The following is an interview with Justin Moran regarding his currently running production of The Spidey Project at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Moran about returning to the show after its 2011 debut, we he hopes that audiences will take away from the show, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your play, The Spidey Project, is currently appearing as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about its premise?
Justin Moran: The Spidey Project is a musical “parody” of the Spider-Man origin story. Nerdy social outcast Peter Parker takes on an alter ego as he attempts to defeat a dastardly collection of terrifying villains and perhaps his biggest nemesis of all…himself.
The “Project” element of The Spidey Project comes from its genesis. It started as more of a theater movement than book-musical. Similarly to how Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog was created during the writer’s strike to prove (among other things) internet distribution’s viability (if I’m remembering that right); The Spidey Project launched during the height of the PR nightmare of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which was costing more than the next 10 most expensive musicals combined, and injuring its actors with overblown tech, and endlessly delaying its opening. I posed a question to the internet: “How important is $65 million in making good theater?” And I suggested we write, cast, rehearse, design, and open a Spider-Man musical in just one month focusing instead on heart, story-telling, characters and imagination. The theater community got behind the idea, and we took off from there.
BD: The Spidey Project made its debut in New York in 2011, followed by its west coast debut in 2012 with Theatre Unleashed. What can you share with us about your experience in returning to the production and how it may have evolved over time?
JM: It’s been great to return to The Spidey Project! We [the creators] had filed the show away with no real plans to return to it. Back in 2011 after the show closed there were several false starts for developing it further, including a national tour and a west end premiere… neither ended up panning out. But each time something would almost happen, we would make some notes about things we’d love to add or fix for that mythical “some day.”
Finally, enough stars aligned for a new production of Spidey, and we had cause to go back to those notes and finally make a new production. The result is a musical which maintains all the heart (and most of the scenic content) of the original, with new songs to fill out moments that were missing their musical elements, and tighter dialogue for cleaner character arcs. The same scrappy show, but this time we had more than two days to focus on the writing.
BD: You have a fantastic cast and crew involved with the project! What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the team and bringing the show to life?
JM: The cast is amazing! The first piece of directing advice I was ever given was from my parents when I was in high school, they said: “90% of directing is casting.” Couldn’t agree more!
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
JM: A great time! There is nothing like being in a room full of people laughing and having a great time together. It creates a sense of community for the audience like it does for the cast. It’s important to come together in isolating times.
The real message of the show is summed up cleanly in the chorus of the finale, but I won’t spoiler it for any planning to see the show! It’s hope and togetherness.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for The Spidey Project?
JM: Their support and enthusiasm. Projects that are franchise parodies have a narrower market, The Hollywood Fringe has been so supportive!
BD: The show will be appearing at the Studio/Stage through June 24, 2017. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
JM: I don’t think this is something I’m allowed to discuss right now. 🙂
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
JM: My newest musical, How to Survive an Apocalypse Without Really Trying, will be ready for its first workshop late this fall! It’s about exactly what it sounds like!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for The Spidey Project?
JM: For any interested in checking us out at Hollywood Fringe: http://hff17.com/4398
For any who want to check out the cast recording before you buy tickets: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Q5Uf600Tl7O7kMdUhZax7
For any who want to see what the process was like writing and creating an entire musical from scratch in under 30 days for 0 dollars: thespideyproject.blogspot.com