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Research: The Musical Premieres Dec. 8

Posted Dec. 5, 2011

Programs partner to produce second full-length feature film at Kent State

enter photo description
Cast members of Research: The Musical act out a scene
in the fictional Hope Falls Stem Cell Research Lab.
(Photo Credit: Melinda Yoho)

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University has partnered with the Department of Pan-African Studies to produce its second full-length feature film called Research: The Musical, which will make its red carpet premiere at Kent State on Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

The 90-plus-minute musical is about a group of biology students who must complete summer internships under the direction of an eccentric, whacky professor named Dr. Luv, played by David Smeltzer, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Mysterious mishaps start occurring at Hope Falls Stem Cell Research Lab, the fictional research facility where the musical takes place. The students must help each other in order to save the lab and their internships.

"Lecturer Traci Williams made the final decision on the genre of musical comedy," says Cinnamon Small, the administrative production manager for Research: The Musical. "We were inspired by the recent craze over the series Glee. Conceptualization of the script came from our writing team of students – Stephen Vanderpool, Todd Corcoran and Tony Hartman. Students and volunteers in the HD Pre-production course began by brainstorming. Once the draft of the script was finalized, the Music Department's student teachers – John Pasternak and Jeff Hayden – composed musical numbers throughout the film."

Students taking part in this musical are part of a 12-credit-hour course series created by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Pan-African Studies. However, faculty, staff, students and local community volunteers are helping to make this musical a reality. Some students are earning internship credit or class credit while some others are volunteering their time. Students working on the musical come from 18 different majors across campus, from accounting to fashion, to electronic media production. The movie is now in its post-production and promotional stage, using a student-staffed marketing team.

General showings are set for 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, in the Kiva. Tickets are on sale now at the Kent Student Center: $5 for students, faculty and staff, and $7 for the general public. Call 330-672-8198 for more information and check out the movie trailer online.