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Besties in creativity: Collaborating on “Musical”

Fun meets even more fun in Musical: The Musical, an original one-act dramedy written by Kyla Haggerty ’13 and Lily Karlin ’13, and composed by Ben Moss ’13. Anna and Kay are two real-life best friends in quarter-life crises when they are cast as onstage besties in the newest romantic comedy turned Broadway musical sensation. Part upbeat genre parody, part contemporary drama, Musical: The Musical examines the rifts and triumphs of a platonic friendship under pressure. Antics, song, dance, tears, and love ensue. We asked each member of the creative team to tell us something about the experience and what they carry with them as artists. The show takes place April 25-28 at the Adams Pool Theater as part of Harvard’s public ARTS FIRST Festival.

Kyla Haggerty
You’re about to graduate. What about the arts at Harvard will you take with you?

In all honesty, I’ve had a pretty difficult time fitting into the arts sphere at Harvard – and the past four years have really tested my love for theater and acting. Through that struggle, I’ve found a sense of perseverance that led to the creation of Musical: The Musical, and that I think will prove very useful next year. And after sitting around for three years trying to fit, I’ve learned that in today’s arts world there’s a new norm: If you can’t find the right space for yourself, make one. Lucky for me, I knew some great people that wanted to work together to create that same space.

Lily Karlin
What did you learn about yourself and about art during this project?

A lot of times, writing is about making an idea work within the standardized structure of a medium or the specific style of publication. With Musical: The Musical, I found it really freeing to write something that reflects my own interests and sense of humor, and to organically find a form to best suit the project. My friends and I joke around about making sure to “do you” but I honestly do think it’s the best way to make fulfilling work.

Ben Moss

What are the biggest challenges of collaboration, and how did you address them?

The biggest challenges of collaboration are figuring out how to create something that achieves the goals of both the lyricists and composer, and that’s a constant give and take. You can’t be selfish. You’re not working for yourself. You’re working in service of the art. Something that I found unique about this particular collaborative process was that we were all learning from each other all the time. I think that’s what is really at the heart of it: being both a student and a teacher at all times.

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