Mountain Musical Makes Waves in Southern West Virginia

Article by Miranda Woody

FRACK!! Southern West Virginia has hit hard times in recent years, and FRACK!! The Mountain Music Comedy Spectacular plays up the absurdity of the current fossil fuel-heavy climate in Beckley, West Virginia. The musical, I’m told, is not overtly political in nature, nor does it lean heavily toward one political opinion or another; rather, FRACK!! is simply a musical satire seeking to make a statement and, more importantly, to make people laugh.

FRACK!! The Mountain Music Comedy Spectacular was written by J.C. Lacek. Lacek, a playwright originally from West Virginia who is currently living in California, conceptualized the idea along with Jeremiah Scarborough, a West Virginia musician who is also living in California now. Along with being a playwright, Lacek is a published author with Scout Comics. Jason Lockart, the play’s orchestral conductor and CEO of Kid in the Background Inc. (who is producing the play and its accompanying soundtrack) tells me, “The general idea came out of some pretty dark subject matter. Somehow, we started joking around about doing a musical and then FRACK!! was born. Without giving too much away, I can say this: it’s just hilarious. It’s very absurd, almost cartoonish in nature, and it’s essentially a satire centered around fracking. That drives the plot, and the characters themselves are so absurd. It’s great.”

FRACK!! RehearsalThe musical focuses on a man named Jim, played by Zach Bolon, who has fallen on hard times in his hometown of Beckley, West Virginia. Jim, being in financial need, sells his land to crooked fossil fuel tycoons. As a result, a fracking well is built in Beckley, West Virginia, and an accompanying leak from the well drives local residents completely crazy (thus, the hilarious musical numbers). Lockart tells me, “The musical numbers come in basically because people are losing touch with reality. The first act only features a little music, like two songs. The second act, however, features seven songs because everyone has started to hallucinate from the chemical leak and burst out into song. It’s absolutely ridiculous and hilarious.”

The cast features Zach Bolon (Jim), Ashley Traybor (Sissy), Chris Cohenour (Flip), Korey Tedder (Eulis Montgomery), Sarah Osbourne (Brea Anne), Jamie Smith (Falcone), Tiffany Jenkins (Willow Birdsong), and Gerald Hayden (Larry). Cheslea Andrade is the stage manager. The musical is directed by Robby Moore from Treehouse Arts Ensemble. Although Jeremiah Scarborough conceptualized the basic outline for all the original music in FRACK!!, Kid in the Background Inc. (Jason Lockart and Jamie Smith) collaborated with local bands The Kind Thieves and Long Point String Band to finish and polish the score and accompanying soundtrack.

FRACK!! Dress RehearsalAfter listening to a few sneak peek tracks from the show, I was immediately intrigued (and laughing out loud in public). The music in FRACK!! involves the usual folky, mountain sounds (such as string music with acoustic heavy melodies) and features lyrics heavily concerned with rural life issues: church, chickens, and cracking open a cold one. Frack!! is a bit hard to characterize without giving too much away, but it is premiering to much anticipation at Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia, on June 9th. The show will then move to The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre, where it will run from 7-10 PM on June 15th-18th, and June 22-24th. The Sunday matinee performance on June 18th, however, will begin at 2 PM.

To access more information and purchase tickets, you can visit the musical’s official website: frackmusical.com. Also, you can visit the box office at both Tamarack and The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre in Beckley, West Virginia, for tickets. You can contact the producers of FRACK!! at info@supportfrack.com, or you can call them at (304) 250-7172.

All photos provided by producer Jason Lockart at Kid in the Background Inc.

Miranda WoodyMIRANDA WOODY

Miranda Woody is a Concord University student originally from Beckley, West Virginia. She is pursuing a degree in English. She spent the summer of 2016 living in Brooklyn, New York, and has visited seven countries in her lifetime. She is twenty-one years old, and plans to graduate from Concord in December, 2017. She enjoys writing poetry, rock climbing, and traveling. Check out her other work on goodmorningmiranda.com.