Bringing fresh and interesting productions to the stage is important to the sustainability and continued interest in local theatre, and coming to the Crucible on the next two Saturdays, October 8th and 15th, “Monstersongs” is hoping to fulfill that promise of something new and fun. The Music Theatre of Madison (MTM) is bringing this rock musical to the Crucible and MTM Executive Director Meghan Randolph says she has had ‘Monstersongs’ in mind for a while now as a production and hopes the community will enjoy it as much as she has.
“I’ve known about Monstersongs for about five years, and I found it because of the cast recording, which is on Spotify and everywhere else that you get music,” Randolph told Madison365. “It was written by someone that I first went to art camp, and then to the University of Michigan with. His name is Rob Rokicki, and he has become a gifted composer.
“I just fell in love with it as a celebration of something kind of fun,” she added. “It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s humorous, but it’s also dark and twisted and has all those elements. There’s a little something for everyone. It also asks existential questions: Are monsters made or born? Or who are the real monsters in society?”
While the show is mostly for older audiences, Randolph was also sure that most of the content would be suitable for older children. One song in particular that deals with violence against women should be researched beforehand so parents can determine if it would be appropriate to bring their children along.
“We’re not selling it as a children’s show, but there are elements that kids can identify with,” Randolph said. “The opening line of the show is a kid opening a book and all of these monsters coming to life around her. We encourage people to listen to the cast recording, to that song, and to determine if they want to bring a kid. That’s fine, because I think kids will really enjoy it … but mature kids.”
Although not directly made for children, ‘Monstersongs’ provides insight and material for consideration that may be more suitable for our present time than many of the productions that have their origins in earlier periods. With a newer production, it seems fitting that fresh perspectives are also something valued by the Music Theatre of Madison.
“These are written often with the perspective of today’s audiences in mind,” said Randolph. “Something like ‘Monstersongs’ asks them to engage a little differently and challenges them. A lot of children’s theater asks different questions to kids of different ages. ‘Monstersongs’ doesn’t talk down to kids. It expects them to show up and pay attention. Kids don’t have expectations of what’s ‘normal’ theater yet. Most of them don’t expect that the show has to take place and be done in a certain way and tell a certain type of story. They just listen and they just engage their minds. All theatre is important, and it’s especially important now as arts funding is getting slashed everywhere.”
Work setting up the production has gone well so far as actor Scott Lewis who plays the Father, Troll, and Sasquatch feels the crew is going to be well-prepared and excited for the upcoming shows.
“Rehearsals have been going quite well,” said Lewis. “We all knew well in advance that we wouldn’t have a ton of time to rehearse for this show, and everyone has really risen to the occasion. I’m tremendously proud of the hard work and dedication that everyone has invested into this production, and I can’t wait to share the stage with this incredibly talented group of artists. ‘Monstersongs’ is just a ton of fun! It feels more like a concert than a traditional stage production. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing by any means. It has a great underlying message, but I’ll leave that for the audience to experience first-hand.”
Along with an exciting roster of talent to carry out the performance, the space itself provides excitement in the potential it will lend to the show. The Crucible is the venue of choice for Meghan Randolph and the crew, and it is a venue that Randolph appreciates and felt fits ‘Monstersongs’ perfectly.
“I went to the first thing I had ever seen there last year around the holidays, and I was like, ‘I have got to do a show here,’” Randolph said. “It just inspired me so much. The way that the venue is run, it’s just an outlet for all kinds of artistic pursuits and all kinds of personal forms of expression. Yet it’s done so safely and with such good practices and good policies. I love the art on the walls, they have exhibits, they have paintings in the bathroom, so it’s just such an interesting use of space.”
Randolph is confident that it will be a fun time for all. The mix of music will be another draw as there should be a little something for everyone.
“It’s going to be a fun evening out,” said Randolph. “You can take it as existential and deep as you want. It can be a fun exploration of monsters, or you can really ask yourself those questions about humanity. It can go either way. It’s just a fun way to revisit the monsters of our folklore that we know and look at them from different angles.
“For a lot of the music, there’s a nice mixture. There’s some rock, there’s some pop, there’s a little country, and there’s some traditional musical theater,” she adds. “It’s a really nice eclectic mix of things, and it’ll be a fun way to celebrate Halloween and help you get in the mood for the spooky season.”
To find out more about ‘Monstersongs ‘and keep up with the Music Theatre of Madison, check out their website here.
For tickets to ‘Monstersongs,’ click here.