funder, we went into the recording studio, we shot for 5 days, I edited for three days straight to complete the first draft we shot pick ups we showed the video at Musical Theatre New Zealand's AGM and the whole process was totally fucking awesome. I've never worked on anything bigger in my life, I've never been more stressed out, I've never learnt so much in such a short space of time and I've never been so sure that I want to produce videos and direct.
Since we put the pilot online it's had over 80,000 views many of which have come from within New Zealand. We've written our first season, eight episodes with eight songs to match, full of characters and events that I think would make for a fantastic series. Everyone that we have shown the pilot to have been amazingly positive. In the last few weeks along we have met with many great locals who are excited to support us and help make the show a reality. All going according to plan we are hoping to start production of the show in early 2016.
I'll close out this blog post with the official synopsis from the show:
It's A Long Way From Broadway to the heart of small town New Zealand and the stars of the Takitomoko Theatre Company couldn't be further from their dreams of becoming the next Idina Menzel-come-Kristin Chenoweth-come-Julie Andrews or Matthew Broderick-come-Hugh Jackman-come-Dick van Dyke….but they’ve got a new company member who has been closer to Broadway than they could ever imagine…
At sixteen-going-on-seventeen, Maria isn’t your average Kiwi teen with a Kiwi twang: after spending most of her life living in New York City, Maria’s life is turned upside down when her family moves back to Takitomoko and the family farm. Maria is convinced her life is over…but self-confessed young ‘theatre nerds’ Christy, Daniel and Sophie swear it has only just begun…
It’s time to put on a show and an ensemble of colourful characters are determined to teach Maria – who has only ever seen Broadway shows – what it is like to be in a Broadway show…except that - well, of course, they’re not really on Broadway – they’re in New Zealand, a country more famous for producing hobbits, sheep and rugby players than Phantoms, Lion Kings and Billy Elliots.