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Before it wound up its run in 2010, every mystery answered on the hit series Lost only gave rise to new questions. For six seasons, showrunners Damon Lindelhof and Carlton Cuse vexed, delighted and surprised fans with the iconoclastic series, though many felt abandoned by a finale that was more confusing than satisfying. Four years later, with some perspective, an ounce of nostalgia and a ton of humor, Lost returns not to television but the stage at Hollywood’s Lillian Theatre where Lost the Musical: We Have to Go Back is enjoying its world premiere through Oct. 26.
“We open the show with Don Mclean’s ‘American Pie.’ Instead of ‘bye bye, Miss American Pie,’ it’s ‘bye bye, Oceanic 815, from down under, went asunder when we fell from the sky,’” sings the show’s lyricist Steven Brandon to The Hollywood Reporter, pivoting to another of the show’s 16 musical numbers, Journey’s ’80s power ballad “Don’t Stop Believing,” sung when one of the characters gets stuck under water and the cast belts out, “Don’t stop, breathing, hold on to your breath.”
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Brandon’s writing credits include the Single Girl Theory pilot for ABC’s Family Channel as well as the CBS sitcom Friend Me. He teamed up with fellow Lost devotee, actor Steven Christopher Parker (Juno, Blades of Glory), who wrote the book. “Steven and I are both comedy enthusiasts and we became friends that way,” says Parker. “We approached the book from a Book of Mormon point of view and we approached the lyrics from a ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic point of view.”
Financed with a 30-day Kickstarter campaign that raised $8,660, the production was well over its target of $8,150, which it crossed on the last day. According to the two Stevens, they’ve had requests from all over the world to see the show, and one donor is coming from as far away as Canada. Cast members Sam Anderson, M.C. Gainey, Kimberley Joseph and Andrea Gabriel stopped in for last Monday’s world premiere coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of the show’s first airing, and the production has a standing invitation to any of the show’s stars to appear in a cameo.
A loopy account of the survivors of a plane crash living on a mysterious South Pacific island, Lost employs fantasy, time travel and alternate universes as the cast struggles against a hostile race of islanders called The Others, as well as a nefarious black Smoke Monster that is somehow tied to the island’s origins. As with any discussion of the series, Lost the Musical comes down to the ending. While various storylines were neatly tied up, many found it a confusing and frustrating finale.
“I would have liked all my questions answered, and there were some unanswered questions,” Brandon says. Just to make sure their customers are satisfied, the musical offers three alternative endings on which the audience gets to vote. “That’s what we do in the alternate ending. We just make up these answers ourselves based on a lot of good information we have, having studied the show so much.” The endings fall into popular TV genres such as “’70s cartoon,” “’80s sci-fi movie” or “’90s sitcom.”
Read More: Damon Lindelhof on ‘Anxiety’ Over TV Return
The hope is to get a big-time producer interested and take the show on the road. Brandon says he regularly gets tweets from fans all over the world, including the U.K. and Hawaii, begging them to bring the show to town. But to do that they need a successful run in Los Angeles. And if not, they’re eyeballing another classic they think is ripe for parody. “If this show goes according to plan,” says Parker, holding a pregnant pause, “we’re thinking 2015, Back to the Future.”
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