Like many people during the COVID-19 quarantine, Victoria Campbell did what many others did while sheltering away from others: She took up a new project.
The Queen Anne resident, who is currently living in Switzerland while her husband is on assignment there for his job, turned her love for musical theater and concern for the environment into a complete stage production.
It turns out, quarantine is a good time to write musicals.
“People need time to think and time to reflect and time to just process our thoughts, and people don’t have the chance to realize their potential when you don’t have the time to think,” Campbell said.
With a 100-page script and 20 songs, “Treeson: An Eco-Musical” tells the journey of a young man, Ash, who becomes dissatisfied working for his father’s unethical logging company. While searching for a new purpose, he meets Terra, an environmentalist who is trying to save the planet.
“The story I wanted to tell was a story of hope and inspiration to change and act,” Campbell said.
She said her main character, Ash, is based on many millenials.
“The millenial generation has high standards for themselves,” she said, adding many millenials are not motivated by money or vacations, but want to support bigger societal goals, such as fighting for the environment.
Part of Campbell’s inspiration came from her best friend, who works for the Environmental Protection Agency and is very passionate about saving the planet.
“The takeaway is I believe climate change is real, and the environment is in distress, and people need to find ways to play their part and help heal the planet,” she said.
Campbell started the project at the beginning of lockdown, in March or April, when the inspiration hit. She had been doing a lot of “doom scrolling,” and in the midst of all the bad news, Campbell found her silver lining in the environment: With so many people staying in doors and their daily activities altered, pollution was decreasing, and wildlife had a chance to come out again.
With an idea percolating, Campbell soon found her voice, and the words just came out, she said. Her process started with journaling, which turned into poems and then songs, and she noticed an ecological theme had emerged.
“I consider it a love story between humanity and the earth, a love story and a call to action: What are we going to do to make the earth a better place,” Campbell said.
Her decision to turn her songs into musical theater was fairly easy. Campbell has a background in psychology but had been working in human resources. She said she wanted to pursue something musical while in Switzerland.
“I consider myself a musical theater consumer,” she said. “I’ve seen probably 50 to 60 shows in my life. I have a fondness and appreciation for musical theater.”
Still, creating a musical set for stage is a big production, which Campbell likened to “planning a wedding times a thousand.”
Because she has no experience in musical theater, Campbell has collaborated with a lot of professionals in Europe. After she wrote the script and the songs, she then recorded the lyrics and the baseline melody into her computer and hired an arranger to help with the orchestration. She has also reached out to many actors over the internet and through social media sites to gauge their interest in recording the songs.
Once she is satisfied with the album, Campbell would like to have a stage reading in either Zurich or London and is raising money and looking for investors to accomplish this. Her ultimate goal is to have “Treeson” performed on Broadway or the West End in London.
While the initial reception for “Treeson” has been positive, Campbell knows a lot of things must happen before she sees her musical performed in a professional setting.
Campbell is also not content to end her musical theater pursuits when the final curtain falls on “Treeson.” She would like to step away from the corporate world for good to pursue musical theater full time. Campbell already has ideas about future projects and collaborations in the works. She also wants to attend development workshops to refine her skills.
To learn more about “Treeson: An Eco-Musical” or listen to some of the songs, go to treesonmusical.com.