Loserville took a path that few musicals commissioned by youth theatres do — from high school summer program to West End (and Olivier Award nominated) production. Imagine that you spent a semester workshopping a brand-new musical in your high school theatre department and then saw that same musical with an all-star cast on Broadway the following year. That’s what happened with Loserville. The United Kingdom frequently commissions new works for young performers and audiences — through programs like National Theatre Connections (which hires playwrights from across the country to write one-act plays for a nationwide festival) to organizations like Youth Theatre UK, the program that gave musical artists like Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith their start. Youth Theatre UK partnered with James Bourne to create Loserville back in 2009. And NTSA has been trying to snag the performance rights ever since.
Based on the album by British pop-punk band Son of Dork, Loserville tells the tale of the appropriately-named Michael Dork, a 1970s computer geek who’s on the verge of discovering something that could forever change the world as we know it (spoilers: email). However, he’s going to have to beat out Arch Industries, the multinational technology conglomerate (and inheritance of resident school bully, Eddie Arch), for the honor. Time Out called Loserville Great Britain’s “answer to High School Musical.”
At a time when Comic Cons are sold-out events and geekdom has officially become “cool,” Loserville travels back to when knowing how to speak Klingon would get you shunned from society. (Now, there are entire Shakespearean productions staged in Worf’s native language. taH pagh taHbe’, that is the question!) Micheal Dork and his friends are willing to buck the norm and embrace a new era of technology, even if that does earn them a one-way ticket to Loserville. However, the characters also confront tons of issues that are still relevant today — from what happens when your arch-nemesis gets his hands on some revealing photos of you (i.e. revenge porn) to what happens when a giant mega-business steals the intellectual property of its underpaid student workers. It might be almost 50 years later, but in many ways, we’re still living in the same world as Michael Dork.
The real gift that Loserville offers the musical theatre genre is its power pop-punk score. Unfortunately, there’s no original cast recording, but you can listen to some of the tracks on Soundcloud. The title song has been stuck in our heads for almost a decade now, and there’s a 0% chance of it leaving any time soon. If you have musicals like American Idiot, Next to Normal, or Spring Awakening playing on repeat, then you’ll fall in love with Loserville.
While Loserville continues to be produced on a regular basis in the United Kingdom (the original cast just reunited for a charity concert performance on the West End last month), it hasn’t quite caught on in the United States. NTSA aims to correct that with our off-Broadway performance this summer. So grab a ticket to Loserville and apply to NTSA today!
Posted on Feb 07, 2018 in About NTSABack to Posts