An interview with Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald, the writers of Festival 2011 show Pregnancy Pact, as they prepare for the show’s world premiere this August at the Weston Playhouse Theatre Co. in Weston, VT.
Pregnancy Pact is a pop-rock musical about a group of teens who make a pact to become single mothers together. 15-year-old Maddie is devoted to her three best friends and they are to her. So when Brynn gets pregnant, the friends all plan to have children, raising them together in a dream of a perfect life. Their pact grows as other girls find out and want in. The bubble finally bursts when their secret is revealed, leaving each of the girls to face the hard realities of love, responsibility and growing up
The show was fairly young when it came to the Festival. What was it like to put it up in front of the membership and industry at such an early stage?
Having only had one staged reading of the show before the Festival, it was thrilling to be able to share our work with such a large and enthusiastic audience. Beyond the thrill, the process of preparing for the Festival was immensely helpful. Since we chose to present an abridged version of the full piece, we were tasked with condensing the show down to its most important elements. It gave us a very clear idea of what story we are telling, which has helped us greatly as we continue to refine and reshape the piece.
What was the response to the show like after the Festival?
We got a full spectrum of responses. Even though some NAMT members doubted that their audience would want to see a show with language like ours dealing with issues of teenage sexuality and pregnancy, everyone we talked to was excited by the show’s energy.
What has it been like leaving the Festival knowing that in less than a year you would have a world premiere?
We feel very lucky to get to continue working with Weston Playhouse [after previously winning the Weston’s New Musical Theatre Award]. Their phenomenally supportive community has embraced the Playhouse’s interest in new work, giving us the opportunity to jump right in to seeing the show come to life fully. Given the challenging subject matter of Pregnancy Pact, we are happy to have a production in place to show the rest of the NAMT membership that it can be done!
What has changed to the show since the Festival?
We were lucky enough to participate in CAP21’s Writers Co-Op in January. Over those two weeks we were able to tackle a number of rewrites, including a number of streamlined scenes, a few new bridges for existing songs and an altogether new song to replace an existing one towards the end of the first act. We’ve also decided to have one actor play all of the male roles, so now we’ll only be working with seven actors.
What excites you about going up to VT this summer?
Since the show is still relatively young, we have yet to see it on its feet. We can’t wait to work with our production team to see the visual world of the show. The way the characters interact with technology and the way movement might be involved in the songs are especially exciting for us, as these are things we’ve largely had to imagine in readings.
How much do you expect the show to change between now and opening night?
We expect to do a fair amount of rewriting as the show gets staged. We feel that the structure of the piece is sound but look forward to working within that structure to realize a full production.
Why would YOU want to go see the show up at Weston this summer (if you hadn’t written it)?
The show tells a story we haven’t seen before about what it’s like to be a teenage girl in America today. Plus, we would travel any distance to hear these truly fierce beltresses on some new pop-rock musical theatre tunes!
For more information on Pregnancy Pact, head to www.westonplayhouse.org.