Auburn Theatre presenting ‘Monstersongs,’ students working with playwright Rob Rokicki
Just in time for Halloween, the Department of Theatre and Dance will present “Monstersongs,” a spooky musical adventure. In addition to song, dance and scares, “Monstersongs” allows Auburn students to work with the show’s award-winning playwright.
“Monstersongs” is the story of a child who encounters various monsters in musical numbers ranging from pop and rock to bluegrass and folk. New York-based writer and composer Rob Rokicki wrote the concept album for the show by drawing on monster archetypes and their cultural meanings.
He said he looks forward to seeing how students make the characters their own, and how the audience responds to the show’s deeper themes.
“Every monster is an examination on love and how that is twisted in some way, so that we can empathize with them,” Rokicki said. “I would like the audience to examine how we view other people. We ‘other’ people in so many ways. We say, ‘Well, we don't understand someone, so they're this thing, this monster.’ And I would hope that the show makes you think a little bit deeper about the humanity that connects us rather than the things that keep us apart.”
Cecilia Frederick, a junior in performance, will portray the teenage zombie and the dragon in “Monstersongs.” As a performance major, Frederick said it’s challenging and rewarding to explore character-building through song.
“In addition to having creative freedom of your character, it also means that the songs are your only dialogue,” Frederick said. “We have a lot more freedom in the music to interpret that and use the best of our abilities to change the way that you're seeing this monster, this character, through this brilliant piece of writing in the songs that we have.”
Frederick will perform a solo and a duet with Evie Slaughenhoup, a sophomore in music theatre and communication who plays the teenage vampire and the witch in “Monstersongs.”
Slaughenhoup said the musical is vocally challenging, and each student is applying what they’ve learned in class about three-act story structure and vocal health. Through working with Rokicki, Slaughenhoup hopes to learn more about how and when to push the envelope in musical theatre.
“It's not just a spooky fun show,” Slaughenhoup said. “While it is that, it is also a very meaningful show about people on incredibly different walks of life. I think that this show is really just honestly a lesson of acceptance and being more open-minded to people that you might not want to be more open-minded to because you might be ‘scared’ of them.”
Rokicki, whose work includes the Broadway show, “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” and “Breathe” (with NY Times Bestselling author Jodi Picoult), will hold a lunch-and-learn and masterclass on entrepreneurship in musical theatre for Auburn students in late October. After the Oct. 29 performance of “Monstersongs,” Rokicki will join the cast and crew for a talkback with the audience.
With his visit, Rokicki hopes to inspire a new generation of musical theatre professionals who trust their creative instincts and celebrate originality.
“It’s our obligation as artists in this field to pass the torch on to the next generation. I am a huge advocate for accessibility and for variation and a breadth of diversity in genre and style in terms of the art form and what musical theatre can do,” Rokicki said. “What’s really fun is breaking the mold and saying all are welcome to play in the sandbox, and let’s make something cool together.”
“Monstersongs” opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Telfair Peet Black Box Theatre.
About the show:
The artistic team for “Monstersongs” includes Director Ashley Butler, Music Director Brian Osborne, Vocal Director Charlotte Lee, Choreographer Jeri Dickey, Student Costume Designer Mary Grace Sullivan, Lighting and Scenic Guest Artist Gordon Olson and Sound Guest Artist Cheyenne Dalton. The cast includes Caroline Brooks, Daisha Flint, Cecilia Frederick, Morgan McKenzie, Kevin Nelson, Alex Pharo, Garrett Scott, Salem Sheets, Evie Slaughenhoup, Tony To, Andrew Vance and Ashleigh Vickery.
The run time for “Monstersongs” is approximately 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.
Tickets for “Monstersongs” are available now. Auburn students get free tickets, and faculty and staff get special promotions for all performances from the Department of Theatre and Dance. Log in to unlock your benefits.
Call the box office at 334-844-4154, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To engage in discussion around the performance or learn more about the production, make plans to attend “Talkback Thursday” on Thursday, Nov. 2, after the show for a conversation with the director and company members.
On Sunday, Oct. 29, there will be a special talkback after the show with Rob Rokicki, writer of “Monstersongs.”
Thursday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m. (Opening)
Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m. (Matinee)
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. *
Friday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 2:30 p.m. (Matinee)
*Talkback after show
- General: $18
- Senior citizen: $14
- Faculty and staff: $14
- AU student with ID: Free
- Non-Auburn University student: $14
Box office hours
- Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
- On Saturday evening performances: 6–8 p.m.
- For matinee performances: 1–3 p.m.
Or call the box office: 334-844-4154
“Monstersongs” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.