After receiving rave reviews in its debut season, earlier this year, new punk rock musical 107 written and composed by Michele Gould is officially back!
107’s story is simple yet sharp, it follows four teens as they wait for a school bus that seems like it may never arrive. During this time conversations covering everything under the sun unfold… that’s the scorching Perth sun to be exact!
From very justified rants about global issues like gender equality and racism to confessions about their own internal battles, nothing is off the table as these private school students develop an unlikely friendship.
Delighted by the news of the its return, I sent the show’s writer and composer Michele Gould a few questions to get a preview into what old and new audiences of 107 can expect in its upcoming season at The Blue Room Theatre.
Holly: Hey Michele, congrats on bringing back 107! How does it feel to return for another season?
Michele: Thank you! It’s equally thrilling and nerve wracking. We had such a warm reception so there’s an aspect of wanting to meet and exceed expectations. We’ve now got 9 new songs and a 30 minute longer show, and the story has had some development, so I’m excited to see what old and new audiences think of the work.
Holly: What were some of the highlights from the show’s first run during Summer Nights earlier this year?
Michele: My favourite night had to be when the fire alarm went off mid-show and we all had to be evacuated, and then our sound desk died during the closing number; the cast were incredible and finished the show acapella to a standing ovation! It said a lot about the work and everyone’s trust in each other, and it was a magical experience that I’ll keep with me for a long time.
(This is Holly jumping in to say I was at this particular performance and can confirm, it was epic!!)
The 107 cast with writer and composer Michele Gould
Holly: Can you talk us through the changes that have been made to the show? And who has joined the team?
Michele: With the opportunity for a main season we wanted to polish off some of the ideas in our summer nights season, and bring on board collaborators that could help to fully realise the work. We’ve brought on Vanitha Hart to arrange and vocally direct the work and are working with a music producer, Luke Minness, in his studio on the 19 tracks for the show. Together they’ve really ramped up the quality and complexity of the songs, and the whole show feels much more like a finished musical. We’ve also had two new cast members join the team, Melody Castledine and Sun-Mi Clyburn, who have incredible voices and have brought their own flavour to these characters and really made it their own. It’s been awesome to work with artists that I haven’t worked with before, but we’ve all managed to re-create the cosy family dynamic that made the summer nights season so special.
Holly: How has working on the show for a second time been different from the first time?
Michele: Both experiences have had their pros and cons. There was something really wild and fun about a festival-type show that we built off of a laptop-produced soundtrack. But there’s also something incredibly professionally affirming about things being bigger (better, and brattier). We’ve now got sheet music for the first time with some incredible arrangements and can make some really exciting design choices with a more permanent home in the theatre space. Having time between the runs has also meant I can bring a fresh perspective to the script, and I think some of our old audiences will really love the changes we’ve made – we just keep raising that pride flag higher and higher.
Holly: What makes 107 unique or different when comparing it to other musicals?
Michele: Something I’m really proud of is the stillness of this narrative; this story is about four girls waiting at a bus stop, it’s a celebration of their faults, their boredom and their uncertainty. This musical gives audiences permission to come as they are and be real in a space that invites introspection and solidarity. In a genre known for its showmanship, we’ve created something really earnest and grounded (and still a lot of fun).
Holly: What do you hope audiences will take away from the show?
Michele: Pride and Punk-rock.
Holly: And, any chance there’s a third run on the horizon too?
Michele: I can absolutely guarantee that the bus ride doesn’t end here, but you’ll just have to stay tuned for that announcement!
107 will run at The Blue Room Theatre from the 1st to the 19th of November.