Brandi has a problem. She’s been abducted by Zooby Doober and his hapless assistant, Smib; aliens tasked with executing the extraction of earth’s most precious resource… the genitals of the entire human race! A pawn of their sinister designs, Brandi delivers hypnotic propaganda disguised as innocuous YouTube make-up tutorials, testing her sanity AND her friendship with lifelong BFF and newly-cool art kid, Clementine. Joe Kelly mixes contemporary tunes and musical theater in an uproarious book for this 90-minute musical comedy, opening at the Peoples Improv Theatre in April. When: April 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th Location: 123 E. 24th St., New York City. You can be taken to their leader by ordering tickets at bit.ly/alienscoming
So we at OuterStage did not image that the makers of this really clever new musical were as CRAZY as the show itself!
Here are a few wacky words from Joe Kelly (book and lyrics) Jonathan “Lemon” Evans (music), Rachel Deutsch (director) Martavius Parrish (“Zooby Doober”) Maia Scalia (“Brandi”) Andrew Ricci (“Smib”) and Alice Kors (“Clementine”) . Ready… set …
Tell us why you wrote Aliens Coming? It looks like a blast … but is there something underneath that sci-fi send-up wit?
Joe: I don’t want to talk specifically about this TOO much for risk of giving away a lot of the fun of the show but I will say that sci-fi is a favorite medium for me and loads of other writers because of it’s ability to reflect aspects of our own society in dramatic and interesting ways. Black Mirror is really good at that, but sometimes takes itself a bit too seriously. Like Mallory Ortberg said; “what if phones, but too much”. So we wanted to be sharp while still keeping everything fun and crazy. I don’t want to beat anyone over the head with any specific agenda or message. With that said, I don’t think people are going to be breaking their brains wondering just what we’re getting at when we show them what happens when a girl obsessed with popularity becomes the ruler of planet earth with the hep of a massive following of idiots online.
What is your creative process?
Joe: I always start with one obsessive thought. It could be a line, question, image or character. In this case it was Youtubers. People who are famous on Youtube. Specifically beauty bloggers. The whole thing then spirals out from there. I am pretty disciplined in that I always work from an outline. But once the first draft is done it’s all about collaboration. I bring in actors to read as early as possible so I can start hearing it and work on making it sound more human. The script isn’t done until opening night- there’s always room for improvement and new ideas or moments that find their way in throughout the process. I’m all about opening myself up to that.
The NYU Force is strong in this production, Luke? Seriously, you and your company are all from NYU, was that a plan or did that just seem to happen?
Maia: Who is Luke?
Alice: Wait—is this not a one-woman show? Who are you people?
Martavius: Totally planned.
Rachel: It’s actually crazy that our cast is all NYU! We all just kinda found each other. Everyone was so down to help out and would add to the process all the time by saying “hey I know someone who would be really good at THIS.”
Joe: And it makes it a lot easier for us to utilize all the resources the university has to offer because we’ve all got the same little purple I.D. cards.
Maia: What is cool about this group is that although we all studied at NYU, we all come from different schools within the university and studied such a variety of different things- and this group is made up of people from all over the world.
Joe: Canada, London, New Zealand, Hong Kong… Oklahoma
Maia: Oh like the force! Luke Skywalker.
Tell me why we should keep independent theater alive?
Andrew: Because as a wise man once said “No matter how hard it get, stick your chin out, keep ya head up… and handle it.” That wise man was Tupac.
Alice: I need something to do between the hours of 7-11, Wednesday through Sunday.
Martavius: Independent theater, in my humble opinion, is just as important as commercial theatre. I believe that theater at its core is about moments of shared experiences – a story, a life, a song. Independent theater makes those experiences accessible. Independent theater also allows a more forgiving playground to play with and develop the ideas of a piece.
Joe: That was beautiful.
Lemon: Yeah and it really just allows for projects like ours to come to light. The freedom of being ‘independent’ means that we can be a lot more creative.
Maia: It allows for art to be challenging rather than safe for commercial reasons.
Joe: We can do weirder shit.