A new rock musical, Manson's Girls, based on the true story of Charles Manson killings in the late 1960's, will be presented the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood, CA for four nights only, on July 30-31 and August 6-8.
'Manson's Girls' traces the storylines of a half-dozen of the young women who were involved with the Sharon Tate and LaBianca murders in August, 1969. During the course of the musical, Linda Kasabian joins the Manson Family and transforms from a wide-eyed young runaway from New Hampshire to one of Manson's Girls, capable of committing murder 35 days later.
"It's not a gruesome musical," says bookwriter Scott Guy, "We don't dwell on the actual killings. It's much more an exploration of what happens when you give your mind over to someone else, whether that person is a cult leader, or religious or political of cultural figure. The Manson Family gave these girls comfort, friendship, stability and even love....It's really only when they stopped thinking for themselves that the slope became too slippery for them to turn back."
Manson's Girls was developed by the Academy for New Musical Theatre in partnership with the Department of Drama at University of California Irvine, where it was featured at the 2012 Festival of New Musicals.
The musical will be presented in staged concert reading format for four evenings, featuring a mainly-UCIrvine cast. Manson will be played by professional actor Christopher Maikish.
"Just the idea of playing Manson is already a bit creepy," says Maikish. "And what can be seriously unsettling (and fascinating) in this version is not the expected portrait of an eventual cult monster, but rather a charismatic and often kind father figure. His worldview is of course flawed and deeply troubling, but I'm really enjoying the exploration of Manson pre-Helter Skelter, the magnetic singer-philosopher who attracts a tribe of lost girls."
The music has been one of the driving forces in the workshopping of this musical. Composer Todd Irving says that "the theatricality of the music comes first and foremost in this piece; secondly is a sense of the 60's music...but it's not an imitation of 60's music; it evokes it without quoting it."
The concert will feature a small rock combo, and a cast of ten, music directed by UCIrvine's Dr. Gary Busby, directed by Little Fish Theatre's Stephanie Coltrin.
"We're exploring the inner lives of these girls," explains Coltrin, "trying to make sure they're real and honest, so the audience has a fighting chance of understanding them and maybe even possibly feeling for them. Ultimately, the show is about the pecking order of the girls, with a constant grasping for Charles Manson's attention and affection. I think the writers have done a phenomenal job at getting inside the heads of these girls, rather than just make them drug-crazed cult followers. You almost get the sense that the same thing might have happened to YOU, if you'd been there on the Manson Family Ranch that scary July in 1969."
The evening's hosting producer, the Academy of New Musical Theatre (ANMT) is a 501(c)3 "not-for-profit" global community of writers, composers, producers and actors who work together to create new musicals. In addition to staging entertaining and engaging musicals for public performance, ANMT also offers various workshops and classes to assist in all aspects with the creation and cultivation of new Musical Theatre Works for the stage.
The performance are Monday and Tuesday, July 30 and 31, August 6 and 8, at 8:30 PM. Ticket prices are $10. At The NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia, North Hollywood, CA 91601. For tickets, visit www.ANMT.org.