Last Friday, word came via social media that Mark Scarpelli, a Charleston composer, bandleader, music educator and a friend of mine, was receiving Hospice care at home after a 17-year-long, on and off, battle with cancer. I was privileged to know Mark as a friend, and also as a collaborator on several video projects and most recently as co-writers of the introductions read by Larry Groce at the legendary Rubber Soul Beatles Marathon in February, 2018.
Many people have come to know and love Mark from his stints in several area bands, like the Beatles tribute group Rubber Soul, and from his orginal compositions for the stage, with his frequent collaborator Dan Kehde for CYAC as well as other local theatre talents. Like everyone who knows Mark, I’m terribly saddened by this news.
Tonight I wanted to re-present one of the video projects I did that involved Mark. From late September, 2011, this special episode of Radio Free Charleston was a major departure from our normal format. This show is 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.
We also dug into our archives and included footage of the original production from 2008, starring Ryan Hardiman. This is rare video that had never been seen by the general public before.
In this episode of RFC you will see the newer 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 one day before it was originally posted online. We managed to get this show finished and online in time to promote the opening of the show later in the week.
I spent several weeks attending rehearsals with my camera, shooting loads of Cinéma vérité footage of the cast and crew preparing for their big night. Any time spent with Mark was special, but this project was truly remarkable. Presented with love and peace to Mark and Bev and his family, from Rudy and Mel.