It’s not your average post-apocalyptic story. Sure, there are the references to the end of the Mayan calendar and a new-fangled technology called “cybergenic reincarnation” – but “Joys of Armageddon,” a new musical, written by former Hoboken residents and members of the “guy/girl electronic duo” Mad Happy, Mike and Rivka Kilmer, has a secret weapon: legendary Hoboken writer James Rado.
Famous for his work on the 1970s musical “Hair,” Rado mentored the young playwrights with the project, according to Mike Kilmer, and even took a rare look at a first draft for the play.
“[Rado] has been a fan and a supporter of ours for a long time,” he said. “He goes out to see music constantly. He’s humble, experienced, and full of insightful ideas.”
“There’s always a belief that we’re living in the end times.” – Mike Kilmer
A mental-institution escapee, Macon Tracktenberg, also known as “Makin Traxxx,” has discovered a way to reincarnate the living into the cyber world, which he and his followers hope to realize before the world comes crashing down.
The show opens for one weekend only in June, Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19 at the Monroe Center for the Arts, 720 Monroe St. in Hoboken. For more information about the play, visit www.madhappy.com/tickets.
Although the Sci-Fi musical seems out of this world, some elements of the play were based in reality.
“Many of the stories in the play we actually heard while on tour [in Mad Happy], or through people we know,” he said. “It’s a story about transformation, and about going through an ordeal. Most of the play isn’t that farfetched.”
The post-apocalyptic theme came to Kilmer while he was in the sixth grade attending Hoboken’s Hudson School. “There was something called the Hoboken Action for Nuclear Disarmament. We all kind of lived in a time when the potential for mass destruction was never far away. It’s nothing about the current political or environmental situation, but about the historical view of the apocalypse.”
According to the playwright, the apocalypse is a common theme in stories, which can be dated back thousands of years. “There’s always a belief that we’re living in the end times. We may just be entertaining ourselves with the possibility. But death is one of the most frightening struggles we face. There is some sort of comfort in dying in a group.”
That possibility is always close at hand for the Mutiny Zoo Community, which is forced to face the outside world when their underground compound floods only days before the expected end of the world.
“The group hears about a boat that’s leaving out of New Orleans,” Kilmer said. “They want to sail out of the fires [of the apocalypse] on the high seas.”
One tiny actress
For Mr. and Mrs. Kilmer, “Joys of Armageddon” isn’t their only baby. In fact, their 10-month old baby girl Rinah, who literally had been touring with Mad Happy while in Rivka’s womb, is also in the play and taking after her musical parents.
“She’s been on stage performing with us since she was 5 and-a-half weeks old,” he said. “She has taken to music like a fish in water.”
“Joys of Armageddon,” stars the entire Kilmer family, and plenty of Hudson County familiar faces, like Dominick and Jamie Della Fave from the band The Fave. They’ll all be on hand for one weekend only, June 18 and 19, at the Monroe Center for the Arts, 720 Monroe St. in Hoboken. –HR
Sean Allocca can be reached at email@example.com