Background

     Edit:Undo is a 21st Century musical of, by, and for today’s teens, exploring life and love — and the games people play — in the digital age. The title of the musical is derived from the drop-down menu on menus atop the screens of computer software programs. If you make a mistake and want to fix it, all you need to do is click “Edit,” then “Undo,” and everything reverts back to exactly how it was before.

     This new student-written musical is produced and presented by The Cappies, the international “Critics and Awards” program for high school theater. (See www.cappies.com.) To write it, The Cappies selected a creative team of nine students—three composers, three lyricists, and three book writers—from high schools in Virginia and Maryland. They were given the task of writing a musical comedy about high school and technology, and this is what they created. They began in October 2005, completed the storyboard in December, all the songs by April, and touch-up work by early July. Their creative process was advised and edited by playwright and Cappies co-founder William Strauss, and their musical compositions were assisted by Brant Challacombe, musical director for Baltimore Cappies.

     Edit:Undo has a story that is fresh and funny, full of scenes, situations, and problems that could only exist today. The plot and characters depart from the usual formulas and conventions so often seen in high school musicals of any era.

     The score includes 16 songs, on topics range from school starting too early (“Seven A.M.”) to test-taking fatigue (“Take a Test, Test, Test”), to teenage crushes that fall short of falling in love (“Falling in Like”), to the language of instant messaging (“O-M-G, L-O-L”), to the battle-cry of tech-weary adults (“Save the Children… from the Gates of Hell and the Hell of Gates”). Large ensemble numbers include a dance of emoticons (“The Smileys of Wi-Hi”), a hip-hop high-stress high school (“Maybe You and Maybe Me and Maybe Not”), and a game sequence progressing from Chess, Scrabble, Foosball, Super Mario, and PacMan to D.D.R., and a decisive round of Pong.

     The cast includes 13 principals (7F/6M), of which 11 (7F/4M) are featured vocalists. The cast includes 11 other key ensemble roles (6F/5M), and three other small roles. Additional ensembles can be used. The school janitors serve as stage crew, and have a key role through much of Act Two. Sets are simple, but props and costumes can be highly creative. The use of a live camera feed to an upstage screen is an optional feature. The story is in two acts, with an estimated running time is 125 minutes, not including intermission.

     Edit:Undo will have its initial performances in August 2006, at the Theater Lab of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, presented by the cast and crew of Cappies International Theater. The cast will include 37 award-winning teenage performers from across the U.S. and Canada.
 


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