Audience gets on board for new musical The Seven

The Seven leaves promptly at 7:30 each night, filled with a cast of characters who will shape a young nan’s life and maybe even change some perspectives in the audience.

But it won’t happen unless audience members show up at the subway station, which, in this case, is Baton Rouge Little Theater’s Second Stage.

This is where Michael Braud’s The Seven: A New Musical takes off, beginning Thursday, Jan. 24.

Braud not only is creator of the piece but the production’s musical director. Lance Bordelon is the director.

And here’s the most intriguing part of their story — both are students at LSU, but neither is majoring in theater or music.

Braud is enrolled in the university’s pre-pharmacy curriculum, and Bordelon is working on his master’s degree in public relations.

Yet both have taken Terry Patrick-Harris’ classes. She’s LSU’s professional-in-residence in voice, and she teaches classes in musical theater.

And it was through this class that Braud and Bordelon met many of the actors cast in The Seven, most of them not pursuing careers in theater or music.

“They come from all areas of the university,” Bordelon said. “Everyone is doing this on their own. They’re doing it because they love it, and they’re passionate about it.”

Meaning, the musical is not produced by any university department. It’s a project put together by a group of students who aren’t just volunteering their time but combining their talent to make it work.

“We had auditions in August, and we rehearsed every Sunday during the fall,” Bordelon said.

“People think we’re nuts, because basically, there were 10 Sundays in the fall, and we were putting this show together in 10 days. We took a break at Christmas, and we came back to a rehearsal schedule of several days during the week leading up to the performances.”

The Seven follows the journey of Scott, a young man abandoned on the New York City subway “7” train when he was a child. Scott is introduced to the city’s good and evil through a colorful array of characters, each equipped with a life lesson.

And it’s through these characters that Scott rediscovers what it means to truly live and finds the courage to trust the world above the subway and again believe in love.

Now, it’s unlikely that a person would spend his youth on a subway train.

“It’s set in a pseudo-reality,” Bordelon said. “The story transcends generations to communicate the central themes of love and compassion. The subway is a metaphor for the cages and trappings in our own lives. And the question is should we push out and leave or should we stay? We think audience members of all ages will be able to relate to this message of having the courage to be the person you are.”

Braud is producing the play through his own company, Braud Productions. He wrote The Seven while in high school in Slidell, where the musical was workshopped in 2011 under the title, The Subway.

Braud not only wrote the book but the music and lyrics. The production will be accompanied by a recorded soundtrack, along with a live electric guitar and drum set.

“And we’re also inserting subway train sound effects into the soundtrack,” Bordelon said. “As for the music, Joshua Solite came in and worked with the arrangement. He’s a brilliant pianist, and his work on the score is so rich. He’s also a business major.”

This really fits well into the show’s theme. Business majors, public relations majors, pre-pharmacy majors — all are people who are working toward a goal yet aren’t afraid to be their true selves, which includes their theatrical sides.

“I’ve worked with other productions in the area,” Bordelon said. “I’ve worked with Ascension Community Theatre, and I was in the Runnels production of Brigadoon last summer. And I’ve worked in productions at Baton Rouge Little Theater, and I can’t say enough about this theater. They’ve worked with us and guided us, and we don’t feel like we’re alone in this project.”

Also offering support is Patrick-Harris.

“She is our sponsor,” Bordelon said.

And now it’s time to end the conversation and get on board.

Because The Seven is about to leave the station.

CAST: Kyle Moffatt, Scott; Alaina Richard, Amy; Rob E. Reich, Casey; Mallory Richard, Amanda; Maggie Solo, Melanie; Lance Bordelon, Patrick; Caleb Massie, Jack; Dane Thibodeaux, Frankie, Guardian; Kaitlin Richard, Tiffany, Guardian; Rebecca Schreiber, Sharon; Kelsey Bopp, Allison, Guardian; Kevyn Miller, Doug; Justin Dawes, Peter.

ARTISTIC STAFF: Lance Bordelon, director and choreographer; Michael Braud, book, lyrics, music and musical director; and Joshua Solite and Cody Lodrigus, composition and arrangements.