Before I met Kristen Tumminello, I had never heard of the WorryWoos. Or the Monster of Innocence. But I did understand something that was fundamental to the WorryWoo Monsters: their message.
“We all have challenges that we are facing, but we can get through anything,” Woosical the Musical co-writer Kristen explained to me over breakfast.
For those not in the know, like me, the WorryWoos are an award winning collection of children’s books by Andi Green. They also happen to be making their world premiere theatrical debut in Huntsville this coming weekend in Woosical the Musical.
That’s right: the WorryWoos are making their stage debut not in LA, not in NYC, but right here in Huntsville! Woosical the Musical co-writer Kristen explains the choice of location.
“Huntsville is how Kelley [Birney, co-writer], Jay [Tumminello, composer], and I connected originally and where we all got our theatrical start, and so we felt it was where we should premiere the show.”
But the trio didn’t choose just any venue for their world premiere; they chose the Lee High School Theater Magnet Program led by Vivienne Atkins.
“Vivienne wanted her kids to have the opportunity to premiere this show. Creating a character from scratch is very different than one that’s been done for 50 years. With Woosical the Musical they can put a part of themselves into it,” Kristen explains.
Kristen and the Woosical the Musical team are no strangers t0 creating characters from scratch. They were all involved in the original production of Fantasy Playhouse’s now famous A Christmas Carol.
It all started at Hallmark
Speaking of starting from scratch… as a fan of all things musical theatre I was terribly curious about the process of creating a musical from scratch and what in the world possessed Kristen to start this project.
“The books just spoke to me; they reminded me of my kids.
“It all started one day after I got groceries at Star Market in Five Points. I saw the books at Hallmark and went in and literally sat on the floor and read the books out loud to my kids. I was tearing up just reading them.
“I was reading the books again about six months later and it just clicked. I thought this should be a musical.”
The Journey to the Stage
That was early 2011. But an idea does not a musical make.
Kristen still lacked one important thing: permission from Andi Green, the author of the WorryWoo books. And she went about it in a very unconventional way.
“I sent her a hand-written letter that said I wanted to meet about making a musical. Within a week she replied and said she wanted to meet!”
The two met in April 2011 in New Jersey where Andi lives and immediately hit it off.
“Andi is one of those people who when you meet you want to be your best friend. When she heard the song we wrote, she loved it and wanted to be a part of the project.”
Three readings later, here we are: at the show’s world premiere in Huntsville, Alabama.
About this time you’re probably thinking that Woosical the Musical is just a show for little kids. But Kristen would say nay!
“This is a story that’s relevant to everyone, not just kids. Every character personifies an emotion; everybody deals with those emotions. I get something new out of these characters every time.”
I certainly plan to be in the audience. And I’m no little kid.
But if you do have kids and they are WorryWoo fans, then you need to put this on your calendar NOW! At each performance, there will be a meet and greet after the show with the characters. The author Andi Green will also be attending the shows and available to sign books. Wondering if your kids can sit through the show? It runs 90 minutes, no intermission.
- Find Woosical the Musical on Facebook
- Visit the WorryWoos website
- Find the WorryWoos on Facebook
- Read more about performing arts in Huntsville
Dates and Times:
- September 19th at 7pm
- September 20th at 7pm
- September 21st 1pm
- September 21st 4pm
Location: Lee Lyric Theater
Cost: Students $8, Adults $10
Tickets: Avalible by calling 256-426-0316, at The Toy Place downtown or at the door