“Underdog”: Student Writes And Directs An Independent Musical

Among Joriah's many talents, he also designed the first logo for his show. "Underdog" is one of many shows that he Joriah has written, and his second one to be produced.

Among Joriah’s many talents, he also designed the first logo for his show. “Underdog” is one of many shows that he Joriah has written, and his second one to be produced.

 

Loy Norrix has always promoted students writing, with classes like Slam Poetry and Creative Writing allowing students a place to write in a unique way. Senior Joriah Fleming has taken student writing to a whole other level. In his free time, Fleming writes musicals, writing the script as well as the music for his shows. His first show, “Dream: A New Musical,” was put on his sophomore year of high school at WMU’s Little Theatre. Joriah directed, choreographed and starred in the show, which was a historical adaptation of Martin Luther King’s early life.

His newest show, “Underdog” is currently in production, and has a storyline that is pretty relatable for high school students.

‘“Underdog” follows the story of six high school seniors. It follows each of the students’ lives and relationships outside of the main plot, and those subplots become the main idea of the piece. Along with the individual stories, the show emphasizes aspects of teenage life that sometimes can go unnoticed.

Not only is the show about high school, but the cast members and many of the people involved in the production are high school students from around the area.

“Quite of few students from Norrix are in the show, along with students with from Schoolcraft, Gull Lake, Portage Northern, Portage Central, Kalamazoo Christian, WMU and KVCC,” said Fleming.

Joriah has one show under his belt and is feeling confident about his second production.

“I’ve grown as a writer from ‘Dream.’ I have more experience now as a writer and a director. It makes the process more enjoyable and I was able to put more time and thought in the actual material for ‘Underdog,’ instead of trying to formulate the best way to direct,” said Fleming.

“Underdog” opens in late April, with the official date and venue to be announced.