Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Charles Inniss ’09 hopes to bring his passion for music to the main stage in fall of 2008. Inniss, a music major, has written and composed his own musical titled, “Written in the Stars,” which follows a young man through his search for identity in an unfamiliar community.
“It is about this kid’s truth,” said Inniss. “It’s a tale of disillusion, a young man’s quest to seek out truth. That’s how the first song starts. It’s a tragedy, but it’s uplifting, I think. It should be uplifting.”
Inniss has planned the musical since high school. He focused on it last summer and rewrote the script during winter break.
“I started writing it….well, the idea has been around for years. My brother and I have talked about the idea since high school. Chris, my brother, didn’t want to commit to the show, so I started laying the plans for it since sophomore year, last year, and then, last summer I was able to work on it. I wrote the script and songs,” Inniss said.
The musical is titled “Written in the Stars” because of the protagonist, Eddie’s, obsession with finding his destiny.
“It starts off pretty clichÃ©d, he’s just moved into a new community, so he’s dealing with that,” Inniss said. “But he’s really dealing with finding out who he really is. He’s really interested in knowing his destiny, what he’s fated to do. It’s called “Written in the Stars.” because there are a couple of scenes, important scenes, where he’s looking at the stars and he tries to understand his destiny.”
The musical features a large chorus and dance sequences, which Inniss plans to arrange with the help of a choreographer.
“I call it an ensemble cast, one of the shows where there has to be a big chorus. There has to be a lot of dancing. It’s a main stage musical, doesn’t work at all without the support of the chorus.”
The main character, Eddie, is named after Inniss’s childhood schoolmate.
“The character’s name is based on my friend in 3rd grade, whose name was Eddie,” Inniss said. “But the character’s changed so much since I named him. The character started out as weak and a loser, but I changed that. He’s not anything like that. He’s confused, but he’s strong.”
The plot contains elements Inniss relates to, but he maintains that Eddie’s journey is not autobiographical.
“I understand the main character. A lot of me is in the character, but the character’s not me. He’s in a theater class, and in high school I was into theater, so a bunch of stuff comes into that. But I think that there are things that we all try to figure out,” Inniss said.
Inniss was inspired to put his own work on stage after seeing a student musical as a freshman.
“I saw one [musical], written by two juniors at the time. I saw it, and I said, ‘I can do better’, Inniss said. “I’m not trying to be cocky, but I thought that I could write a better show. My dream was to put it on my junior year, but I think it’s better this way. I hope that this summer, I can get a grant to stay here and orchestrate some of these songs.”
Inniss looks forward to presenting his final product to the Drama Board as an option for a fall production.
“I’m thinking fall ‘08,” Inniss said. “Main stage, fall ‘08. This shit’s going to be hot.”