Lemonade Stand: in-progress musical more than its title

lemonadestandwebLemonade stands are well-known artifacts of summer–on any given summer day, kids can be seen sitting at fold-out tables with tall pitchers and hand-drawn signs on the sides of neighborhood streets. But what if an enterprising family turned this childhood activity into a viable business? Students Josua Lutian ’18 and Katie Monteleone ’18 explore this possibility and more in their in-progress, original musical Lemonade Stand.

The story follows the members of a family of four, comprised of a mother, father, daughter, and son, that owns a lemonade stand. The children each have their own struggles outside of their family’s business: “The son is gay and he’s kind of struggling with that since he hasn’t told his parents or anything, and the daughter just feels trapped in this small town working at a lemonade stand and she wants something more in her life,” said Monteleone. One day, another family moves to their street and opens an iced tea business. “They’re more official, so they’re new competition,” said Monteleone. Meanwhile, a love triangle unfolds. The daughter at the lemonade stand falls in love with the son from the iced tea family (James), but so does her brother (Lutian’s character). “The son knew that James was pursuing his sister, but then he wanted to get it off his chest, and I feel like this is something that a lot of people, especially in college, go through,” said Lutian. In this story, Monteleone and Lutian say that they want to explore different issues in their characters’ lives. “With Lemonade Stand, it’s such a simple story, so cute, it can be so funny, and just very simple, but we also wanted to talk about issues that can be very much relatable to us, especially our generation of kids: questioning your sexuality, not having plans for the future, being from different socioeconomic statuses and trying to make a relationship work, and also parents’ sacrifices,” said Lutian.

Monteleone had the idea over the summer, and it then grew into a personal project between herself and Lutian. “Last summer I was home, and I’ve always liked writing musicals just for fun, in my free time, so I came up with the idea…to write a musical about a family that owns a lemonade stand,” said Monteleone. During the summer she wrote a song, but didn’t work more on the musical until JanPlan, when she shared the song with Lutian. In addition to their JanPlan classes, the two spent time in Bixler working on the musical: “There were a lot of days where we spent, like, three hours just writing and being excited about the music we were making,” said Monteleone. Lutian said he’s glad that they started working during JanPlan, because they were able to devote significant amounts of time to their project. The two say they’ve found that they make a good team, especially given their diverse interests. “I’m an English and creative writing major and he’s a music major, so we both do music stuff and writing stuff, but we each kind of specialize in different areas, so together we’ve come up with a ton of ideas,” said Monteleone.   

So far, the pair has written nine songs, and there are more to come. “Right now, we don’t really have an ending set in stone. For the workshop concert that we did a few weeks ago, most of the songs happened in Act I of the show and we don’t really know what will happen yet,” stated Monteleone. They say that during the workshop, around 70 students came to support them, and they were surprised at the audience’s level of involvement. “People had so many suggestions, like ‘what if this happened to that character and they ran off together,’” said Monteleone. Some suggestions may make it into the final version, giving students the opportunity to contribute to the project.

Monteleone and Lutian say that this will be a multi-year project, with the goal of presenting a full show during their senior year (2018). In the meantime, they have set shorter goals. “For next year we want there to be some sort of performance, which we’re not sure what it will look like yet, but it’ll be a next step,” said Monteleone. Lutian said they had imagined a more involved read-through, where actors and actresses don’t have to memorize their lines but do have to perform their songs during the reading. “It has the flow of a show but not the staging, lighting, and other aspects of that.”

The pair emphasized the importance of the support they have received from the school and the community in the time they’ve been working on the project. Monteleone praised the resources that can be found at Colby. “Bringing [the musical] to Colby you have all these talented performers and musicians, and then you have departments and professors that will support you and want to fund you and all these things. The resources here make things like this possible.” Lutian added, “I really think [Colby] supports good ideas and they’ll do whatever it takes to get you to the goal you want to reach.”

For students who are interested in pursuing their own projects, Lutian has this advice: “Pursue your dreams, definitely be happy with what you’re studying.” In pursuing their passions, Monteleone and Lutian are taking advantage of all Colby has to offer to bring their ideas to fruition. Though still a work in progress, Lemonade Stand promises a unique experience with relatable issues woven into a fun plot.

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