Campayno's character is part of a world premiere musical entitled "Time After Time," where a time machine, invented by H.G. Wells, brings Jack the Ripper into 2010, and Wells must find a way to take him back to his time period before he strikes again.
"This is really hard because I've never had the urge to kill someone," Campayno said as he developed the character for its first stage production.
Because Jack the Ripper was never identified, he looked into famous serial killers, such as Charles Manson, searching for what drives them to kill. Campayno ended his research with an autobiography of his character, resolving the character's needs for acting purposes.
The show is based on a book with the same title written by Karl Alexander, who will be signing books at the Playhouse on opening night of the musical adaptation.
The music is by Jeffrey Saver, a current Point Park University musical theater professor and teaching artist, in collaboration with Stephen Cole, who wrote the lyrics and the adopted book for the production.
Both were available to tweak characters and lines throughout the production process. This is the first time the show will take place full-scale, but there was a reading and workshop in New York last summer, which helped to develop the characters as well.
"It's a good old-fashioned sci-fi musical romantic thriller," senior musical theater major John Wascavage said. He plays H.G. Wells, who is the brains behind the show's time machine from which all of the problems seem to stem.
Because he is a character from 1895, his songs are more classically influenced. Wascavage explained that those from 2010 are featured in contemporary pieces from their time period, and there is even some rap.
"It's in the present time, and some of the songs make fun of how technology has influenced us," senior musical theater major Sara Manganello said.
Manganello portrays Stephenson, Jack the Ripper's sister and "the embodiment of his subconscious." Her character has developed and changed along with the show while preparing for opening night.
Directed by Gabriel Barre, rehearsals began the week after winter break. This gave the cast of around 30 people about six weeks to rehearse the modern and original musical.
"[Barre] is very flexible and all about listening and experimenting," Manganello said.
The musical follows Wells' search for Jack the Ripper in 2010 and his need to rescue his new-found love, Amy, from the killer's grasp. The story has a little bit of everything, from science fiction to horror to romance.
According to Campayno, this show is very current, including a scene at a McDonald's and a reference to Lady Gaga. For these reasons, the cast needed to "do a lot of homework" to prepare.
"We had a day where we did nothing but movement work to work together as a team," Wascavage said.
Because it is a world premiere, the Point Park theater students had to entirely research and develop their characters, having nothing to directly base them on.
Manganello found playing John's sister changed throughout the entire rehearsal process and is looking forward to seeing how audiences will understand her character.
"I don't think there is a lot out there like this," Manganello said.
"There is romance, gore and suspense ... and the message of love."
The show opens on Friday, Feb. 26 with a special preview show Thursday, Feb. 25. It runs in the Rockwell Theater of the Pittsburgh Playhouse on the weekends of Feb. 26 through Feb. 28 and March 11 through March 14.
Thursday through Saturday, the curtain rises at 8 p.m. There are also 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
Student tickets are $7 for matinee and $8 for night shows, and all other tickets are $18 for the matinee and $20 for evening performances. Call (412) 621-4445 or visit www.pittsburghplayhouse.com to purchase tickets or for more information.
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