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ED FRINGE: INTERVIEW | VALEN SHORE & ALISON ZATTA TALKS CHRISKIRKPATRICKMAS

Updated: Jul 11, 2023


 


© Matt Kamimura

 

Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical is a surprisingly historically accurate parody musical inspired by *NSYNC, featuring 12 original songs and plenty of 90s nostalgia.


It’s Christmas Eve 2009,seven years into the world-famous boy band’s indefinite hiatus,and NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick has until midnight to make a wish that could change his life forever. A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life meets *NSYNC in this laugh-out-loud original musical.


ChrisKirkpatrick may not be the first name people associate with *NSYNC, but it was his tenacity and determination that started the band. He may not have been the breakout star, but hes till had everything-until it all abruptly ended. So, what happens after you achieve your Big Dream?


I got to speak to writers; Valen Shore, a songwriter/artist whose work has been featured on Riverdale, Lucifer, and Pretty Little Liars,and award-winning writer,actor and filmmaker Alison Zatta, to find out what the show is about and how it feels to perform at the Fringe this year.



 

© Matt Kamimura

What is Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical about?


Chriskirkpatrickmas is a musical comedy mashup of A Christmas Carol, It's A Wonderful Life, and *NSYNC. Our story starts on Christmas Eve 2009, seven years into the world- famous boy band & indefinite hiatus when Chris Kirkpatrick has until midnight to make a wish that could change his life forever. The show features 12 original songs and plenty of 90s nostalgia.


What gave you both the inspiration for the show? 


It started off as a joke - we thought it was a funny idea for a show title, but did't plan to do anything with it. But then we just kept thinking about it, coming up with songs we would include if we were really writing the show... We didn't take it seriously until we learned that Chris founded *NSYNC, which wasn't common knowledge then - and still isn't. With that information, suddenly the separate pieces - the songs, the jokes - slotted into place, and we saw the outline of a story we knew we had to share.

 

© Matt Kamimura

The show is described as a “historically accurate parody”. What do you

mean by this?


The premise of our show is very silly, but at some point, it become incredibly important to us to make the story as factually accurate as possible, within a magical holiday framework. So we did a huge amount of research - scouring old teen magazine articles, listening and re-listening to podcast interviews with members of the band discussing their experiences, watching old grainy behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube. Everything we learned influenced the way we told the story and developed our versions of the characters. Just about everything in the show that deals with the creation and rise of *NSYNC is based on historical fact, or what someone in the band has said over the years.


How was the writing process? How did you both approach writing the

script and music? 


We did almost everything together, working on the show on and off over the past 10 years. The songs came first - we knew our basic plot structure and had an idea of the narrative moments and characterizations we wanted to explore through the music, so we started there. After many outlines and a couple of drafts we began to workshop the show with the cast and continued to revise. The process still isn't over - we are constantly refining and updating the show. For Fringe, we've made some cuts to keep to a 60-minute runtime.


 

© Matt Kamimura

How would you describe the music of the show? 


Pop infused with heartwarming Disney magic on a shoestring budget.


What was it about NSYNC*? What inspired the music? 


We both grew up during the boy band era of the early 2000s so *NSYNC was part of the background of our adolescence. Valen was heavily inspired by Elton John and a bunch of other soft rock and Alison is a musical theatre kid at heart. The songs in Chriskirkpatrickmas are influenced by all of that. And that's probably why there is very little boy band music in it. (see show tagline)

 

© Matt Kamimura


How do you feel about performing at the fringe this year? 


We're excited! We met while both living in Edinburgh nearly 15 years ago, so bringing our show to Edinburgh feels like a full-circle homecoming in a way. Performing at the Fringe has been a longtime dream, one that we didn't know would come true, so it feels both thrilling and surreal that it's almost here.


Who is the target audience? 


The people who are most excited for the show at first are usually those who also grew up with boy bands, like we did, but we've found that the familiar holiday classic structure is a very welcoming way into the story, even for audiences who might not be familiar with *NSYNC or Chris Kirkpatrick at all. If you like musical comedy, 90s nostalgia, ridiculous wigs, holiday magic - or yes, boy bands! - then you should join us at Chriskirkpatrickmas!


 

© Matt Kamimura

What is your favourite thing about the show?  


Dressing like a boy from the 90s. We get to wear sneakers on stage!


Describe the show in one sentence? 


A Christmas Carol meets It's A Wonderful Life meets *NSYNC.


 

© Matt Kamimura

Chriskirkpatrickmas isn’t simply just an energetic escapism, full of catchy tunes about the rise and fall of one of the most successful boybands of all time, but alsoabout looking back on your decisions, and wondering if you made the right choices This is a musical for everyone who has questioned if they held onto the wrong dream, and who they would be if they let go of that thing that shapes their identity.


This punchy piece includes music direction by Taylor J Williams (Hamilton; Moulin Rouge!) sound design by Josh Millican (SIX The Musical;TheBand’s Visit ) choreography by Lili Fuller with also Riley Rose Critchlow as Assistant Director / Performer and Hannah Cairo as Stage Manager.


The Cast includes Riley Rose Critchlow as ( Lance /Brody / Others ), Elizabeth Ho as ( Joey / Joseph / Others ), Emily Lambert as ( Lou / God / Others ), Mia-Carina Mollicone as ( J.C. / Barista Mary / Others ) Valen Shore as ( Chris ), Nicole Wyland as ( Justin / Others ) Alison Zatta as ( Marky Mark ).


Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical will play at Pleasance Courtyard (PleasanceTwo) from Wednesday 2nd–Monday 28th August 2023 (not 9th, 16th,23rd), at 15:10 - recommended ages 12+ (contains strong language)


To book follow the link https://www.pleasance.co.uk/

Previews: £8 | Weekday: £13.50 (£12) | Weekend: £15 (£13.50)


 

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