By: HANNAH DEMCHAK
Many students know that the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts is constantly putting on different theater productions. What some students may not know is that Chancellor Terry Allison is currently in the process of collaborating with several faculty in the Raclin School of the Arts to make a two part musical production called “MEGA!”.
Chancellor Allison was inspired to write this musical after reading a story about a national scandal in 2006 in which a megachurch minister who was outed by his monsieur who happened to be a drug dealer and was providing sexual services to the minister.
After this news went public, the minister’s wife still stood by his side, but he was ousted from the church.
“My musical is not exactly about that but it was inspired by that. I thought, at the time, this story is operatic. It’s a real drama, and it would be good on stage,” said Allison.
About a year and a half ago, IU announced a new grant program called New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities, which is known as an experimental grant. Since Allison is also a professor of English at IU South Bend, he was eligible to apply for this grant.
Although he did not receive the grant, the chancellor decided to keep moving forward with the help of several faculty members. Allison developed a storyline, created characters and wrote song titles. He also recruited a director, an arranger and some others to help with the project.
Last summer, Allison had a one-week workshop project in California to work on some songs and dialogue that would be featured in the musical. By using this workshop as supporting evidence, Allison applied for a larger grant and received just under $50,000 to be used for a two-week long workshop this summer to work on the play.
Many faculty from the Department of Theatre and Dance in the Raclin School of the Arts are collaborating with Chancellor Allison in order to create this musical.
“I would say this is a serious comedy, which actually makes it very hard to do. Some people might immediately think of ‘The Book of Mormon,’ which is very farcical and extreme,” said Allison. “I want the characters to be serious about their faith, and I don’t want to ridicule or mock their religious beliefs. But it is about the contradictions in their belief systems and their behaviors.”
There will be a call out for auditions at the end of April to try out, which will be open to students as well as community members. This summer and summer of 2017 will feature workshops to rehearse and work on the production in order to bring the musical all together. Since the Raclin School of the Arts has other mandatory theatre productions throughout the year, the musical is estimated to premiere in fall of 2017.