Malevolent aliens disguised as televangelists bent on taking over the world sounds like the makings of a particularly strange sci-fi movie — and it was.
“Strangest Dreams: Invasion of the Space Preachers,” writer/director Danny Boyd’s 1990s sci-fi comedy, is a legitimate midnight movie classic — and now, soon to be an unlikely stage musical.
This weekend, table readings of “Space Preachers: The Musical” will be performed during FestivALL Fall at the Elk City Playhouse in Elk City on Charleston’s West Side.
The Gazette-Mail spoke with composer Mark Scarpelli, who took on the task of re-imagining one of Boyd’s odder works and setting it to music.
Q: Whose idea was this?
A: “It was something we’d talked about for years — working together. I was actually in the movie, which was the first time I met Danny.
“We always kept in touch and talked about collaborating on something. About two years ago, Danny approached me and said, ‘Let’s do something together.’ I looked at three or four different things, including a graphic novel, but that was like, 100 scenes, and that’s crazy.
“Then we looked at the movie. A little over two years ago, I wrote the first song.”
Q: How does a stage table reading work for the musical?
A: “We’re doing it like it’s a real play from start to finish. Actors have roles and characters. They have lines, but there’s a piano on the stage. Whenever their part comes up, they’ll get in position or stand up. Adam Bryan from the Alban Arts Center has been helping organize on stage.”
Q: When will this be made into a full production?
A: “The plan is to have it ready in 2020 by Halloween. We’re supposed to do this at the Alban. That’s the plan, anyway.”
Q: With turning the film into a stage musical, what was the most difficult part?
A: “I did all the lyrics for this. Usually, when I work with Dan Kehde at Contemporary Youth Arts Company, he starts the lyrics and then I come in, but Danny said, ‘This is your baby.’ I wrote 20 songs for this. They’re all fun songs. It’s a little silly, but fun.”
Q: Any trouble with casting?
A: “A good percentage of the cast is made up of people who were in the movie 30 years ago. We have Gary Brown, playing Lash, Jesse Johnson is back as Vic 20 and Guy Nelson flew in from California to play Rick. We have some new people, too, but it’s great to see them again in this.”