JACK THE RIPPER: THE MUSICAL is a new musical from upcoming writers Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. The new musical is still in the writers room (on both ends) and has currently not seen the light of day, apart from its Facebook page. The Thespians are here to provide you with an exclusive insight into the weirdly wonderful minds of the shows book writer, Aaron.
Question: First off – why Jack The Ripper? What drew you to the sick, twisted world of the unknown serial killer?
Aaron: Well, I have always loved history, from a very early age. I was involved in a lot of musicals as a performer, and back in 2014 had the idea to write my own. As a new writer I wanted to start out with a story set in stone, so I thought a piece of classic history. I wanted to do something dark, as I thought that there where too many happy, cheesy musicals out there. So the idea of a new dark British historical musical came to mind, looking back to year 9 history classes I recalled studying Jack the Ripper.
Question: Do you have any theories on the identity of the killer and how do you spin it into the show?
Aaron: I have my own idea of who the murderer could have been. we haven’t yet touched on the suspects yet, but I’m sure we will, we certainly won’t point the finger on anyone saying “oh yes it’s him!” as we want the mystery element to the piece and want the audience to ask questions and make up their own minds. Everyone likes a classic who dunnit, and Jack The Ripper is the classic who dunnit!!
Question: What has inspired you music and book-wise towards your musical?
Aaron: We have been inspired by musicals like Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde, Dracula and Sweeney Todd. Me and Christopher are after a musical thriller element to the piece to create an on the edge of your seat, tense and very sinister atmosphere so writers like Stephen Sondheim are massive influences! We also look up to Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricuisse who wrote Jekyll & Hyde, the music in that is so atmospheric, beautiful and gripping, as is the book and lyrics of Leslie Bricuisse and we want the audience to feel so many levels of atmosphere, tension, and fear so these writers prove hugely influential in helping us make the show what it will be!
Question: If you could cast anyone in the role of Jack The Ripper, who would it be and why?
Aaron: Me and Christopher haven’t set anything in stone about casting just yet, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. However I myself have an actor called Stephen Carlile in mind. I saw him in The Lion King as Scar here in Liverpool when it was on tour and was blown away by his incredible singing voice and his villainous appeal. He’s one to keep in mind, but as I say nothing is set in stone yet.
Question: When are you looking to premiere the musical and for a how long run?
Aaron: We are looking at anytime between 2019 to 2020 for its world premiere. I have nearly finished the script for Act I and hopefully ill have that done by the end of the year and Act II’s script done for this time next year with all of the music done for 2018. After it’s all done and edited we’ll look for a producer and have the premiere for either 2019 or 2020. Our vision is to have a season of 3 to 4 weeks here in my hometown of Liverpool before a UK and Ireland tour, all depending on the production’s scale and who produces it.
Question: Finally, if you could describe Jack The Ripper in three words, what would they be?
Aaron: Amazing, tense and gripping.
Jack The Ripper is written by Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. For updates on the show, please visit the official Facebook page.
We definitely can’t wait to see where this show goes! It looks like it’s gonna be intense and a wild, emotional roller coaster.
Hope you enjoyed this interview! Thanks for reading!
Nathan and Charlie xoxo