Welfare: The Musical
(2011 - The Woodlands High School, TX)

After writing so many musical numbers into my various straight plays, it was only a matter of time until “Welfare: The Musical!” came pouring out of me. Over my years running The Woodlands’ playwrighting team, I knew I wanted to end my reign with a bash. The only concept conducive to that end, for me, was a musical.

A full-on parody of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent”, “Welfare” was a tag team effort between myself and long time collaborator Dani DePoy. I penned the book and lyrics, and handed them over to Dani humming certain tunes. I had certain note, certain emotions, I wanted to play - but Dani really put pen to paper and handed me a product. Running from twenty to twenty-five minutes, “Welfare” featured 15 original songs (which are originally inspired by some of Larson’s more hum-able tunes…).

A pleasure to direct, “Welfare” was a very communal process. The actors choreographed, our musical director acted, and I felt privileged to just sort of guide the way. Closing our annual playfest, the music brought the house down. “Welfare” sparked my interest in writing other one-act musicals, and I feel the stage doesn’t necessarily have to the only place for them.

Here are a few pictures from the first production:

The cast for the original, 20 minutes play, was as follows:

Performed: May 25, 26 and 28, 2011

Stereotypical Leading Male ……………………………………Aaron Evans
The Actor Who Plays The Acoustic Guitar …Joe Dougherty
Indecisive High School Senior…………………Katelyn Mattingly
Attention Seeking Lesbian………………………………Holly Rogers
Tony Nomination …………………………………………Katlin Newman
NAACP-Approved Ethnic Role Model……………Dani DePoy
General Resolution …………………………………Andrew Hollinger

Directed by Vic Shuttee
Musical Direction by Dani DePoy

The Track Listing for the original production featured:

ONE HIT, WONDER – Leading
TWEET ONE – Lesbian
TWEET TWO - Senior
WELFARE – Company
EXEUNT – Leading, Guitar
APPLICATION RAG – Senior
RULE OF THREES - Guitar
EYE-TO-EYES FOR YOU – Guitar, Lesbian
THE GRIND – NAACP, Leading
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ACTOR AND A WAITOR - Leading
UNDEVELOPED CHARACTERS – Tony, Lesbian, NAACP
     $1UtZ? – Tony
     NOTICE ME! – Lesbian
     PEOPLE LIKE…LOVE – NAACP
DEPRESSED – Leading, Guitar
GAY IN A HETERO WAY – Leading, Guitar
GENERAL RESOLUTION - Company
INSIST YOU INLIST – General and Company
TWE-PILOUGE – Leading, Guitar



As for “Welfare” in the future, I never rule anything out. I have scraps of concepts lying around, and music these characters still have to sing. “Welfare” is something I feel I could always come back to expand, and Dani willing, I will!

-Vic, October 27, 2011



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