Protest-Friendly â€˜Hipstersâ€™ Dance With Midler to Put On Show
By Philip Boroff – Oct 7, 2011
â€œF*cking Hipstersâ€ at the New York Musical Theatre Festival is so of-the-moment it could have been inspired by the Wall Street protests now in their third week. In truth, it was conceived a year ago.
A tuneful, comic concoction, itâ€™s about an idealistic Brooklyn indie rock band encountering cynical greed that almost tears it apart.
â€œIn our show, the community wins,â€ said book writer Keythe Farley (who also wrote â€œBat Boy: The Musicalâ€) in an e- mail. â€œI hope that will be true for our country as well.â€
As the demonstrators camp out in Zuccotti Park a few blocks from the New York Stock Exchange, the showâ€™s fictional band cohabitates in a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, loft.
No one captures the occupiersâ€™ do-it-yourself ethos better than Brandon Wardell, who produced the musical, is the lead actor and plays guitar and ukulele in the fictional band. (Wardell also acted in and was among the producers of Broadwayâ€™s â€œCatch Me If You Can.â€)
He and a producing partner, Randy Spence, invested some of their own savings toward the roughly $30,000 budget. They also raised $5,680 from 99 people via Kickstarter, the same Internet site through which â€œThe Occupied Wall Street Journalâ€ collected $55,000 and counting from contributors as of Friday afternoon. A few Broadway producers also chipped in.
Farley created â€œHipstersâ€ with fellow Los Angelenos Lori Scarlett and John Ballinger. Director and choreographer John Carrafa sat on the festival jury and helped select â€œHipsters.â€ He said he liked it so much he decided to stage it himself.
Because actors are paid just $500 for the NYMF run, many missed rehearsals to take more lucrative gigs. Carrafa himself pulled a near-all-nighter before the first preview, choreographing Bette Midler in an Acura car commercial on Long Island.
â€œThatâ€™s how I make money, so I can do this,â€ he said.
Holly Coombs, associate producer, drove a U-Haul truck the morning of the first preview with instruments and sets from a Chelsea rehearsal studio to the theater on West 42nd Street.
â€œIâ€™ve never driven in New York,â€ Coombs said. â€œI was terrified. Needless to say, I bought the $11 of insurance.â€
Farley said the song â€œF*ck On!â€ was inspired by recent protests in Wisconsin. Heâ€™s in solidarity with the Wall Street protesters.
â€œIf I hadnâ€™t been so busy getting the show on its feet,â€ he said, â€œIâ€™d have been down there marching with them.â€
â€œF*cking Hipstersâ€ is at 1 p.m. today at 555 W. 42nd St. Information: http://www.nymf.org.
- Acura News. (grilleguards.wordpress.com)