The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Fairy tale with a twist

Most college students barely have enough time in the day to call home or clean their bedrooms, but seniors Jon Randhawa and Ken Kruper are not your typical college students.

These seniors are not only balancing classes, jobs, and social lives, but for the last nine months they have been writing, producing, and directing their own musical entitled “Grimm”, based on the Brother’s Grimm fairytales. The show, performed by the Chappell Players, began on Feb. 20 and will end Feb. 27.

“One night, we went out to the city with one of the leads, and talked about writing a fairy tale musical and basing it on the Brother’s Grimm, but add a twist,” said Randhawa.

From there, the idea was pitched to the Chappell Players, the theater group at St. John’s, for the annual children’s show.

“Previously for the children’s show we had to buy rights to the book we wanted to do, but there had been complications,” said Kruper.

“In previous shows we had used Dr. Suess books,” he said.
“The Suess estate would not allow us to change or add anything. It was absolutely absurd trying to make an hour-long musical out of 20 pages of a Dr. Suess book.”

This story focuses on Queen Catherine, (played by senior Bridget McNeely) and her evil twin sister, Angelica (played by junior Amy Ziolkowski) who tries to dethrone her.

In the end, it is only the Queen’s daughter Gretel (with help from her brother Hansel) who can defeat the evil Angelica.
Although the show is only about an hour, it took months of preparation to pull everything together.

Choosing stories from the Brother’s Grimm meant the theater did not have to pay for any rights to use the material, because of how old the stories are.

From there, the creation began to snow ball. It took about two months to write the story, and then from late July to the beginning of Feb. to finish the music.

“I was still walking in with sheet music two weeks ago, changing lyrics,” said Kruper.

The cast includes 13 students, and a number of stage crew members totaling 30 in all.

Randhawa and Kruper both had multiple roles in the production, including music director, set designer, publicity designer, director, and composer.

“People write shows as a career; usually the musical composer hands off the music to someone else to do the orchestration, but not in this case,” said Kruper.

“It is all about time management, and as much as this was crazy putting it together, we knew how much time we had. It was always smooth, because we knew where we stood.”

Needless to say, there was stress associated with wearing multiple hats.

“What social life?” joked Randhawa. “It is the most difficult balance, especially when you are doing something creative that is an output and balancing another life, along with relationships.”

With this show being their own creation, it took tremendous effort to make sure everything was the best it could be.
“The hardest part is finishing and getting it to the audience,” said Randhawa. “You can have so many ideas, but if they’re not strong enough to reach completion then you need to rework something.”

Yet, with every trial comes postive results.

“The beginning process is easy. Once you have to fine tune everything and get it closer to perfection, it gets harder,” said Kruper.

“Everyone would come up to me with problems, but it showed how much everyone cared so much that I did not mind. We were always having a good time with it.”

Although they are going to graduate from St. John’s in the upcoming months, the creators of “Grimm” plan to keep using their creative energy.

Randhawa hopes to pursue a career in the creative aspect of advertising as a copywriter, while Kruper wants to teach.

However, this is not the end of their collaboration.

“Jon and I are always talking about our next show,” Kruper said. “We plan to submit “Grimm” into the Fringe Festival, and see where it goes from there.”

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