At the Fringe Festival preview last week, a particularly vicious act caught my eye: Katie Molinaro’s musical vendetta against all men, “On the Rag to Riches.” If Molinaro weren’t that exact cute-but-insane girl so many men fall for, I’d be frightened. My interest was piqued, so I asked Molinaro, a fourth-time Fringe performer but first-time producer, to tell me more.
What’s your show about?
“On the Rag to Riches” is a one-woman rock musical about a girl named Janey who cannot seem to figure out why every relationship seems to end before it begins. Was it her first kiss, or was it the book her mom gave her as a teenager explaining how her body works? Or maybe there isn’t enough time between her unhealthy obsession with Frosted Flakes and the impending zombie apocalypse? She may never know.
Comedy, mystery, drama, musical, or autobiographical show?
Comedy, musical and (mostly) autobiographical. There is definitely a fine line between ‘autobiographical’ and ‘completely over the top’ in this show, and I think audiences will have a fun time trying to figure out where to draw that line.
Shawn Northrip, a writer who’s turned “Titus Andronicus” punk, teamed up with you on a couple of songs. What were you guys going for?
Actually, Shawn wrote all of the music! I just wrote the script. We have been working on this show since January, and at first, there was a lot of script and not a lot of music. Shawn and I agreed that we should turn some of those larger chunks of text into songs. What I wanted was a power-driven musical that people could rock out to, with the added bonus of a fun little story about my, err, I mean, Janey's life. As far as musical influences go, I told Shawn that I wanted to rock out like Tenacious D, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the original cast recording of “The Little Shop of Horrors.” There are definitely some other musical influences in there, but that was our jumping-off point. Yeah, I’m kind of random like that.
You’ve been in a few Fringe shows before. Where have we seen you?
I am a proud Fringe veteran: ”Lunch: The Musical,” written by Shawn Northrip and directed by the lovely Shirley Serotsky in 2007, “Gilgamesh Who Saw the Deep,” (2008) written by Stephen Spotswood and directed by Ryan Whinnem and “Bare-Breasted Women Swordfighting” (2009) with Dog & Pony DC, directed by Lorraine Ressegger. I was the woman with the big [pauses] sword. Wow, I guess that joke only works if I were a dude.
We love a good all-girl band. Tell us about your backup musicians.
First of all, I’m gonna say we really lucked out when we found these ladies. From the beginning, we knew we wanted Casie Platt on bass because she has worked with Shawn before as an actor in “Lunch: The Musical,” “Titus [X]” and “Trixie Tickles,” and she has just the right amount of energy on stage that this kind of show requires. She freakin’ rocks! Then, a few months later we were recommended Danielle Ray [drums] and Veronica Hunt [lead guitar] by our good friend, John Shryock. We listened to some tracks from their band, Lose, Lose Situation, and we were hooked!