DEAR JOURNAL is an original musical centering around four teenagers' lives as they enter Middle School. The show tackles youth-centric issues such as popularity, peer pressure, betrayals, and coming into one's own identity. Conceived, directed, and produced entirely by two seventh-graders, Eric Gelb and Ryan Hurley, DEAR JOURNAL's path to the stage is an inspiring one.
Without the aid of adults, and facing limited budget and resources, Eric and Ryan were the sole creative forces behind the production - from scouting rehearsal locations and performance spaces, to the coordination of all technical elements of the production, casting, and dealing with fundraising and administrative duties.
To kick-off this year's Student Center, BroadwayWorld approached DEAR JOURNAL's co-creator Eric Gelb to blog about the team's challenges, rewards and lessons in putting together the production.
Below is Eric's sixth blog entry. If you missed last week's, catch up here! And check back next week for another entry!
THE ROAD TO: 'Dear Journal: The Musical' BLOG #6: Opening
I darted out of school. My heart was beating a mile a minute. Tonight was it. Tonight was opening night. Hours of sweat and years, and at 6:30 that night, the curtain would go up on the thousand-dollar world premiere production of our show.
Ryan, Leah and I piled into my mom's tan car. We arrived at the venue just as Leena and Noura of our tech crew were getting out. In an awkward conversation we made our way downstairs. We pulled all of the scenery and costume racks out from the storage unit. The girls began to put up the set the way we had the last few rehearsals. Tina, the venue manager came downstairs and we discussed logistics. We had sold out and had announced a wait line for the tickets. After talking about crowd control we parted. I had Noura set up our concessions stand - Ryan's family had made us show/themed candy bars and we has bottled water.
The conference room - aka the green room was buzzing. In a corner, Nicole has set down her costumes and shoes and was looking over her lines. Will was eating soup before the show while we did his hair. Kenzie's sister rushed in with her dinner. I re-set the prop and costumes and relaxed a little. Ryan was putting up the right wing and I told him that whatever happens at 6:30 when the show starts, we'll always befriends and I'll always be proud of what we did.
At 6:00, the audience was admitted in and I called the cast into the green room. I had everyone stand in a circle and hold hands. I congratulated them and Ryan and I both spoke a couple words. The house was almost packed. We held the show a couple minutes. We called places at 6:25 for a 6:35 curtain.
Ryan and I stepped out onto the stage and made the Pre-show announcements. At 6:37 the lights dimmed and the overture for Project X began in front of an audience for the first time.
DEAR JOURNAL began touring across the Michigan area in 2011-2012 with more venues planned for 2013.
To learn more about DEAR JOURNAL, visit their Facebook page here.