Meeting with the creators of the musical

Ferris’ cast of 'The Theory of Relativity' talk to the authors

Cast members met with Brian Hill and Neil Bartram over zoom. Screenshot taken by Rebecca Vanderkooi

On Monday, Oct. 19, the cast of the Ferris fall musical, The Theory of Relativity, met via zoom with the show’s creators. 

Neil Bartram and Brian Hill are the Drama Desk Award nominated duo who have written this show. Niel writes the songs and Brian writes the dialogue. Their chemestry works well on and off the stage, since they happened to also be married.

The Theory of Relativity is currently the second most licensed show at Music Theatre International. Through song and monologue this musical shows the connectedness of lives through the joys and heartbreaks.  

The couple came up with the show idea while working with students in Oklahoma. They invited them over for pizza one night and after sharing stories for hours the idea for the show was formed. In fact, the whole show has similar stories to their personal experiences.  

“We were just dumb asses trying to write a show and it exploded into something,” said Bartram. 

Nill’s favorite song in the play is “Apples & Oranges.” The song is about being gay and finding love.  They wanted to create a song or idea about this topic that people haven’t seen or heard before. 

Bartram’s favorite song is, “You Will Never Know.” This song talks about the way people create an ideal person in their heads and the importance of talking to someone and getting to know them.  

“We sit on the park bench watching people, pointing out that they have their own separate lives, and we know nothing about it,” said Bartram.  

In November Ferris is putting on the musical virtually. It will be filmed ahead of time and available for streaming. Hill and Bartram didn’t think there would be more than one production of the show much less virtual productions. However, after sharing the musical in Toronto it blew up and the rest is history. 

“It’s YOUR show,” said Bartram said to the student actors.

It was a process for the duo as they outlined and planned what would be dialogue and what would be song. 

“The thing you sing about needs to come from here (points to heart)” said Hill. 

The musical is filled with many thought-provoking songs. One such is called, “Footprints,” which talks about the college experience.  

“Archiving the journey of college was a unique thing to do,” said Bartram. 

Another notable song is called, “Pi.” The authors said that this highlights the idea of being stuck in your head vs. your heart. The actor uses pi as a flawed argument because Pi can’t be defined; however, it is absolute.  

Ferris theatre rehearses the show Monday-Thursday over Zoom, and records audio/film scenes on the weekends. They have one live rehearsal a week. There are 100+ alumni participating in the show from all over the country.