By Bruce Walsh
Former BFA student, Nat Zegree, returns to IU Summer Theatre to workshop his new musical, The King’s Critique.
The curls on the top of Nat Zegree’s head are getting a little longer; he’s had to stop cutting his hair since he agreed to reprise his BroadwayWorld.com Award-nominated performance as Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet.
Between performances of his eight-show-a-week schedule, Zegree found time to discuss his passion project. In addition to his acting career, he is also an aspiring songwriter and lyricist. In just a few short weeks IU Summer Theatre will present his first musical, The King’s Critique, in a workshop production.
“I think the idea of a workshop is brilliant! I’m so excited to see my words and music come to life in front of me,” says Zegree, from Flat Rock, North Carolina, where he is currently performing Quartet. “There’s only so much I can envision. Some things may look entirely different when we actually hear these songs sung by seventeen extremely talented singers.”
The King’s Critique presents a storybook land in which a king appoints himself head theatre critic of his entire empire. Amongst the king’s chief complaints about theatre in his realm: too many women onstage. But soon unlikely allies emerge in the land’s theatre scene, as actors band together to fight this despotic bullying.
“We’re doing our own twist on The Emperor’s New Clothes, and we’re trying to have as much fun as possible with it,” says Zegree. “It’s a fairytale world. But it’s the kind of fairytale where adults have very adult problems to deal with.”
Zegree trained at IU in the BFA Musical Theatre program, where he met his writing partner, Eric Holmes, who studied directing. The writing duo left Bloomington in 2014 and penned The King’s Critique in New York, where they hope to one day find a home for the play. But first they’re headed back to Indiana University to polish the music and script.
“We have three weeks to see this play come to life – to finally get it out of our heads and in front of us,” says Zegree. “It’s such an easier process when you find someone you communicate with so well. We agree most of the time; we disagree sometimes, too. Still, the most important thing to me is that we have fun doing what we do.”
The King’s Critique
June 8, 9, 10 & 11 at 7:30pm
Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students. 812.855.1103 or theatre.indiana.edu. For group discounts contact Paige Roberts (email@example.com).