Stephanie Tobacco started writing the story that became “Morals: Keep Your Thoughts Quiet” over four years ago. It has undergone a number of changes since then and will hit the stage in early May.
“If you read the play then and compared it to what it is now, it’s really different,” Tobacco said. “It’s better.”
What’s happened since then is the involvement of dozens of Tobacco’s friends and local actors, musicians and more. The journey to the stage has been anything but traditional, but the group behind the show, which isn’t typical in the least, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Morals” focuses on people’s inner thoughts and each character’s conscience is also on stage when they are. The main character is Jaden and the show follows her struggle with good and evil. One thing that Tobacco hopes to convey with her show is that people who judge others harshly are often their own worst critics. Tobacco hopes that the audience leaves with some sympathy for those we typically don’t understand.
“Morals” started to take its current shape 18 months ago when Tobacco approached Cody Sisco, a music composition major at Clayton State, to help turn her play into a musical. Sisco had been a part of several bands in Fayette County over the years, including Icarus, and their styles just meshed. Tobacco and Sisco are joined by Brandon Chance in bringing the show to the stage. Sisco, who doesn’t have a musical theater background, has had more rock and classical training and stated that “Morals” sounds more like an album than anything else and the show will have a concert feel.
“People are familiar with shows like ‘Spring Awakening’ and ‘Next to Normal,’ but this will be completely different,” Sisco said. “It can be really rock oriented and but also very orchestral.” The music for the show is being pre-recorded, giving Sisco free range to put in as much as he wants. That seems to be a theme with those involved with the show. They are putting a lot of themselves into it, rehearsing in down time between school, work and extra-curricular activities, because they all have a feeling this could really be something.
“The other night, we were rehearsing a number called ‘Puppet Show,’ and it was like a light clicked on in some of our heads,” Tobacco said. She and Sisco started “Morals” with the idea of putting on something they would like to see and viewing the process as a learning experience, but there is a thought out there that this could be a big deal.
The biggest challenge for Morals has been time. Once they set a deadline for when the show would go up, things began moving quickly. Now they are entering crunch time, preparing to block the second act and getting ready to see the whole thing from start to finish. The excitement of the cast and crew is palpable and the theater community in the area is eager to see how something so unique comes together.
If you are interested in following the process, visit moralsthemusical.tumblr.com where you can hear snippets of the songs and learn more about the show.