PigPen Theatre Co. to sing stories in Ann ArborWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
The story’s the thing for PigPen Theatre Co.
Just ask how the seven artists came up with that nom de porcine.
“One of the guys is from Austin, Texas,” Ryan Melia began. “So it was rural and there was a lot of farmland. And he actually had a pigpen where he would do plays with all of his pigs. And he outgrew that, and the pigs outgrew that as well.
“And he went to college and he met six people whose characteristics matched each of the pigs. So he decided, ‘You know, guys, I think I have this thing that you would really fit into, it’s called PigPen Theatre Co.’ And we all for some reason agreed. We all took to it, and now we’re here.
“That’s the story today,” Melia said and laughed during a call as the indie folk-rockers motored toward Charlotte, N.C., for a show.
Part of that prologue is true.
“We all met when we were freshmen at Carnegie Mellon; we were all acting majors,” he said.
It was 2008, and the guys put together a play for an annual festival at the university.
Since then, the troupe has produced original works that combine theater, music and film both off-Broadway and at regional playhouses around the country. PigPen Theatre Co. is the first group to win the New York City Fringe Festival’s top honor two years in a row.
“We really just did [our 2012 debut disc, ‘Bremen’] because people who knew us already were asking for the music from our plays, and we had no way of giving it to them,” Melia said. “The fact that it garnered a little bit of traction with people that had never seen our plays, that’s been the biggest reward.”
The band’s 2013 EP, “The Way I’m Running,” is filled with more gorgeous harmonies, banjo-picking, acoustic guitars and accordion.
What’s more, the renaissance men have served up scene-stealing online covers of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” The Looking Glass’ “Brandy,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.”
“That was a Kickstarter reward if people gave a certain amount of money for [‘Bremen’], they could request a cover and we had to do it,” said Melia, who sings and plays guitar, banjo and fiddle. “Sometimes we pull them out and do them in concert.”
PigPen Theatre Co. — Melia, Alex Falberg, Arya Shahi, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Dan Weschler and Matt Nuernberger — will play at 8 p.m. April 11 at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
“Even though when we do a concert there’s no real theatrics It’s a pretty straightforward concert setting. I think that we all still go back to the idea of a story and a journey and a fully fleshed-out story basically coming through with each song,” Melia said.
“If people can come away with an idea that they listened to something that wasn’t just the same the whole time, that dynamically a journey happened, I’d say that’s probably the most important thing to us in everything we do.”
Tags: Adele’s “Someone Like You, Alex Falberg Arya Shahi, Ben Ferguson, Carnegie Mellon, Charlotte, Curtis Gillen, Dan Weschler and Matt Nuernberger, indie folk-rockers, Melia, N.C., New York City Fringe Festival’, nom de porcine, PigPen Theatre Co., the Ark in Ann Arbor, ” Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.”, ” Outkast’s “Hey Ya, ” The Looking Glass’ “Brandy