Qualicum Beach native Brooke Maxwell’s musical Ride the Cyclone will be heading to the Big Apple this fall.
Ride the Cyclone, written Jacob Richmond with lyrics and music written by both Maxwell and Richmond, started its run in Victoria through Atomic Vaudeville about seven or eight years ago, according to Maxwell.
Since then, the musical has been performed across Canada and even in Chicago at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in late 2015.
“Chicago was a test to see how Americans would respond,” Maxwell said, adding that the run in Chicago went really well.
Now, later this year Ride the Cyclone will be heading to the Lucille Lortel Theatre as part of the MCC Theater’s 2016/17 season in New York City. The musical will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 18.
Maxwell said Ride the Cyclone was picked up by well-known and successful Broadway producer Kevin McCollum about five years ago.
“He’s sort of been grooming us along and giving us different opportunities,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell said Ride the Cyclone is about six teenagers from a chamber choir in Uranium, Sask. who die in a roller coaster accident at a travelling fair.
There’s a twist though, Maxwell said.
“It turns into a psychic competition in the afterlife,” he said, adding that one of the teenagers can be brought back to life.
Karnack, a mechanized fortune-telling machine, gives the teens a chance to express themselves to the world after death, according to Atomic Vaudeville’s website.
“Ride the Cyclone is their final recital, where they celebrate their individuality while coming to terms with their untimely demise.”
Maxwell said he’s not really a musical theatre guy, but this isn’t his first musical.
Maxwell went to Kwalikum Secondary School, and he said he remembers being in a production of The Sound of Music (he played Captain Von Trapp) when he was in Grade 11.
“It was the only musical I was ever in,” he said, joking that his teacher B.J. Christiansen forced him into the role.
During his time at KSS, Maxwell was taught by Bill Cave. Maxwell said he then went on to study jazz at Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University) and Berkley College of Music in Boston.
It was then, Maxwell said he started musical composition, but he added his Grade 9 English teacher at KSS was a big influence with his writing.
“He allowed us to write songs or poems instead of essays,” Maxwell said. “It was the first time I ever wrote a song.”
He said some of his musical interests are Tom Waites, David Bowie and The Beatles.
Because of his “eclectic mix of music,” Maxwell said all six teenagers have very different styles. He said some of the songs are hip-hop while others are more “Bowie-esque” and some are more “corporate-pop-Taylor-Swift.”
“That eclectic-ness has attributed to (Ride the Cyclone’s) success,” Maxwell said.
According to New York Theatre Guide, Ride the Cyclone is the only the third musical to be produced by MCC Theater.