The other two writers of The Green Room (Chuck Pelletier and Rod Damer) and I wanted to bring to life on stage what happens inside the four walls of a small Midwestern college theater department’s backstage green room. We concentrated on the hopes, passions and dreams of four theater majors who formed a clique: Anna (the prim and proper good girl), John (the theater jock), Divonne (the talented but never cast diva) and Cliff (Anna’s nerdy baby bother). They discover themselves in this pop musical with shades of Sondheim and Larson. What is it about their stories that create sparks wherever the show has been produced from sunny California to the green shores of Ireland? I think it has to mainly to do with the magical score by Chuck Pelletier (writer of the award-winning comedy film That’s Opportunity Knocking), because actors and audience members alike see shades of themselves in the songs. A musical is all about the music! I have yet to hear a singer who has performed Divonne’s show-stopping “It’s All About Me” who hasn’t said, “That’s MY story!” All sixteen songs contained in the show have a sense of urgency, a feeling of desire, and a longing for something BETTER.
We get a sneak peek into the world that very few outside the theater get to see; a shadow box into the trials and tribulation of becoming an actor in college. The message of this musical is HOPE. Audiences want these characters to make it to Broadway. I believe those themes are what command the attention of performers and directors who choose to perform the show. Director of the Canadian premiere Jess Falcioni summed it up best:
“My two best friends/roommates and I were in our fourth year of theatre school, and after a particularity difficult day, we all stood together in our hallway, ranting about how people like us never get the opportunities we want or need, and that we're overlooked no matter how hard we try. So we decided to make our own theatre company based on giving people like us a chance. That was the day REJECT Productions came into being. Now the struggle was deciding on our first show. We stumbled upon "The Green Room" trailer on Youtube, and we knew it had to be our first. It encompassed our thoughts, feelings, quirks, dreams, nerdiness and friendships. It showed us the realities of the struggles we would face, but the hope and optimism to keep going.”
It is this spirit that actors and directors find when they perform The Green Room.
In fact, we kept the scale of the show small (one set and contemporary costumes) so that budding theater companies, student college groups and basically anyone who has the dream to put on a show, could perform it. We are dreamers too, and love the thought of giving younger people a chance, a shot at fame and fortune. We admire the courage it takes to stand up and become a performer, with all the heartaches and struggles. I love that NBC and Fox are now airing Grease Live, The Wiz Live, and Hairspray Live because it proves that musical theater is still current, and the youth eats it up! It's clear with La La Land being nominated for 14 Academy Awards that people STILL desire to see NEW musicals!
The last song in the musical is “Waiting in the Wings” and it contains my favorite line: “And the future stands before us like a child, screaming out to know our plans.” The future does belong to the college theater kids creating new paths and directions.
C. Stephen Foster is the book writer for The Green Room, now available for licensing. He's also the book writer and author of “Awakening the Actor Within” and “Legends and Bridge.”