Columbia College Chicago Theatre, Music, and Television Arts Students and Alumni Collaborate on New Sci-Fi Musical ‘Abduction’ April 18-19

Abduction, an original science-fiction musical comedy created and performed by students and alumni from Columbia College Chicago‘s Theatre, Music, and Cinema and Television Arts departments, will be performed in a staged concert version on Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19, at Columbia College’s Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash in Chicago’s South Loop. As previously reported in this blog, Abduction was first performed in May 2017. Following that limited engagement, the show’s authors have revised the work extensively for its upcoming presentation in a concert format. Performances on both nights start at 7:30 PM. Admission price is a $5 suggested donation. Proceeds benefit Girls 4 Science, a Chicago nonprofit called that helps and encourages girls ages 10 to 18 to enter STEM fields.

T.J. Pieffer

Brad Kemp

Brad Kemp

Abduction is written by Columbia College student T.J. Pieffer, a senior in the Columbia College Chicago Cinema and Television Arts Department’s BA Program in Television with a Concentration in Writing and Producing, in collaboration with Columbia College Chicago alumnus Brad Kemp ’12,  a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Music Department‘s Bachelor of Music Composition program. Pieffer, who also appears in the show, is also pursuing an Acting Minor from the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department, and Kemp took courses in the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre program. The show’s other co-author, Becki Toth, has no affiliations with Columbia College.

Set in the small town of Pluto, Indiana, Abduction concerns Pippa Peterson, a 12-year-old introverted inventor, who must save the day before her whole town is beamed into outer space. The show is described as “The Twilight Zone flipped on its head, with a cast of larger than life characters, snappy dialogue, and tunes that will get stuck in your head for light years to come!”

The cast for the April 18-19 performances includes Columbia College students Pieffer, Taylor AnapolMadelyne Forrester, David Gallo, Jonas Gustavson, Jon Parker Jackson, Marvin J. Malone II, Lizzy Murray, Natalie O’Hea, Veronica Oczowinski, De’Jah Perkins, Sydney Richards, Peyton Storz, and Shannon Smith, as well as Columbia College alum Carly Strait ’17, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Comedy Writing and Performance. It’s directed by Columbia College alum Jen Sloan ’17, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Theatre Directing, with assistant direction by alum Sadie Walton ’17, a Comedy Writing and Performance BA graduate. Student Michael Xayavong is musical director, with assistant musical direction by student Maddison Denault and orchestrations by student Martin Brablec. The performances are produced by alums Cindy Allen ’17 and Leanne Kelly ’16, both graduates of the Cinema and Television Arts Department’s BA Program in Television with a Concentration in Writing and Producing.

In a recent interview with the Columbia Chronicle student newspaper, Pieffer explained: “We’re focusing on the material, songs and dialogue. [We’re] focusing more on developing it for further productions rather than the spectacle of it right now. It’s about the music and the material this time.”