After years of toiling backstage as a local techie, dabbler playwright Jason Ferte met and fell in love with musician Rachel Sakry, who convinced him they should write a musical together. Whatever Girl was thus born, the story of a bored barista chick who hooks up with a hunky thug after saving his life in the wake of a botched "transaction." What follows includes a magical guitar, dead surfer zombies, and a one-eyed dragon named Spitfire.
Wait, how'd this musical come about again?
JASON FERTE: After we started going out, my partner Rachel was like, "Hey you want to write a musical together?" and I was all, "No! I hate musicals!"
You hate musicals!?
Nah, I just like to say that. I just worked on so many back in the day like No No Nanette and Oklahoma. Those kinds drive me nuts.
Does Whatever Girl's inclusion of sung lines like "Well, I woke right up/From a bitchin' cool dream/I had this virgin in my mouth/and a handful of cream" make it a departure from such musicals?
Yeah. I really want to get people in the door who don't normally see theater. I'm not sure how a theater that runs on subscriptions would even fit this show into their season.
What was the process in creating this show?
[Rachel and I] agreed that I'd write the words and lyrics and then she'd do the music. The way I do a story is I start on page one and make it up as I go. So I started in a coffee shop and went, and if it made her laugh I'd keep it. For every lyric I had the theme song to Shaft in my head, but then she'd compose something completely different.
You sound pretty calm for your first musical, but deep down, are you seething with nervousness?
Yeah, but the other side of me is like, "Eh, it's just another show." No matter what, shows will go on. Some probably shouldn't, but this one hopefully should.