For The Love of a Hometown

Journalism and Media Studies Alumnus writes and produces an award winning sci-fi rock Musical, inspired by his love for his hometown, New Brunswick.

David Seamon at Hidden Grounds in New Brunswick Credit: Amber Atabansi

“It’s very surreal bringing a show into New York especially when it’s hyper specific to New Brunswick. A lot of people have asked me, why aren’t you doing this show in New Brunswick? And the answer is, ‘Why not put it up in New York.’ We can put it up, see if we can get a name for ourselves and get some positive press and buzz about the show and then come back to New Brunswick with a bit of a resume from the city.”

Rutgers Journalism and Media Studies Alumnus David Seamon graduated in 2011 and has been excelling ever since. From working at the New Jersey State Theater to creating his own award-winning Broadway show, Seamon has never stopped pushing to share his talents with the world. Over the past year, Seamon created a Broadway musical titled, The Eleventh Hour! The play is about the end of the world by way of blackhole. It takes place in New Brunswick with a set of very colorful characters.

Back in 2015, Seamon participated in CoLAB Arts’ 48 hour Musical Challenge, where playwrights, directors and musicians are given a theme or question to center their musical around. Seamon, along with his randomly selected partners, Annie Rutherford Lutz, who is still the director and choreographer for the show, and Shimmy Schwartz, a local musician and the Frontman of the band Little Rose, were given the theme of Religion and Politics.  

“So, we just started screaming ‘Black hole!’ at each other while we were playing the guitar. So we would scream ‘Black hole!’ and say something about religion, ‘Black hole!’, something about politics, and so that sort of became the frame of the entire first draft of the show. It was a musical about a black hole bearing down on the planet and our main character was struggling with religious figures and political pundits who were trying to tell him how to spend his final day,” Seamon said on how they birthed the musical.

“The first draft was 15 pages and 15 minutes long with about 3 songs and on Sunday, we performed it at Pino’s in Highland Park and it just totally killed,” Seamon said. “Later that summer, Dan Swern, the producing director at CoLAB Arts, commissioned me to turn it into a full length piece.”

After the two staged readings back in 2016, Seamon says that he took detailed notes and polished the script to what it is today: a show entirely about the end of the world by way of black hole but a little less about the themes of religion and politics and more about the spirit of the music and the town where the show was born: New Brunswick.

While Seamon is not a New Brunswick native, going to Rutgers and really immersing himself in the culture created a lasting bond with the city that he now classifies as his hometown.

“I know New Brunswick has a world renowned university, two world-class hospitals, amazing law firms and has a history with the revolutionary war but now it’s got a musical. So, I know New Brunswick doesn’t need my help to put it on the map but it’s definitely for love of my hometown.” Seamon said on his hopes for the musical.

Seamon said one of the longest standing messages from the show is about the heroine of the story, the character of Amy Leonardo, who is the one working to save the world. “The play  addresses toxic masculinity in the face of a strong female character and of course, we do it in the most irreverent way possible but the show has a really positive message about men taking a seat all the way in the back and trusting in fearless female leaders,” he says.

The musical, and his first ever full-length play, won 7 awards at the 2018 NY Winterfest including Best Play, Best Director, Best Lighting Design, Best Score, Best Choreography and Most Creative Play.

Before joining SC&I, Seamon had applied to be in the Mason Gross School of the Arts but was unfortunately, not accepted. He came to Rutgers as a first year not having any idea of what his major was then going to be. However, he still felt that he wanted to perform and specifically sing, so, he joined the Rutgers Glee Club.

“Long term that was a great decision on my part because I learned how to sing, I mean, I knew how to sing before but I learned how to really use my adult voice.”

Seamon was able to find his path as a Journalism and Media Studies major soon after.

“A lot of my friends were warning me against taking expository writing and how horrible it was, but I loved it. So much so, that I took expos ll and lll. And so that’s when I thought, I’m gonna go to the journalism school so I can keep writing and researching and talking to people and then wrapped in the degree are the skills on editing and through that I found sound editing and scoring which was groundwork for the work I do now.”

With all this success, Seamon hasn’t forgotten his roots. He says that his time at SC&I, specifically as a JMS major, taught him a great deal. “Part of what I learned at Rutgers in the journalism department was this idea of creating opportunities for yourself the idea of being a journalist who can do it all: find a story, report a story, shoot it, cut it, release it themselves,” he explains. “With that instinct of being this one man band, I decided that I would have to make opportunities for myself.”