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Check out Comic-Con The Musical – A Love Song to The Geekiest of Cons

Check out Comic-Con The Musical – A Love Song to The Geekiest of Cons

For many geeks, San Diego Comic-Con is a magical place. Thousands make the trip every year, battling crowds, commotion and online combat to get their hands on a treasured autograph or that exclusive release to display back home. Magic and musicals make a classic team, with quite a few geek icons trying their hand at a little song and dance. It was only a matter of time before the two worlds truly merged. Creators Nicholas Brandt and Laura Watkins mixed the two together to create Comic-Con The Musical!

Comic-Con The Musical features a narrator that is also, naturally, a Dungeon Master. It weaves in classic convention scenes like cosplayers, singing and long lines everywhere with a trio of plots. A movie mogul announces a life-changing contest, a showrunner seduces a superfan to steal her ideas, and an alien tries to take over the world because Comic-Con is the one place where nobody would seem to notice.  Everyone learns to be proud of who they really are and embrace their inner superpower by the end of the show.

“I’m a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan and I wanted to write a musical that had all sorts of cosplayers singing their dreams”, said Laura Watkins. “I had a song idea for a heartfelt Alien Ballad, and a few other ideas. I couldn’t figure out what kind of story would tie them together, and that is when I teamed up with Nick!”

“Laura brought me on as her resident nerd friend,” said Nicholas Brandt, “I’ve been going to Cons since I was a kid in Buffalo. I started going to the bigger shows when I moved to California after college. Many of the characters and experiences are based on real events that happened to me or my friends, and I think anyone who has been to a Con will relate – making new best friends in a line, meeting your idol, getting stuck in a costume, what it’s like having to “work” a Con instead of play, finding that perfect addition to your collection, being exhausted and hungry but still feeling like it’s one of the best days of your life. Every character has a bit of me in them. I think the character most inspired by my experience, though, is Jason. I had the actual experience of going to Con trying to get people to read a comic that I had assembled and printed myself.”

Comic-Con the Musical’s first draft was finished in November 2015, just in time to submit to the 2016 ASCAP DreamWorks Musical Workshop with Stephen Schwartz. It was chosen as one of four shows to present at the workshop hosted by the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. There, in February 2016, we performed the first thirty minutes of the musical and then received feedback from well-known Broadway composers Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Wicked), Irene Mecchi (The Lion King), and Karey Kirkpatrick (Something Rotten).

During the rewrite process Brandt and Watkins presented selections from the show at Rockwell Table and Stage for the Musi-Cal series. Using all of that creative feedback to propel another rewrite, Comic-Con The Musical held a full workshop on November 13th, 2016 and then was revised based on that feedback for our 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival performances.

cast-photo“I was influenced by a lot of film scores,” said Watkins.  “Star Trek, Star Wars, Iron Man, LOTR and more.  I was influenced by the opening numbers in Ragtime and Into the Woods.  I also was kind of inspired by the character of ‘The Wizard’ in Wicked.  Book of Mormon was also quite an influence.  I guess I got a little bit bit by the Hamilton bug along the way as well.”

“One musical that I discovered directly following the ASCAP Foundation DreamWorks Musical Workshop is Heathers the Musical,” said Brandt, “I adore it. It’s great at establishing the wants of its characters, which is one of the key notes we took out of that workshop experience. Avenue Q (and the play Hand to God) inspired the use of a puppet for the alien/Flarg Princess character primarily because I didn’t want people in the audience to assume she was a cosplay character so she needed something visually dramatic to set her apart. Anything I’ve seen since we first started writing has pinged a staging thought in my head. I’d love to do a large staging with some inspiration from Rude Mechs I’ve Never Been So Happy (for projection) and Amelie the Musical (for surrealism).

Schwartz

Fans looking for a sample of the songs can click here to see how this show compares to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog or the Supernatural musical episode. If you’re in Southern California, keep an eye out for the next performance of the show. It could be something fun to talk about while waiting in line at a con for a little piece of magic to take home.

What is your favorite geeky musical moment? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Image Credits: Comic-Con The Musical


Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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