I arrived at the Keene Theater at 7:55pm, only to find that the theater was already full and it was standing room only. I found a spot in the back along the wall where I could still mostly see the stage, and after a couple more people trickled in, they announced that the theater had reached max capacity and no more people could enter. One person involved with Room 6 Productions walked past me and exclaimed to her colleague setting up the video camera in the back, “I thought no one was going to come!”
Indeed, many students, and many people from the public as well, wanted to see this one-night only, 15-minute musical, making it a popular and successful hit. Since the musical was so short, there was a narrator who provided important commentary in the beginning and in between songs to set the stage and move the plot along. Bryan Chan played Justin, a high school student that sees this transfer student Naomi, played by Maya Balleste, and instantly tries to win her over, asking what the heck he’s gotta do. She tells him that she wants marijuana, and though Justin doesn’t smoke, he does everything he can to get it for her, in the name of love. Though, Naomi, an undercover cop, eventually turns him in, she reflects on the smart and innocent kids that need to be taught a lesson, yet she can’t get them out of her head, referring to Justin and her care for him. This somber ending to a relatively funny and entertaining musical tried to pinpoint the pains and struggles of drug use in schools.
The music was very characteristically Lin-Manuel Miranda. As Brian Heyman, Ani Keshamouni, and Karthik Ganapathy, who made up the ensemble, played the three cousins who used their networking skills to get Justin his marijuana, they rapped and sang in the style that evoked images of Hamilton and Maui from Moana. Since the musical was so short, there didn’t really seem to be anything substantial, but the music was still great, the characters had their distinct personalities and development, and the acting was on point and made the 15 minutes really entertaining.