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A Musical With Singing, Dancing, Aliens And A Message

SaulPaul’s Alien Adventure, a new family-friendly musical, was inspired by musician SaulPaul’s mission to spread positive messages into the world and also – perhaps more surprisingly – by his catching a dance competition show on TV.

“I was actually inspired by watching ‘World of Dance’ … a show I’d never seen before and really wasn’t into,” SaulPaul says. “But I was amazed by the beautiful sets. And each week they’d have these dancers and they’d create this world and they would dance.”

Inspired by the sets and the dancing, he decided to use those tools to create a stage show aimed at kids and families.

“I wanted to create a vehicle that allows us to create amazing sets and do amazing things with dance [that] would incorporate my music,” he says. 

To help make that idea a reality, SaulPaul turned to his longtime creative partner Bianca Neal, who was onboard immediately.

“I love musicals. I love anything theatrical,” she says.

Neal and SaulPaul both have a background in film, and their artistic vision leans more toward the cinematic; together, they wrote a script that includes multiple settings, aliens (“Shout out for all my folks that love and like extraterrestrials!” SaulPaul says), time travel, and spaceships.

“I didn’t know all the rules, so I wrote it more like a movie,” SaulPaul says, adding that director Delanté Keys never tried to reign in the script or make it more traditionally play-like. “Later, he was like, ‘It was so out-of-the-box! But I didn’t want to limit your creativity, so we just rose to that occasion.’”

Kenah Benefield stars in the show as Li’l SP, a character based on SaulPaul as a child; he asked for some guidance on capturing the spirit of the character, and “they were just like, ‘Confident, just smiley,’” Benefield says. “Everything that SaulPaul [stil] is. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do that!’” 

The casing makes a lot of sense if you know Benefield and SaulPaul – they share a spirit of enthusiasm and confidence. For example, Benefield doesn’t have a background in musical theater, but was pretty unfazed about playing the lead in a musical.

“After reading the script, it seemed very comfortable,” Benefied says. “It was like, ‘Oh, this is a song right here. We’re dancing, we’re moving, we’re having a good time.’”

Neal says that when she and SaulPaul work together, it’s with a shared goal of spreading positivity.

“We have an overall mission, which is… to make the world a better place,” Neal says. “To change people’s lives and transform them positively.”

SaulPaul says that while SaulPaul’s Alien Adventure is a fun family show, it’s also got a message for its audience.

“The messaging is clear,” he says. “Because it’s really about culture. It’s really about diversity. It’s about inclusion. It’s about learning about others.”

"SaulPaul's Alien Adventure" runs through March 1 at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces and hosts This Is My Thing and Arts Eclectic, and also produces Get Involved and the Sonic ID project. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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