Abington's Own 'Awesome Alliteration'
Two Abington Senior High School grads create a musical from the ground up; the show opens this weekend at the Adrienne Theater and is part of Philly Fringe.
Most of us have probably said to ourselves, “Man, I should write a novel/screenplay/musical about the quirks and idiosyncrasies of my job.”
You ever follow through with this thought? I didn’t think so.
Two Abington High School graduates did, though. David Orlansky and Josh Levin, both graduates of the Class of 2005, used their profession as a backdrop for a musical. It’s called “Awesome Alliteration: The Magical Musical,” and it’s about a school district superintendent who eliminates literary devices from the school’s curriculum after his fiancé dies after reading a flowery love letter from the superintendent.
Twelve years after the embargo, a new-to-the-school teacher, Gary Soos, fights to bring back the lost idioms and metaphors. In the musical, Soos gets into the profession of teaching through the program “Teaching America.” Levin and Orlansky also both got into teaching through a similar program, Teaching Fellows, in Philadelphia. Orlansky is a special education teacher in the Lower Merion School District and Levin is a teacher at the World Communications Charter School in Philadelphia.
“We got the idea for [Awesome Alliteration] by just talking one day and we thought it’d be really funny if people were always using alliterations and then we just turned it around and thought, ‘What would it be like if there was none of that in a town? How would people talk? What would the world be like? And we kind of created this world from there,” Levin said.
The show had its first run in February. Orlansky, who has a background in piano and wrote the songs, said many of the same actors are back for this go-around. This performance includes a re-write, offers up more songs and should be funnier.
It’s not just a goofy musical about an absurd superintendent. Though the musical has mass appeal, Orlansky said the show is filled with inside jokes about the everyday dealings of teachers — jokes about the amount of acronyms used in their field, and jokes about Adequate Yearly Progress, which is itself … an acronym, AYP.
“You see a lot of different ways that the administration wants you to teach and they aren’t always the most effective,” Orlansky said, “and I think education is a very easy thing to parody. There are so many people involved and it’s such a team effort. There’s the constant back-and-forth of state regulations and district regulations. There’s a lot of bureaucracy involved and it sort of lends itself to satire.”
The musical will run from Sept. 7 through Sept. 30 at The SkyBox at The Adrienne Theater. Shows will be every Friday night and Saturday night at 8 p.m. There will also be matinees every Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at the door or in advance through the Live Arts and Philly Fringe Box Office; or by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/257461.