Rock Comedy Musical Takes the Stage


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“The Eleventh Hour!” makes its Off-Broadway debut in TriBeCa


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  • Nevin Denham, a basement rocker, and his ex-girlfriend and an astrophysicist, Amy Leonardo, might have the key to surviving the black hole coming down straight on earth. Photo: Zack Morrison




  • Smugbug Productions; the rockmusical “The Eleventh Hour! makes its Off-Broadway debut in Tribeca at the Town Stages. Photo: Zack Morrison




  • At NY Winterfest 2018, “The Eleventh Hour!” won seven awards, including most creative play. Photo: Zack Morrison




The world is ending in New Jersey. Nevin Denham, a basement rocker, and his ex-girlfriend and an astrophysicist, Amy Leonardo, might have the key to surviving the black hole coming down straight on earth.

This all takes place in the basement of his home in New Brunswick. The end of the world is 12 hours away, and they must make it through a dangerous journey down the New Jersey Turnpike, with the help of the mole people who live underneath it. We follow Nevin and Amy’s failed relationship, possible reconciliation and the fight for their lives and the world. This is a sci-fi musical, “The Eleventh Hour!”

Smugbug Productions presents the official Off-Broadway debut of “The Eleventh Hour!” a new sci-fi rock comedy musical by David Seamon. The apocalyptic journey begins at Town Stages in TriBeCa on Sept. 28 and will run until Nov. 16.

Seamon, 29, is the writer and composer of the 90-minute play. He studied journalism at Rutgers University and entered the field after he graduated. He’s very familiar with the New Brunswick basement rock scene, which is where he grew up and went to college.

“The Eleventh Hour!” was originally created for a 48-hour musical challenge in 2015. Seamon and two other partners had two days to write, rehearse and put on an original musical. The themes they were given to write about were religion and politics. They went into a basement in New Brunswick and started to spitball ideas. In their opinion, the only time religion and politics really mattered was at the end of the world. So, they decided to write an apocalypse musical.

“We felt a black hole was pretty final, it was going to get the job done,” Seamon said. “There was no way to misconstrue the world was ending. One of us picked up a guitar and just started shouting “black hole” at each other and saying really nasty things about religion and politics, and that became the first draft of our script.”

Seamon said “The Eleventh Hour!” was a huge success at the final performance at the 48-hour musical. A couple of months later Dan Swern, the founding owner of Smugbug Productions, met up with Seamon and told him he thought “The Eleventh Hour!” could be something. He commissioned Seamon to make a full-length musical in August of 2015.

“Dan always knew what was special about the play, and it took me a while to see it. He thought the whole basement bands aspect was the most interesting, and being from New Brunswick I couldn’t see it, I didn’t know that was cool or that anybody would think that was cool,” Seamon said.

After receiving notes, Seamon turned in a draft to Swern in 2017 and they sent out festival applications. They got into NY Winterfest, which was in January 2018 at the Hudson Guild Theater in Chelsea. They put on three sold out shows and won Best Singer, Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design, Best Directing, Best Score, Most Creative Play and Best Overall Production. He said they were able to entice someone who saw the show to make a generous donation to the production, Swern was able to turn that into a budget for two runs of the show.

There will be 16 shows at Town Stages and there are 99 seats in the theater. The stage is set up so that there will be two platforms and a 17 to 20-foot-long runway in the middle. One platform will signify New Jersey and the other will signify New York.

Seamon said it was very important for him and the team to work with a female director, and then they found Jessica Fichter.

“I’m just in awe of what Jess is doing, it’s surprising and deep and a really different show all together, and we’re really excited and love what she’s done. I wrote a show about the end of the world in a basement band and there’s a medieval knight who comes and sings a song, there’s mole people who sings songs, it’s kind of a high sci-fi universe,” Seamon said. “Jess is taking it very serious, she’s putting her whole self into this show.”

Fichter has been directing for 10 years (her work has included children’s theater, comedies and dramas), and she has a special place in her heart for musicals. She is most excited for the audience interaction during the show.

“If you’re an audience member you may get like a trinket, you may get a glow stick, a kazoo, a blow-up sword, there’s a lot of encouraging audience members to play along and clap along,” said Fichter. “There’s a lot of fun little things that bring the audience into the show.”

Performances are at 8:00 p.m., with a preshow by local bands starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.00. For tickets go to eleventhhourmusical.com.






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