Learn more about Rebekah at her website: http://www.rebekahmallen.com/
So Rebekah Allen, who the hell are you?
I am a princess. No, I am a musical theatre writer in New York slash Entertainment Journalist. I’ve been here for 3 years, as of last week. I moved here to do my show called We Are The Tigers, and that went very well. We had a production last year in Los Angeles at the Hudson Backstage Theater. Now we’re looking at developing that again in the spring.
We’re gonna have a little developmental workshop at the Gallery Players in Brooklyn. So yeah, we’re excited about that. That is my baby and I now have more babies and they’re all great and I love writing musicals. (Laughs) It’s really cool.
What other babies do you have?
A: I have Remission, too. Remission is my newer project that is kicking along quite nicely. We did a reading this summer at NYMF and it looks like we’ll be having some more movement on that in the future. It’s very different in tone from Tigers. I think it very much sounds like me, but hopefully it’s a little bit different than Tigers. Tigers is like...girl pop? But with a lot of r’s and no vowels. So grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl pop? (Laughs) Remission is a little more folksy, a little more grounded. Tigers is more like a standard show and Remission is right now more like a concept album. It’s a much quieter show, a much quieter show.
So are you actively working on Tigers or Remission?
A: Actually, I’m actively working on my parody musical The Rage: Carrie 2. After Remission I was like “okay, I need a full switch for the next couple months. So I’m gonna do this parody musical.” I got an October 28th at 1130pm slot at 54 Below, and I’m working with a lot of cool people. That’s been really fun because the show is purely silly, purely pop punk, and I’m working with friends.
Where did you start all of this?
I was a performer in high school. And when I got into college I was a musical theatre major in performance at Columbia College Chicago. I was in a class with a bunch of really, really talented people, and I was like, “Okay, I’m writing a show, I’m really into it, I have no desire to perform in this show I’m writing, I think I want to reevaluate my musical theatre major.” It seemed like what I’m leading to was doing Tigers. I’m super happy with it, and I’m super happy with my choice to drop my performance major and be a writer.
I do, I play guitar and piano.
Self taught? Or years and years?
Years and years on piano, and the very formative years. When I was like at the point where you start really advancing, I dropped piano. Guitar I did classical lessons when I started playing, but then self taught basically what I do now. I’m very into the like, learn how to play all of American Idiot by yourself, school of learned guitar. That was pretty much how I learned how to play, was I charged through American Idiot.
When you approach a show, what’s your general angle? Are you a lyricist first? Are you a melody first? Are you a story first? How do you end up at a composition?
I’m definitely a story first. With Remission I basically wrote it as a play knowing where I want songs and then went back in and did it that way. But sometimes I’ll want to just try out writing with characters, so I’ll just kind of free write scenes? And I’ll do that a lot to get to know my characters, whether or not the scenes stay in the show. Basically I put all the pieces of writing in a little snow globe together, and then I just shake it and see what happens.
What do you do outside of theater?
So I do a lot of theatre s**t. I’m writing 3 shows right now, and I’m really lucky because I love my day jobs. I’ve been working for pride.com as an entertainment contributor. I love working with them. I did a bunch of articles today to procrastinate from my own creative projects and it felt like such a great way to do that. It’s all LGBTQ related media. I also work at Second Stage which is a lovely off broadway space. I’ve been there about 4 and a half months now. So I think of myself as really lucky because the day job thing sounds not cute, but I’m really happy with mine.
Well then what’s your escape from all the theatre?
I watch a lot of tv. I have MoviePass, Netflix, and Hulu. It’s great to be like “I’m overheated. I’m gonna go see this s****y horror movie by my self.” I kind of use entertainment media.....to escape from entertainment media...
That’s like...the least useful answer to that. Like, “How do you drive yourself insane?” “Well when I don’t want to do what I do, I just go do more of it.”
Saying it out loud, I should probably get a hobby.
What for you was different about writing a singular song for a web score that you heard nothing of, or knew literally nothing about, than writing a show?
Well I did my research. There’s something freeing for not being responsible for the entire narrative. Like I could have a lot more fun. My song is the opening number, so it was fun to be completely free in that aspect, and introduce these characters. With “Look Alive” I kind of got it out real fast, and it felt good. I know I’m doing my best work when I pick up my guitar and half an hour later I think “that’s a great rough sketch of an idea, let’s record it”. And then you refine your lyrics and you refine your song, but the basic idea came quickly. I think that its one of my favorite hooks I’ve ever written.
I called you on a referral and I said, “Hello, you don’t know me, I need a punk rock song for an action comedy, vampire slayer mockumentary, musical”. What happened next?
Well that was like my favorite thing ever to hear. My biggest influences as a writer, as a consumer of media, of--everything in my life comes down to how I grew up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is a part of my DNA. So when I heard that I thought “oh this is the only thing I know I can immediately do well”. So that was the best pitch you ever could have wanted to do for me. I’ve always wanted to do a vampire slayer thing.
So going forward. We release The Hunted: Encore on Halloween Day. On November 1st, what is it that you are excited for or want for The Hunted: Encore?
Well as a fan of what I’ve seen and what I know, I’m excited to watch it unfold and see how it shakes out. I ‘m excited to see how my number fits in because I hear that there’s a fight in it, and I think that’s the coolest thing ever. And I would love to come back and be a part of more of it. I’ve loved working with this team and I think I could have a lot of fun finding more of my Hunted voice!