Welcome to Wanda’s World—a musical for the tween in all of us! We had a great experience creating this show, and we hope you will have just as great a time performing it! When we first started, we chose to write this story because we felt there were not enough musicals written for and from the perspective of “tweens.” As the show developed, however, we learned that this show resonated with adults, too… that there is a tween in all of us who still feels vulnerable, that each one of us has some kind of “birthmark” which makes us feel set apart, and that middle school politics, unfortunately, often don’t end in middle school. Those early experiences continue to shape who we are, and high school, college, or even what happens at the office can be awfully similar. While we know the story of Wanda will speak to today’s tweens, we also hope the show will bring adults back to those times in a fun way, disempower those bullies and inspire all of us to be more empathic… to accept each other’s birthmarks, whatever they may be. Wanda’s World is truly a show for all ages. We have seen the show done with tweens playing tweens and with adults playing tweens (think You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown meets Hairspray in a middle school). One thing to note is that every character in this show has a “birthmark”: Mr. Lemmings stutters; Ms. Dinglederry, who is Irish, never fit in because of her inexplicable passion for all things Latin; Ty must succeed or risks being shunned by his powerful family; Jenny must be pretty and popular for the same reason; P.J. feels “small”; Alison is socially awkward, and so on… What’s your birthmark? One of the things we have had fun asking our cast members is: “What’s your birthmark?”Answers have ranged from being cross-eyed to being the smallest, to being slow to learn, to having flat feet and can never find any shoes… We have had the good fortune to get to know a lot about people while working on Wanda’s World, and this show has sparked exchanges about topics that generally don’t come up in everyday conversation. Although we have tried to make sure that the slang is up to date, it’s inevitable that references to stars like Justin Bieber and even Facebook, will become obsolete. While we plan to update our script as time goes by, we encourage you to substitute names or expressions that young people are using at the timeof your production. Please know that we will be there in spirit cheering you on… Go Bovines! Break a leg always,
-Eric and Beth
Composer/Lyricist’s notes for Wanda’s World.
Writing the music and lyrics for Wanda’s World has been one of the great joys of my life, and I hope you will have as much fun playing it as I did writing it! I purposefully used styles of music that are, in my opinion, timeless: Rock, Pop, R&B, with some classical thrown in, to evoke the passion and urgency of beginning adolescence. Although it was inspired by these genres, ultimately it’s its own thing. Wanda fantasizes about having her own TV show, so I envisioned something akin to the David Letterman, or now… Jon Baptiste’s “Stay Human” band… a great TV rock band with horns (optional) that are adept at playing any style. The title song, “Wanda’s World” is an amalgamation of 50’s and 60’s R&B. The music starts with a small homage to Jerry Lee Lewis… very driven, repeated chords up high. This is where she is most exuberant, most at home in her own world. “No One Can Know” is an R&B shuffle rock, a little more sassy, and it was inspired by the speech rhythms I heard kids using in the hallways when I hung out at different middle schools doing my research. “She’s So Last Week” is a little darker, funkier… to match Jenny and the clique (Blood Sweat andTears – Spinnin’ Wheel). “What’s Not to Like?” is more upbeat, but still funky… (Earth, Wind and Fire – Shining Star). “Operation Shutdown” – I used rap to portray the bad boys, and in this case, they try very hard to be bad, though they aren’t nearly as bad as they wish they were. “Don’t Mess With Me” is hard rock (Think Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses, White Stripes).“Blow ‘em Away” is rock, “Not Everyone Eats Cheese” is musical theater contemporary,“Diva Latina” is of course Latin, “Routine Halloween” is my homage to “Monster Mash/Thriller,” and “A Face Like Mine” is the “11 o’clock” power ballad. The music of Wanda’s World should be fun, vibrant, and most of all, you should get to rockout as you tell the story!
See all you Cheesemanians in Cheese Valley, including the lactose intolerant!