Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time Travel

With the launch of the new Facebook features today, it's becoming all the more apparent that the digital world is quickly expanding, and social networking in respect to musical theatre is no exception. In fact, I've seen grassroots campaigns flourishing over the past few years through the help of social media -- Kerrigan and Lowdermilk's very successful album Kickstarter campaign, the viral videos of University of Michigan MT students, and newmusicaltheatre.com, to name just a few -- and I've always been curious to see what the next big thing is going to be.

On January 11th, Mike Pettry and Heidi Heilig's musical The Time Travelers Convention is about to launch in a big way. Through Youtube, the musical will be performed as a kind of musical radio broadcast, and shortly following the launch, audio will be available to download both as a podcast and cast album.

The Time Travelers Convention was inspired by a convention held by MIT students in 2005. The musical tells the story of 3 nerdy high schoolers who, hoping to find a way to go back in time to change their pasts, begin planting invitations to a convention in library books in hopes that someone with access to a time machine in the future would see the note and attend. When a stranger actually shows up at the party, the 3 teens must then deal with the idea of the past and learn how to live in the present.

Besides having an innovative plot, the music is fun and you can listen to much of it here. Mike Pettry, in addition to being a great musician, also has a great selection of songs both from The Time Travelers Convention and his other projects available on his website.

I'm very curious to see what this January 11th premiere has in store. It's an interesting concept -- one that is especially intriguing given the time travel themes of the piece. After all, even though this is a digital launch, the idea of a radio play is quite traditional in many respects. Also, the resonant themes give the idea a great through line, and I am most curious to see if people are going to be inspired enough by the material in the digital ether to materialize the show in their theaters.

Who knows what the future holds.


heidi heilig said...

Hi, Kim. Heidi Heilig here. Noticed you were born in Hawaii. Me too. :) Where you went high school?

More to the point though, thanks for the write up. It's funny -- we're wondering a lot of the same things! :) We're pretty excited about the format and the possibilities inherant in the idea of a youtubed radio show, and hoping that a production like this can give the show broader life. Our real goal is to give people who may not be able to afford Broadway tickets (or who may be out on the North Shore, far from NYC or even the Blaisdell Center!) a way to experience theatre, and really for almost free.

Reaching people with new works is important to us, as is telling our story to an audience that might really get it -- and what better way to reach fellow nerds than through the inter-tubes? :)

Kim said...

Hey Heidi! Thanks so much for your comments! And from a fellow Hawaii native! I actually didn't go to high school there, as my family moved to Georgia before I got to high school, but I've been back every chance I've gotten and have friends who graduated from everywhere from Kaimuki to Iolani. Where did you go to school? It's always nice to connect with someone from home.

I have to say that I really admire writers like you and Mike who are really experimenting with the internet and social media. Just because the theater is an art form that has many traditions rooted in physical performance, I think it's important to use the resources of the internet to make theater more accessible and relevant. Especially being from Hawaii, I know how important it is to be able to reach people in that way. Trust me -- even living in Georgia, Youtube videos were my lifeline for feeling like a part of the New York theatre scene.

In any case, congrats on getting this project underway. I'm really looking forward to seeing the result and will continue to promote it to friends and however I can through the blog. You'll have to check in too to let me know how it all goes!

heidi heilig said...

:) I actually ended up going to Punahou. I hope it doesn't show!

Thanks again for your kind words. I have to say, I'm impressed with your work here as well. Are you in NYC currently? If so, i'm shocked that you and I have never met -- i know personally or went to school with almost half of the people you have listed in your 'labels' section. The community is so small, but it's the actions of writers like you who discover us and amplify the music.

Are you in NYC or still in Georgia? If you live in NY, let me know and we should talk story :) And believe me, i'll be checking in on your blog again and again :)