April 23, 2001
Doc Hollywood comes to town
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
First Neil Shulman wrote a book. Then Michael J. Fox made a movie. Now, close to two dozen members of the Emory community will bring Doc Hollywood: The Musical to the stage.
For one night onlyMonday, April 30 at 8 p.m. at Variety Playhouse
in Little Five Pointsa cast of 22 will present a staged reading
of an original work based on Shulmans 1978 novel What? Dead ...
Itll be as close to a full musical production as we can get
without sets, props and costumes, quipped Travis Sentell, an Emory
College senior who co-wrote the play with fellow senior Adam Roberts.
Joshua Tarkan, a fourth-year medical student, wrote the music and lyrics.
Senior J.C. Aevaliotis and junior Taylor Dooley will co-direct.
The performance, in other words, wont be stagnant. The players
will move about the stage, and there will be music and lighting cues.
And a wide variety of extras are planned. Were going to give
out vegetables to everyone who attends! exclaimed Shulman, who has
been passionately promoting the play around campus. And were
having kids dressed as vegetables for the event.
This salute to veganism is grounded in the plot, as Dr. Ben Stone, the
plays protagonist (played by Allen Read 00C) meets his love
interest at the Veggie Parade.
Tickets are $15 and are available at Ticketmaster outlets. All proceeds will be donated to Worldplay Inc., an organization that celebrates children around the world who make toys that are related to their cultures from common items. For $50, ticket buyers can attend a post-musical reception. For more ticket information, Shulman can be contacted directly at 404-321-0126 or email@example.com.
Shulman, associate professor of medicine contacted Sentell last September
and asked him to write a play based on his book. Sentell then contacted
Robertsthe two are acquainted through their work with Rathskeller,
a student improv groupwho started writing some songs.
Because they didnt have rights to the movie script, Sentell first
tried to adapt the book directly to the stage, but that turned out to
be a mistake. Only when Sentell reacquainted himself with the film did
things start coming together.
What I did is I took ideas from both places and put them together,
so the play kind of went in a third direction, Sentell said. Logistically,
its completely different than the book or the movie.
While themes from each work are present in the musical, not a word of
dialogue from either the book or movie made it into the musical. The gist
of the story (big city doctor finds true happiness in the rural South)
The musicals 22 songs came about a bit differently. In December,
Sentell and Roberts got in touch with Tarkan for some help with medical
terminology. His role expanded quickly. Tarkan, Rathskellars piano
player as an undergraduate, was no stranger to musicals, having written
seven songs for a staging of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
So with Sentell writing the dialogue, Tarkan the songs, and Roberts working as a swingman providing ideas and revisions to both, the project chugged along and was ready for the stage this spring.
Working with Josh and Adam has been very interesting, Sentell
said. Josh and I have to be on exactly the same page. We really
had to trust each other so the book would play off the music and the music
would play off the book.
He really was the perfect person for the show, Sentell continued. He rhymes gastroenteritis with acute appendicitis. Who else does that?