World premiere of horror comedy “Human Resources: The Musical” to debut online this December.
A team of artists from across the country are excited to announce the premiere of a brand new musical. Yes, it’s online. Yes, they’re doing this in quarantine. And yes, they want you to see it. That musical is Human Resources, with book and lyrics by Mallory Schlossberg, music by Schlossberg and Alexandra Smith, and arrangements and full scoring by Smith.
Emily (Megan Rabuse) is down on her luck after losing her job at a wellness startup, which was supposed to cover her IVF treatment. With $90,000 in grad school debt, there’s no way she and her husband, Max (Nathan Clemenson) can afford IVF. Things take a turn when she gets a phone call from Greener Pastures, the biggest health food empire in the world. Emily quickly gets hired and learns things at Greener Pastures are...a little different. The CEO only appears as a stock photo on video calls. They call each other part of the “family.” And pregnant women seem to leave and mysteriously never come back. Greener Pastures’ mission is “to feed the earth,” and...let’s just say they take that pretty seriously. Ultimately, Human Resources is a timely satirical B-horror comedy that specifically touches on the unsavory ways women are treated in the workplace. You know, like they’re disposable.
Schlossberg and Smith met in early 2020 when they were working on a separate musical project in the Austin improv scene. That project never came to fruition due to the pandemic, but the two had spent time during the early stages of the pandemic trying to figure out how to make musical improv work over the internet. Later, Schlossberg reached out to Smith mid-quarantine for help with a project she had been working on. That project was Human Resources….and the rest is, well, what you’re reading about now!
“Working on Human Resources has been an exhilarating delight,” says Smith, who in addition to her composition duties, is also the show’s musical director. “The focus and stamina it takes to put on a full-length musical in person is a lot, and it takes even more to do it all from scratch over the internet. While I wouldn’t trade conducting a choir or orchestra in person for the virtual world, making music is always a journey worth taking. I’m so proud to be working on this project.”
There are some unique perks to performing virtually: a lower barrier to entry for the audience. More people can see the production, which means more people get to see new theater. “I’m excited to share this fresh new musical with a wide audience,” says Schlossberg, who also serves as director. “Given the way that women have dropped out of the labor force in droves during the pandemic, it feels oddly fitting to be telling a story about the false binaries presented to women. I’m also incredibly proud of the team, who has been working tirelessly to bring this show to life. They view perceived technical limitations as creative opportunities.”
Human Resources features a cast and crew of nearly 30, with the majority from Austin, but with others from Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and more. The team has spent many hours finding creative solutions to make the production as theatrical as possible over Zoom and livestream. That means audio engineering, designing video solutions, virtual choreography (and fight choreography!), discovering how to make scene transitions work, and figuring out just how many fake steaks we need in a scene (the answer is two). It really takes a lot of tech magic to make virtual theater happen.
As for debuting new theater over the internet? “I don’t think you wait for art,” says Schlossberg. We need to be making things right now and remember how vital theater is.”
Learn more about Human Resources and purchase tickets by visiting humanresourcesmusical.com. Human Resources will be performed and livestreamed on December 4, 5, 11 and, 12. Tickets are donation-based, with proceeds going directly to the cast and crew.
“Human Resources: The Musical.” Book and lyrics by Mallory Schlossberg. Music by Mallory Schlossberg and Alexandra Smith. Arrangements and full scoring by Alexandra Smith.
Directed by Mallory Schlossberg. Musical direction by Alexandra Smith. Choreography and movement by Kelly Hasandras.
Cast: Alan Blake, Nathan Clemenson, Leon Clinton, Susannah Crowell, Margaret Hunsicker, Richard Jones, Lexi Luna, Emily McDonald, Charissa Memrick, Danielle Molly, Johanna Paszalek, Megan Rabuse, Leyla Rodriguez, Robin Rothman, Chael Rose, Gabrielle Smith, Bianka Torres
Production team: Tosin Awofeso, Braden Baumbach, Colleen Bean Bell, Charlotte Brown, Elana Schlossberg, Kenzie Slottow, Hailey Strader
Price: General Admission: USD 0.00
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm