Mason School of Theater Alumni Collaborate on Musical at Carnegie Mellon



Rebecca Wahls, Mason School of Theater Alumna and Director of this old haunt
Rebecca Wahls, Mason School of Theater alumna and director of this old haunt.

This is not the first time Mason School of Theater alumni actor/lyricist Maggie Rodgers and writer/director Rebecca Wahls have joined creative forces. 

The pair first worked together in 2013 in a play that Wahls directed, followed by several other pieces in subsequent years.

What had originated as an idea for a thesis for Wahls, who now attends Carnegie Mellon University, the musical, this old haunt, evolved over time and countless Zoom calls. With Rodgers overseeing the music and lyrics, Wahls directing, and NYC-based playwright SMJ writing the book, they held eight separate draft readings with other artists across the country to build their team. Once they received the official greenlight from Carnegie Mellon, the physical world of the play began to come to life. 

“Going to Mason was the best choice I ever made. The relationships I formed during my time at Mason include not only Maggie but many of my most essential collaborators” shared Wahls. As for students pursuing a career in theater, she adds, “If you are dedicated to making a career in the arts, don't wait for permission. Write the play, raise the money you need to make it happen, book the venue, get people in seats. You also don't have to do things the way someone else already did them. Decide how much time, how much money, and what people you need to make the thing happen. Being an artist-producer has been essential to my journey, and through the skill set I have acquired, I have been able to lift up my own work and the work of my collaborators.”

Maggie Marie Rodgers, Actor and Lyricist
School of Theater alumna Maggie Marie Rodgers, actor and lyricist.

“Mason gave me the opportunity to really explore text and new work. A lot of my time at Mason was figure it out with your collaborators." said Rodgers. Many late nights were spent in rehearsal rooms. We worked really hard and got great support from the faculty. My time at Mason led me to opportunities such as studying at the O'Neill Theatre Center and being an apprentice at Berkshire Theatre Group.” As for her advice to aspiring students, “Go see shows in the DC area (they have discounts for students). Write down what worked and didn't work-how can you put that into your practice? Support your classmates who do get a part. It's a community that brings each other up.”

The musical, this old haunt, explores the ups and downs of friendship and how the people we know become ghosts. 10 years after high school, Hetty, Selina, Caroline, and Penelope reunite after their choir teacher's passing. In a cabin in the woods, old memories and past selves are summoned. 

What’s next for this team? The Big Apple! Following the academic premiere of this old haunt at Carnegie Mellon University this fall, November 19-30, they are planning a concert of the music in Spring 2023 in New York City.

For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit this old haunts performance website.

this old haunt
Created by Maggie Marie Rodergs, Rebecca Wahls, and SMJ
Music and lyrics by Maggie Marie Rodgers
Book by SMJ
Additional music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak