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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Student duo hatch a musical, titled ‘A Crack in the Egg’

Jeremy Meyers and John DellaContrada Jr. co-produced an original musical about our many places in the world

<p>The poster for "A Crack in the Egg," designed by Jeremy Meyers.</p>

The poster for "A Crack in the Egg," designed by Jeremy Meyers.

Jeremy Meyers discovered the meaning of life in Penn Station three years ago. 

As he stood looking at the hundreds of people scurrying around him, his brain jumped to a short story he read when he was 14: “The Egg” by Andy Weir. The story explores two characters, “You” and “I.” “You” — seemingly everyone in the universe — explores the possibilities of what happens after death while “I” explains how everything is connected.

“Every single person here is living their own life, and I don’t know who they are or how they’re connected to me,” Meyers, a junior musical theater major, said. “I was like, ‘Wait, this would be a great piece to create another piece of art off,’ and that’s where it started. And ever since then I’ve been creating drafts.”

From his ushering job in New York City to his backpacking trip in Europe, Meyers wrote like he was running out of time. 

And then he actually was running out of time. 

He pitched the musical for the UB department of Theatre and Dance’s student-directed series. The department asked him for a finished draft two weeks before the 2024 winter semester. 

Meyers was not prepared. He needed help finishing the music compositions before he pitched the musical to UB for the spring performance season. So he brought in senior theatre performance and linguistics major John DellaContrada Jr. DellaContrada knew Meyers was talented, but he had his doubts. 

“He is somebody who has so much passion and drive. He has such, like, lofty ideas, you know?” DellaContrada said. “So he comes to me with this idea, which I think is cool, but I’m like, ‘OK, will this be something that becomes something wonderful, or will it fizzle out and die very quickly?’”

DellaContrada’s experience in songwriting “meshed well” with Meyers’ natural creative talent.  DellaContrada composed most of the music, while Meyers wrote the accompanying lyrics.

“It’s a true collaboration,” Meyers said. 

The musical uses the concept of “The Egg” by narrating the life story of one character, Ian. “Ian” is really a stand-in for everyday people. His story could very well be the story of a man Meyers saw in Penn Station. 

“Maybe in someone’s mind it’s like, ‘Oh, this is just another guy.’ But it’s really not,” Meyers said. “Every life is important.” 

The musical starts with Ian’s death and a subsequent conversation with God — based on “I” from “The Egg.” God sings an upbeat rock style song that launches audience members into the crazy journey ahead. 

“It’s like a Beauty and the Beast [ideal]: ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,’” DellaContrada said. “The main character says, ‘Here’s what I want you to know,’ and so we have that. But we sort of have a dual main character situation.”

God and Ian journey together through time and space to teach Ian the meaning of life. 

The musical will be performed on Feb. 7-8, 2025 in Katherine Cornell Theater. 

The arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com 


SOPHIA STINES

Sophia Stines is a staff writer. 

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