Interview lead by Charlie White & Nathan Deane
Hey guys! Charlie and Nathan here, we’re back with another interview with not only one, but two writers of the new Jack The Ripper musical, Christopher Pelling and Aaron Barker. They’re back to discuss more on all things JTR!
Describe your thought process whilst writing the show.
Christopher: I think that my part to play is to really capture the truth in these events, and express them through my lyrics and music. It takes precision to get the right effect, and I know I want to get it right and serve justice to these events. The opportunity to make this has certainly opened my eyes on the subject, and I hope it will open the eyes of others too.
Aaron: For me it’s simply abAaout finding the inspiration, and with us writing a musical based on the true events of Jack The Ripper, it’s all about what actually happened and working out how to adapt a true event into a stage adaptation aimed to the vision me and Christopher share, we have a very similar creative common ground and that’s something I value and work with as a writer. The forefront of my mind is the vision and what will look and sound good as a musical.
What parts of the story will the songs tell?
Christopher: The songs will fill some of the key moments and possibly fill in the gaps that have been potentially missed out. I want the songs to stick with the audience, to bring out the truth and highlight the moments that make the events what they are today.
Aaron: The songs will certainly help to develop the plot and with any musical contain a few show stoppers! We want to set up an image of who Jack The Ripper could have been with out saying “Oh yes, it’s him” but give an idea into his mind and madness as well as capture the atmosphere and the aggression of the citizens of Whitechapel and the two police forces in the investigation.
What musicals have inspired this show entirely?
Aaron: Absolutely! For me the main influences for us both be Jekyll & Hyde, Sweeney Todd, Dracula and Frankenstein. Myself personally, as generic as it sounds have taken a hint of influence from Les Misérables and some of my all time favourites like the element of tragedy from both Blood Brothers and Whistle Down The Wind. Absolutely, there’s something about Jekyll & Hyde that’s so capivating and atmospheric, from the very get go, the genius that is Frank Wildhorn has the ability to throw so many emotions in the mix and get the audience locked into a story and feel so many levels of atmosphere! And that’s exactly what me and Christopher what in Jack The Ripper: The Musical.
Christopher: ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has been something that definitely kept me going. It’s the perfect dark atmosphere, it conveys the story-line perfectly and I believe it’s something I want to live up to. Many other thriller-type musicals such as ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ have all contributed the desired atmosphere that I want to create in my own way and I’m sure that together Aaron and I will create it perfectly.
Where do you see the show in 20 years time?
Aaron: I hope the show can be in London! The home of Jack The Ripper! A West End run would be perfect, I also have hopes of it touring the UK and Internationally to Europe, Asia and Australia. I also would be honoured seeing amateur, youth and school groups. We have a few ideas lurking groups performing the show, as it’s something different and at the same time for students, educational! We have a few ideas as to where the show will get performed, it’s a matter of aiming for them and hoping that the show can only strengthen.
Are there any novels/books about Jack The Ripper that have become a part of the shows text?
Aaron: Not really no, we’re just watching documentaries and finding out information by informative online resources. If it wasn’t for my history teacher in Year 9 the spark wouldn’t have triggered, and I wouldn’t have been writing this musical! I owe it all to her!
Christopher: I’ve currently been looking at many different documentaries on Jack the Ripper, I’ve also been in discussion with my history tutor on the matter, as he has a large expanse of knowledge on it.
How will you manage the graphic parts of the story?
Aaron: We haven’t yet thought on staging for the graphic nature of his killings, but definitely the atmosphere and the fear! We have a vision and when it comes to staging it we’ll cross that bridge then with the production team. All I can say is, Blood, and hopefully, lot’s of it! In terms of what we’ve written, so far the tension is immense, I often read over the draft script thinking, “did I write that?!” As it’s so sadistic and hopefully justifies what happened on these true events
Christopher: I think currently we just want to get our main material so we have something to work with first. At least with some decent material we have a show to put together! I’m sure there will be plenty of graphic nature to show in the musical, after all, what’s Jack the Ripper without a few buckets of blood?
And finally, any thoughts on ticket prices? Will they be Hamilton extreme?
Christopher: Ticket prices are beyond my thinking. I’d like to think we’d get decent money from the show, but I couldn’t say. Aaron would know more about this than me, I can assure you.
Aaron: For a world premiere, NO, I understand that musical is extremely popular and written by an established writer, therefore the ticket prices are through the roof, but for us as brand new writers and a brand new musical, absolutely not! We want as many people to come and see the show as possible whilst being blown away for good value! We haven’t discussed it yet, so that’s another bridge we’ll cross, but certainly not the price of big blockbuster West End/Broadway shows.
Jack The Ripper is written by Aaron Barker and Christopher Pelling. For updates on the show, please visit the official Facebook page.