by Lorie Lewis Ham
The Shine! Theatre Company is presenting this weekend an original musical called We Are Monsters, written by Fresno native Denver Casado. According to their press release, it is a musical about diversity, friendship, and ultimately, acceptance. They are also partnering with Professor Linda Sue Dryden and her puppetry students at Fresno State. We took a moment to chat with Denver, and with the show’s director Jenny Myers.
KRL: How did you come up with the idea for this show?
Denver: I was working with a youth musical theatre group in New York, when we asked the kids “What types of characters would you really like to play?” They immediately answered werewolves and vampires, so we got to work figuring out how to create a fun show with a unique spin on those characters. We wanted it to be silly and contemporary, but with a positive message – so we focused in on rock ’n roll werewolves and vegetarian vampires, and the theme of accepting those that may seem quite different from you at first glance.
KRL: Can you briefly describe the basic plot?
Denver: A group of human kids sneak into a “monster-only” cabaret with the hopes of growing their YouTube channel. Their plan is to reveal all the monster’s secrets, but along the way they learn there’s much more to these monsters than meets the eye!
KRL: Is this your first show that you have had produced?
Denver: I’ve been fortunate to have had my 13 musicals licensed for over 2,700 productions around the world. But it’s extremely special that it’s happening here in my hometown of Fresno, where my love for theatre really began. Seeing the musicals at Roger Rocka’s was one of my favorite experiences as a kid!
KRL: Wow that’s amazing! What was your goal with this show? What do you hope people will take away from it?
Denver: Our goal was to give kids a chance to perform in a unique show built specifically around them. And for audiences to have a few laughs and hopefully leave the theatre with a few tunes stuck in their head 🙂
KRL: Why did Shine! decide to do this show and how did it come about that you knew about it?
Jenny: I have known about Denver and his writing for a while now. I saw the school that his mom teaches at perform a show called Musicville that he wrote. It was cute, catchy and had a good message. Shine! Theatre makes a point of performing original works and supporting local talent. Denver covers both of those. He is a from Fresno. The timing is finally right.
KRL: Can you tell us about the puppets?
Jenny: The puppets are absolutely amazing. About a year ago, we partnered with “Miss Linda”, Linda Drydan. She teaches the puppetry class and FSU. Last year her class used our production of Charlotte’s Web as part of her syllabus. The FSU students created puppets for us to use in our production as part of their course work. It was a wonderful partnership and experience. So much so that we decided to collaborate again and use puppets in We Are Monsters.
KRL: Is this a family show or mostly for kids?
Jenny: This is definitely a family show. The situations and themes in the show are relatable on every level to all ages.
KRL: Is the cast all children?
Jenny: The cast in not only children. In fact, there are more adults than children in the cast.
KRL: When, where and how can people see the show?
Jenny: We are performing this weekend only at the Tower Theatre. February 1 and 2 at 8:00 p.m., and a sensory friendly show on Saturday, February 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.towertheatre.com, by phone at 559-485-9050 or in person at the Tower Theatre box-office located at 815 E. Olive Ave Fresno 93728. Box-office hours are 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can check all of the episodes up so far of the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean. Also check out our other theatre articles and reviews in our Arts and Entertainment section.