For 122 years the Princeton Triangle Club has been creating original student-written musicals. In fact, it has the distinction of being the oldest touring collegiate musical comedy troupe in the nation — older than Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club.
While the creation of an original Triangle show takes approximately a year from initial concept to final production, it’s through the mentorship of the club’s professionals — and the experience of its veteran writers — that new members are able to learn how to write a full-length musical comedy or revue for a cast of 25.
The process begins in early spring when Triangle writers brainstorm ideas for the next year’s show.
“Once they decide on a theme, the writers will spend the next several weeks generating a ton of material. The best material is then presented to the Triangle trustees and professional staff in a kind of ‘backer’s audition’ during Reunions,” explains Triangle president J. T. Glaze.
The writers continue to edit and shape the show over the summer, presenting a draft during the first week of classes in September. Coordinators then cast the show and begin rehearsals.
The show traditionally opens on the weekend before Thanksgiving –– this year it runs Friday through Sunday, November 16 to 18. The club then goes on a national tour in January during intersession (the only such co-ed collegiate troupe to do so) and presents the show for the final time during the Princeton Reunions in May.
The creation of this year’s show began in April with members meeting in a weekly “writer’s workshop” and pitching ideas.
The club’s current writing coordinators, Adam Mastroianni and Dan Abromowitz, explain, “We narrow down those initial ideas to about a handful based on which ones garner the most support and excitement. We spend some time writing to those few pitches, testing each idea to see if we’d like to build a show around it. Out of that process a consensus forms around which idea seems the most viable, original, and exciting. This year, the pitch for a revue about the great outdoors won that process. It started as one writer’s idea, but it quickly grows into something larger than just one person’s original pitch, an idea that belongs to all of us.”
Every year, the writing teams have to find a new theme that merits joking, singing, dancing, and of course incorporates the signature kickline. “We thought the great outdoors fit that bill: it’s a backdrop against which lots of dramatic and funny things can happen, and one that hasn’t been explored much either by Triangle or musical comedy in general. ‘Tree’s Company’ is the only show around that can fit Paul Bunyan, Amazon warriors, park rangers, and Dr. Seuss all on the same stage,” say Mastroianni and Abromowitz.
“Tree’s Company (Forest’s a Crowd),” Princeton Triangle Club, McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, Princeton. Friday, November 16, and Saturday, November 16, 8 p.m.; Sunday, November 18, 2 p.m. $25 to $50. 609-258-2787 or www.mccarter.org.