By Maggie Olson

When watching a musical, it can be difficult to imagine the show as anything other than a completed product, but every musical starts somewhere.  From its original concept, a musical can undergo drastic changes, such as having songs added, subtracted, or reordered multiple times.  For example, the original version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! did not include the song “Oklahoma,” which is now considered an iconic part of American musical theater.  More recently, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark moved its official opening from March 15 to summer 2011 to accommodate the addition of an expanded creative team who will re-work the book and add new musical numbers even though the show had been in preview performances since November 2010.

[title of show] is “a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical.”  It is based on the journey of Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, the writers of [title of show]. The central characters, conveniently named Jeff and Hunter, provide unique insight into the creative process behind musical theater.

Like many musicals, [title of show] went through a variety of changes.  It was originally written in only three weeks to meet the deadline for entry in the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival, but the show garnered enough interest to enjoy successful runs on and off Broadway.  As these events occurred, Bowen and Bell continued to chronicle their progress by adding to the show.

Within the show, the characters discuss subjects every musical creator must face:  Where am I going to find inspiration for composing?  Should we cut this song, or leave it in the show?  If we change our content to make it reach a wider audience, will we be sacrificing our artistic integrity?

The true beauty of [title of show] is that in addition to the musical theater inside jokes, it handles concepts like overcoming insecurity, making new friends, sustaining current relationships, and daring to reach for the stars.  This comedic yet heartfelt look at the creative process behind musical theater is running March 10th-12th at 7:30 p.m. and March 13th at 2:00 p.m. at the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre.  Tickets may be reserved by calling 701-235-6778 or visiting FMCT’s website:

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