Rebecca Feber took the stage at the age of 4, making her debut in her first musical, “Twelve Days of Christmas,” as one of the Seven Swimming Swans. Since then, she has appeared in more than 30 productions.
Now 18, the May graduate of Berkley High School has moved on to writing and directing with the new piece “Biology the Musical”.
In January 2020, Feber approached the board of directors of Ridgedale Players in Troy, pitching her idea to produce a musical that she wrote during the pandemic lockdown. She suggested her show for a fundraising project, in order to give back to the theater its experiences over the years.
Every year, Ridgedale Players puts on a show as a fundraising event, usually a simple comedy with inexpensive sets and costumes to focus more on fundraising.
“It was a great script,” said Sandra Deering, president of Ridgedale Players. “There’s a difference between a show you enjoy and a show you enjoy and that’s well written. It has a logical plot and all the characters make sense.
Feber’s musical is scheduled to hit the stage July 24-25 with two shows a day on the theater’s new outdoor stage, weather permitting.
A student during the pandemic, Feber was upset that he missed out on some of the traditions the senior year brings – especially the shows. Not knowing if she could appear in a senior musical, Feber decided to write one herself.
As she played with the idea, Feber’s AP calculus professor Todd Fadoir explained how Issac Newton discovered calculus and other scientific theories while in isolation at home during the plague of years. 1660. Drawing parallels with the current pandemic, she was inspired to write a musical about the high school experience.
“After my teacher told me that, that’s how it all started,” she says. “I knew I wanted the story to be about students preparing for their AP biology test.”
In an all-student cast, his calculus teacher, Fadoir, is the show’s only adult actor.
Many of the scenes, characters, and lines are taken from real life, mostly from Feber’s own experiences in high school.
Shunning Hollywood stereotypes of the sportsman, nerd, basket and popular girl (music from “The Breakfast Club” theme), Feber wanted her characters to reflect what it’s like to be a teenage girl in high school.
“I tried to make it real,” she says. “There is a false image of what high school is on television and in the movies. I wanted to show what it really looks like and what the kids are really talking about. “
Feber started writing the screenplay in July 2020. Some of his friends got wind of the project and wanted to help.
Her classmate and 2021 graduate, Sofia Bahnmueller, asked if Feber needed any help with music.
“We were friends and I knew she loved making music,” Feber says. “We reviewed my take on the show and talked about songs, but Sofia did most of the music on her own.”
This is Bahnmueller’s first experience in the theater world. She started playing the violin at the age of 5, learned guitar, piano and drums as she grew older, and began to arrange music as part of the school marching band.
Bahnmueller creates music using the Garage Band application on his computer. Composing music for characters on stage rather than creating music as a hobby was a challenge for her.
“There was definitely a learning curve,” she says. “There is a certain structure for musicals. Every song has a reason, so Becca and I collaborated a lot to make the characters clear.
Bahnmueller put herself in each character’s shoes and decided to give each a musical motif.
Immersing himself in theatrical production has given Feber a new level of respect for writers, producers and directors. She looks at TV shows and movies differently now.
“Now that I see how much work and detail goes into directing and producing, I watch shows more critically, and that helps me write lines or develop characters,” she says.
Feber plans to attend Michigan Technological University in the fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Bahnmueller will go to Michigan State University in the fall – working towards a bachelor’s degree in human biology.
If you are going to
“Biology the Musical” performs at 1 pm and 5 pm on July 24 and 25 at 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. Tickets cost $ 15. Visit ridgedaleplayers.com or call 248-988-7049.