Beyond Broadway

Why R.R.R.E.D. Might Be the Next Hedwig (Plus Drinking Recs From the Cast)

08.17.18

BY: LIZ DURAND STREISAND

Can you imagine a world without redheads?! According to science*, they could be in danger of becoming extinct – which is why we’re so psyched that a secret redheaded revolutionary organization is taking matters into their own hands, fighting back against their imminent extinction and standing up for the rights of redheads everywhere. In musical format, of course.

Matt Loehr and Katie Thompson. Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Matt Loehr and Katie Thompson. Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

R.R.R.E.D. – an abbreviation for Real Redheaded Revolutionary Evolutionary Defiance — officially opens on August 19th, at the DR2 Theatre near Union Square. Starring Katie Thompson (who also wrote the music and lyrics as well as co-wrote the book) and Matt Loehr (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon and Evita among others), this edgy, smart musical also features a rotating guest star each night. Broadway Spin caught up with Thomspon and Loehr to find out how this sci-fi musical comedy came about, what it’s like having new actors to work with each time, and where they go when they just really need a drink.

Matt Loehr and Katie Thompson. Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

Broadway Spin: What was the genesis of this show?

Katie Thompson: For my birthday one year, Adam Jackman, one of my co-writers, called me and said, “I have a birthday present for you. It’s an idea for a musical.” So, he gave me the idea and I wrote at least the first five songs while I was waitressing or bartending or whatever and then I came back to him a few days later and I said, “Oh my gosh, I wrote this song and this song and this song and I’m so grateful for this gift you’ve given me.” And he was like, “Wait. No. I want to write with WITH you!” (Laughs) So, then we started writing it together. But also, the study is real – especially at the time it came out. There was a study that showed that redheads were at risk of becoming extinct. Most of the things that we say in the show are true.

BS: Did you write the show intending it for an off-Broadway space?

Thompson: Honestly, I think that R.R.R.E.D. was always meant to be in a church basement, or a rec hall, so the fact that we actually have it in an off-Broadway theater feels like a step up. Still, it’s the right fit. The world is supposed to feel secret so an intimate space like this is perfect.

Matt Loehr: I completely agree with Katie. The environment of the space needs to reflect what the show is about and it’s perfect in that way. It reminds me of what they did with Hedwig – when they transferred to a Broadway theater they had to rewrite some of the show to fit the space, to fill the story, but it worked beautifully – so I think for this story, this is the space. I also love that more adventurous theater can happen off-Broadway and a lot of avid theatergoers really appreciate experimentation and like to be challenged in a different way – and R.R.R.E.D. delivers that.

Thompson: (Laughs) Yes, it certainly does.

Marissa Rosen, Katie Thompson, Matt Loehr, and Kevin Zak. Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

BS: You’ve had some amazing guest stars. Who has been your favorite?

Loehr: They’re all so different, but they all brought something really fun and fabulous. I would say my heart belongs to Christopher Sieber because he was the very first one and he was so generous and so warm and accommodating. My heart will always belong to my first (laughs).

Thompson: Tovah Feldshuh was also insanely hysterical, and Ariana DeBose just sang the **** out of it.

BS: And what about you two? Do you ever get sick of each other? Do you hang out outside of work?

Loehr: Well, I don’t want to speak for Katie, but I love her like a sister. We hang out sometimes outside of work.

Thompson: We get drinks.

Loehr: It’s nice to meet up on a day off and get drinks because it’s like, “Oh, it’s Matt and Katie” because when we’re together usually, we’re working on the show. We’re having fun, but we’re playing characters. So, it has been nice to talk about other factors of life.

Matt Loehr. Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade.

BS: What’s your favorite drinking spot?

Loehr: The Margarita Bar. I just feel like I’m taken back to the 1800s at a Mexican restaurant when we’re there. Also, though, near the theater, The Bowery Road is great and their happy hour is fabulous.

* Broadway Spin has not confirmed this science.

R.R.R.E.D. was named as one of five shows to see in NYC by the NY Times and specially priced tickets will soon be on sale via Broadway Roulette! #Redheadsatheart