From TikTok to Pickup Vans, a Musical Thrived within the Pandemic


What do you do when a musical that you put your heart and soul into, a feel-good rock story in which a woman recognizes her worth and finds her voice, is turned off by a global pandemic just before it opens? Broadway?

When it happened to Lourds Lane, the creator of SuperYou, she turned them traditional theater train and built their brand on other live and virtual platforms.

“This is about life imitating art,” says Lane, a Filipina-American from Queens, NY who is the composer, lyricist, writer, and star of the show. “The show is going up and that’s what we did. You cannot talk without going the way. “Or, in this case, drive to the driveway: namely Four Brothers Drive-in in Amenia, NY, 90 miles north of Manhattan.

On June 27 and 28, 2020, five actresses stepped on the beds of pickups and released their power belts in a socially distant concert that was filmed for streaming – claiming a bit of theatrical history in the process. The SuperYou concert film was, as noted on Broadway on Demand, where it can be ordered, the first theater production to be performed live during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Keith Urban, the Australian singer and husband of Nicole Kidman, deserves a nod for inspiration. “We knew it was safest to perform outdoors,” says director and choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, who spent the early days of pandemic brainstorming with producer Melissa Jones to keep the show going. Hunter read about Urban’s health care concert at a drive-in in Tennessee. Hunter’s last trip to on Drive-In was with her boyfriend at the time to see Faye Dunaway’s 1978 thriller The Eyes of Laura Mars.

Late June Jones, Hunter, Lane, and other actors Kennedy Caughell, Brie Cassil, LaVon Fisher Wilson and Molly Tynes followed suit The SuperYou crew in the great outdoors tells the story of a comic artist whose imaginary superheroes lead them to see their greatness. Mother Nature sent buckets of rain during rehearsal and then contributed dry skies for both performances.

The concert budget was $ 15,000. That included fees for the actors and costs for hotels and travel as well as part of the rental costs for sound and light, says Jones. The work of the creative team, the pickups, the work and equipment of the film team, as well as the venue were all donated. The real cost would have been $ 80,000.

“They believe in the show and Lourds – they wanted to do the job they do,” Jones explains before conjuring up a song on A Chorus Line. “It was a total situation what I did for love.”

During the concert, the audience showed their love by honking horns and flashing headlights. On TikTok, where SuperYou has around 10,800 followers, fans have covered songs from the concept album, requested sheet music and used rousing songs like To My Angels for foreplay videos.

After a year of isolation and uncertainty, the show’s optimistic message feels particularly topical and resonant. “I am enough, I am loved, I am whole” is a poetry that is repeated many times. When you thirst for a positive, powerful message, it is always easy for you. Self-affirmation is Lane’s path – and what the SuperYou FUNdation youth organization she founded is all about.

What does the future hold for the musical? “Broadway was and is our intention,” says Jones. “We don’t know what Broadway will look like in the next few years. The pandemic taught us that we have so many more choices about what we can be. “

Meanwhile, the creative team has been researching storytelling via virtual reality and keeping options open. “We are currently exploring opportunities this year in locations in New York, Indiana, Connecticut, and California, as well as in potential television and movie areas,” says Jones. She expects the data to solidify by mid-April. Below, the show plans to run in Japan at the end of 2022.

“It’s about thinking outside the box,” concludes Lane. “One thing I can do is create, and I can do a lot.”