North Texas Daily

Students create satirical “Occupy: The Musical”

Students create satirical “Occupy: The Musical”

October 23
23:22 2012

Trent Johnson / Staff Writer

With pop culture full of political satire from shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “Family Guy,” four UNT students have decided to try their hand at the genre by producing “Occupy: The Musical.”

The story was written by radio, television and film junior Amir Ellis and pre-journalism senior Stephanie Clausen.

The plot centers around two friends on a trip to a “Star Trek” convention when they encounter an Occupy group.

Ellis and Clausen said the story features numerous jokes, which produced a lot of laughs during the writing process. However, the musical will feature an underlying, serious tone as well.

Photo by : Jun ma

“It’s a satire for sure,” Clausen said. “While it’s a joke on [the Occupy movement], people were out there for a reason. There was a big buzz about it on both sides, but eventually people were like, ‘What’s really going on out there?’”

Ellis and Clausen came up with the idea as they left a UNT theater performance last December.

Upon leaving, they noticed the Denton branch of the Occupy movement. Ellis said he jokingly pitched the idea to Clausen, who replied, “That’s the best idea you’ve ever had.”

The two initially tried to make the musical a drama. However, they scrapped the idea and decided to make a moderate comedy instead.

“You can be right-wing and like it, while others will be left-wing and still like it,” Ellis said. “Or you could just be crazy. Everybody will be happy.”

After developing the story, characters and dialogue, Ellis and Clausen recruited performance senior Grant Goldberg to compose the music and strum the occasional guitar.

The duo selected art history senior Corbin Young to write the lyrics.

Goldberg said he jumped at the opportunity to create something different than he normally works on for school.

“Well, I have been working on my own musical for a while,” Goldberg said. “But with this I was able to tone down the campiness of a traditional piece by making music that I like to listen to.”

Pre-communication design freshman Kollin Snipes said the play allowed him to rekindle an old flame with theater.

“In high school I did theater and had fun,” he said. “It was a free tryout, so I said, ‘Why not?’ This play has allowed not just me but a lot of people to get involved with theater again.”

The creators are currently preparing for a workshop, which will allow them to show the play to the University Program Council, as well as faculty from the theater department. The group has yet to reach its goal of getting full support from the university, Clausen said.

“The only two departments from the university that have helped have been the UPC and the music department,” Clausen said. “The full performance will hopefully be next semester, with costumes on a stage.”

For more information, search “Occupy: The Musical” on Facebook.

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