It all started when I walked into church one day. Hilary Hornberger came the other direction and we bumped into each other at the doors. I gladly gave her directions to the nearest classroom and blabbed her ear off. As we introduced ourselves, I found out that she was a composer. I told her that I was a writer.
And then bam, we both thought it would be an awesome idea to write a musical together. That was strange happening number one because I NEVER think it’s an awesome plan to write a musical with anyone (especially after my ‘Sleepy Hollow’ incident—WAY different story).
It gets even weirder.
Hilary happened to be visiting from Canada and she was going to a composer’s workshop in Salt Lake. This was her only Sunday here in the states. She was looking for a different church building altogether, but she got lost and walked and walked (just like the good ol’ Primary song) until she found the building where we ended up running into each other. Unbeknownst to me, it was my last day to grace this particular single’s ward since I was (cough) graduating to a family ward the following week.
Yup. So basically, in my mind, this fortuitous meeting was soooo meant to be.
Since that time, Hilary has played a zombie saloon girl, a big ‘little’ girl, a crazy femme fatale, and an evil robot genius in some of our movies and NOT ONLY THAT, but we’ve also managed to put together a fantastic musical on the side (wink).
Our musical is called The Raven, and it’s going to have its first reading in Calgary, Canada on the Saturdays of March 16th and April 6th. Yes, THIS March and April! After five years, this is really, actually, truly happening! Hurray for Canada, aye!
The Raven is based on, no other than, Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. As Hilary and I brainstormed (also with the help from my sister, Jacqueline), we sketched out a little behind-the-scenes story of the poem as we saw it in our warped minds. We set it in 1825 London, because let’s be honest, we LOVE period pieces and British accents. Sure, Edgar is from America, but this is the story based on the poem NOT on Edgar, even though we named the main character after him as a nod of respect to our beloved poet.
I’m sure he’s thanking us . . . OR shaking his fist at us.
Either way, in our musical, Edgar is hiding a terrible secret. He is forced to work for Death, and must fight to survive. From the poor wastelands of the Rookeries to the opulent halls of the rich, neither world is fully aware the other exists, until Death comes to call.
Sooo, as we all know the actual poem is about the tragic ending of Lenore and that Death is out to get her (if the poem has anything to say about it). So of course, in our story too, Death asks for Lenore. That’s when Edgar enlists the help of ‘Raine,’ a beautiful, but poor street urchin, who doesn’t know the power she holds over Death. With her, Edgar plans to take on Death.
Edgar’s plan gets complicated when loyalties begin to blur at the edges and he starts to fall for this girl. Now he must choose between saving Lenore or the only woman he can touch without killing.
Yes, we made it nice and dramatic for our romantic souls. And now for my favorite part: Hilary’s music is amazing. I love how she wove my dialogue through the music, so that no song is stagnant—the action in the story is always going somewhere. It’s just fun how it worked.
Now with auditions behind us, (though sadly, I didn’t get to participate in that because Hilary is in Canada and I don’t have a passport BUT . . .) Hilary and I will be working together through the means of skype and other magical technologies to make this workshop successful. The plan is to take it to New York after this, and/ or maybe do some readings in Salt Lake (or wherever we can find producers) because hey, we love this musical and we want to share it with as many people as we can. We will ALWAYS be grateful to all those who helped us to put this musical together throughout the years and for those who are helping us now.
If you’d like to see more behind-the-scene news, please visit our official website where we have Hilary’s sample music, bios, (soon to be) pictures of the cast, the latest news, and a video of me talking about the musical (Hilary will have hers up soon, probably). And uh, please ignore the excessive bobbing of my head in the video—that was me trying to stay awake. And yeah, I put the Raven logo on the side of the screen to cover the dirty laundry in the background of the shot. My bad.
Please check out our website here
Also, before, I bid you adieu, I will leave you with the musicals’ tagline: “Death will bring Life to Death, Life will bring Death to Life…NEVARMORE!”
And no, we did NOT spell Nevermore wrong on accident. If you watch the musical, you’ll find out why.