Galapago, an original musical, is described by producer Wesley Brandt as his “giant baby,” and rightly so. This musical, which tells the story of two writers competing for creative control of their production about the Galapagos Islands, is the brainchild of Wes Brant and Andrea More.
No auditions were held, no single genre of music was used throughout, and the subject matter is rather unique in depicting the very real struggle of collaboration. The show is the essence of a true creative process.
Many late nights were spent battling over lyrics, humor, and character development as “Galapago” was work-shopped all of first semester and custom-made for its handpicked cast members.
Wes describes Andrea, who he met in Idris Goodwin’s Writing for Performance class, as having “a ridiculous sense of humor. It’s always surprising.” Yet the relationship between these two creative minds was not always smooth sailing. A potent blend of mutual respect and clashing personalities play an important role in the fully developed characters you’ll see on stage, whose story reflects those same challenges.
Andrea recalls, “Often times when we tried being in the same room together, writing, the day would spiral into a yelling match.” Wes reflects on this tumultuous process proudly: “Spending hours and hours arguing over how our two writers should argue only heightens the argument, because it all compounds. But it was honest, and what else can you really do besides that?”
Some of the more innovative aspects of the musical are the result of a blend between Wes’ previous experience in musical theater and Andrea’s ability to translate reality into an amusing fiction. Wes has immersed himself in theater as both actor and director, making “Galapago” his third musical. Some of his past creative achievements include music composition for Dance Workshop and the production of another original musical, “Hear No Evil in the Year 2090,” which was directed by star of Galapago, Kevin Dorff (Charlie).
One of Wes’ proudest moments in the production is the inclusion of spoken word, inspired by the team’s shared mentor, Idris Goodwin. There seems to have been a wealth of mentorship in the cast as well, who were creative friends chosen wisely by the writers and included in the creative process. Andrea gives credit to Kevin Dorff, who helped from the very beginning with writing, Robert Mahaffie and Laura Berry, who act as the crew, and attests to helpful feedback from each cast member, which has shaped the musical into a unique form of collaboration and musical theater.
While Andrea has not had as much experience with theater as Wes, she plans to pursue the creative side of future productions and hopes that other CC students are similarly inspired to get involved. “Right now, the kind of thing Wes and I did is an anomaly, though I fervently wish this changes, since CC has myriad talented writers.” Galapago is testament to the passion and creative work ethic that encapsulates the CC student body and will be playing its second week from Thursday (1/30) through Saturday (2/1).
What is the final word that Andrea has for those who haven’t seen it? “Please, for the love of God, come see this musical. It’s an hour and a half – a lot shorter than most musicals which usually run two and a half hours – and very, very funny.”