Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Jack The Ripper Does RFC 145

Dan Kehde, the writer/director of "Jack The Ripper"

This episode of Radio Free Charleston is a major departure: It’s a documentary following the 2011 revival of the Dan Kehde/Mark Scarpelli musical, “Jack The Ripper.” Produced by The Contemporary Youth Arts Company, this daring and complex piece of musical theater was pulled together in less than six weeks. Included in the show are interviews with Dan and Mark, intercut with “fly-on-the-wall” footage from the rehearsals leading up to opening night.You will also see footage of the original production from 2008, starring Ryan Hardiman. This is rare video that has never been seen by the gneral public before.

Mark Scarpellie, the Composer of "Jack The Ripper"

You will see the new incarnation of the show come together from on-book readings at local churches to the building of the set to the final blocking and staging during tech week. It’s a look inside the creation of a unique original work in the Charleston, WV theater scene. Some of this show was recorded as late as Monday, September 19.

For the last several weeks I’ve attended rehearsals with my camera, shooting loads of Cinéma vérité footage of the cast and crew preparing for their big night. That big night this Thursday, September 22,  as the curtain opens on this second production of this musical.

Building the set

CYAC presents “Jack The Ripper,” an original musical by Dan Kehde and Mark Scarpelli. This show features incredible music and voices, bringing you the thrilling story of how Frederick, a struggling artist, turns his torment into terror on the people of the Whitechapel District during the year 1888. You can see the show September 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and October 1 at 8 PM at The WVSU Capitol Center Theater.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Call (304) 342-6522 for more information.

The cast, in full dress rehearsal mode

I hope everyone comes out to see this incredible show. It’s a huge creative undertaking and deserves a large audience. People who missed the 2008 performance of “Jack The Ripper” still regret it to this day.

That’s it for this very special episode of RFC, the first show where I don’t appear on camera. Come back in a couple of weeks for a new episode, jam-packed with tons of local music, film, animation and art.

1 Comment

  1. Kat Johnson

    This is a fantastic piece, Rudy! It was so interesting to watch the progress of the show coming together through your camera eye even though I was there the whole time. The only complaint I have is that I couldn’t stop watching it through my s-l-o-w speed Internet access and stayed up way too late to finish it instead of going to bed!

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