Sorry, retro rock fans, but Rush: The Musical won't have a Geddy Lee cameo, nor will there be any chorus-line cancans to "Tom Sawyer." ASU senior Lauren Henschen came up with something even cheekier: a "goofy pop-rock romp" about five college girls trying to survive sorority rush week.
Henschen's participated in rush week herself, but the inspiration for the play didn't grow out of personal experience. "The initial idea came from the fact that I wanted to write a play with a lot of women in it," says Henschen. "There just aren't a lot of plays with a lot of female characters. And sorority rush provided perfect structure: It's a five-day process, and you're doing something different every day."
The main characters in the play -- Ottie, Brooke, Bailey, Gerty and Jennifer -- all come from different backgrounds, all have different reasons for rushing, and all want into the same sorority. "There are all sorts of revelations. All five girls change throughout the course of the play," says Henschen. "For example, Brooke and Bailey start rush week as best friends. 'Best Friends Forever' is their song. And their reprise in the second act is 'Best Friends Never.'"
Henschen wrote the script for Rush: The Musicallast semester, and composed and recorded the musical score this semester. She'll also serve as music director for the student production.
"This play is the culmination of everything I've experienced in college," Henschen says. "I came in as a drama major, but I also got involved in the comedy aspect at ASU [with ASU's Farce Side Comedy Hour and the Barren Mind Improv Group]. And I've been teaching myself to play guitar, so the musical aspect just sort of happened.
"Most of the songs [in the musical] are me on a keyboard, making the sounds of various instruments," she adds with a laugh. "The songs are electronic and completely presentational."