BWW Interviews: BECOMING BRITNEY Star and Creator Molly Bell Talks about Retro Dome Production

Molly Bell came up with the idea of creating "Becoming Britney," a musical about Britney Spears, when she was pregnant with her 5-year-old son, Ryder. She started writing while he napped and wrote music bouncing him in her arms. In addition to putting the show together and the hours spent rehearsing at the theatre, Molly also manages to find time to teach cardio dance as a group instructor and works with corporations (including Netflix Corporate and Ebay Corporate) as a as a choreographer and instructor for various team building and creativity workshops. For more information and tickets on the show, which runs through March 11, visit
Read BroadwayWorld's interview with Bell below!

For those who don't know much about the show, can you describe it?

The musical is a "period piece" ha ha...we examine the events of 2006 when Britney shaved off her head. She basically falls down a rabbit hole (not literally) and gets stuck inside her head (at rehab) where she finds out that it's a musical. (Is that crazy enough for you?) More concisely, it is a story of a little girl lost. A musical with a heart, it's funny, upbeat, poignant, with lots of flashy dancing. It is a musical and not a review of Britney's music. 

Some people may not be huge fans of Britney Spears. Can they still enjoy it?

Yes, there's something for everyone. In this show, we're able to give Britney a voice (literally). She finds herself in a swing routine, a soft-shoe, a Rodger's and Hammerstein love duet. One of the biggest comments I get is "Wow, I didn't think I would be interested but it was really great." (Usually said by a middle-aged man who knows nothing of Britney).

What's the history behind the show? How much of it did you draw from your own experience?

The only similarities I have to Britney are my ability to dance like her and the fact that I have a young son. In fact, the impetus to write the show came when I got pregnant with my son and was not able to perform for a while. I wanted something creative to do at home and so I called up Daya Curley (the co-writer) and said "hey, I think I have an idea" and off we went. We started it, sent about 75 percent of it off to the Fringe NYC and got accepted! That meant we had to finish it! Ultimately, I won best actor at the festival and we were thrilled with our little show. Over the last five years we've watched the show grow, change, and expand. It's all very exciting.

Comedy, parody, truth, tribute? Which is it?

All of the above. Literally. It's certainly a comedy, because's Britney y'all. We don't parody Britney, we parody other musicals that we love. We have a number based on "Annie," and Rogers and Hammerstein duet as I mentioned before, a little "Rent" thrown in there, some swing, some soul, you name it.

How do you think Spears would respond to this show?

We think she would love it. Despite popular belief, we are not in it to make fun of her. She's quirky in real life, fun and a little crazy. I definitely get a little crazy on stage, but that's the fun of it. I'd love Britney to play the role...but only if she can sing it in the same key I do!

Why the Retro Dome?

It's a perfect venue for this type of show. They have a light-hearted view of the world and want to have fun. It was a natural step and the progression of the show. This is the first time we'll really be adding all the visuals and stunning tech and multi-media that we first envisioned when writing it. Plus, it's a winner for me because I live in San Jose and it's just down the street... a great commute!!

Any favorite parts of the show or the process of putting on the show?

I love that it's a new work and we're constantly changing as we work with the talented actors to finesse a moment or correct the comedic timing. The whole show is like being shot out of a cannon. Once I'm on... I'm on and there ain't no stopping! Each time we do it we find new moments. It's always very stressful wearing multiple hats as a writer (the co-writer Daya is also the director in this case) and as being the star of the show. At times, it's overwhelming and physically exhausting, but when I drove up the other day to The Retro Dome and saw our picture above the marquis it was a great feeling and I have to stop and pinch myself to see
how far this little idea has come.

What's the future for the show? For you?

Who knows? We'd love for it to have a future. Daya and I think it's so neat that people are interested in purchasing our music on the website to perform their own version of "My I Want Song" (a song from the show). The next extension of that is having other theaters do the show. That's going to be crazy. As far as my involvement, not sure. I am getting older and this is Britney 7 years ago... so you know, I'm going to need a body double soon!

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From This Author Harmony Wheeler

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