SHU alumnus makes it big with Tink!

Greg Kerestan, a Seton Hill University (SHU) alumnus of 2012 and Greensburg native, is flying high with his talents as Stage Right!’s original musical production of “Tink!” heads to New York City. “Tink!” by Anthony Marino follows the story of Tinkerbell before the events of “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie. Kerestan wrote the lyrics alongside composer Lena Gabrielle.

Originally performed at The Palace Theater in Greensburg last year, seats quickly sold out as the audience reveled in the magic of Tink’s Neverland. The musical was picked among eight others out of hundreds of scripts by the New York Musical Festival to be performed in New York.

"Tink!" is set to take flight on the Broadway stage. Photo courtesy of tinkmusical.com

“Tink!” sold out at The Palace Theater. Photo courtesy of tinkmusical.com

“Tink!” tells the story of before Peter Pan came to Neverland, akin to “Wicked” telling the story of Oz before Dorothy’s arrival. It follows the love story of Tink and a pirate, James.

“I got involved with “Tink!” through my ongoing partnership with Stage Right!’s Neverland Theatricals imprint,” said Kerestan. “There has not been a single show thus far in the series that I haven’t been a contributor of at least lyrics, if not book. So the process for working on a Neverland Theatricals production works a lot like writing for a TV show.”

“Tony {Anthony Marino} is the bookwriter usually, and he functions like a TV showrunner,” explained Kerestan.

Marino, who was inspired by his young son to write “Tink!,” drafts an outline and writes a script. Kerestan and Gabrielle then take that script to figure out where songs are needed in the show.

“I write a first draft of the lyrics, Lena revises those to fit the music she writes, then Tony takes a look at what we’ve got, asks for changes and revises his script to better fit the material we have added. This goes on for a month or two, and we have a working draft of the show.”

Kerestan is actively involved in Stage Right! Photo courtesy of G. Kerestan

Kerestan is actively involved in Stage Right! Photo courtesy of G. Kerestan

A double major in English and theatre arts, Kerestan has worked as a journalist, factory worker, website manager and assistant to the vice president of a nuclear engineering company. He currently works for Social Security as a disability claims adjudicator, with writing lyrics on the side.

With all these talents under his belt, Kerestan remembers a simpler time when he first began work in the theatre arts.

“I first got involved in the theatre as a little kid, when my kindergarten forced mandatory involvement in the elementary school musical for all students,” said Kerestan. “But that doesn’t count.”

Kindergarten aside, Kerestan has been in performances since the seventh grade. He did not start writing plays until his freshman year in college.

“I saw a video of the musical “A Very Potter Musical” on YouTube,” said Kerestan. “These guys writing and singing and performing in the video weren’t professionals, they didn’t have conservatory degrees in writing and composing, and I realized anyone can write a show, with or without a pedigree.”

“So I called my friends and we started work on our first show, which took about two years to write,” Kerestan said. Their showed called “In Control” premiered in 2011 at the Garden Civic Center.

Kerestan has written probably eight musicals. Commissioned for Stage Right, five of those musicals are part of the “Stage Right Originals” brand, which now renamed “Neverland Theatricals.” The brand produces an all-audiences original musical about once a year.

The fairy tale-based series includes “Tink!” and the older shows like “Mermaid,” “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty and “Little Red.”

“Then there’s “In Control,” which was premiered by Stage Right! but isn’t a “Stage Right Originals.” It’s a small-sized piece for adult audiences, not all-ages,” added Kerestan.

Kerestan has also written two shows and lyrics that haven’t been published yet.

Tink explores the Neverland. Photo courtesy of tinkmusical.com

Tink explores the Neverland. Photo courtesy of tinkmusical.com

“SHU was a huge help for me,” said Kerestan. “Before I came here, I saw myself primarily as an actor and a singer, who might mess around a little bit with writing.”

Kerestan attributes his path to playwriting to the guidance he received from his professors at SHU. He has taken playwriting, music theory and composition courses, as well as worked as an intern for producing musicals.

“Plus,” adds Kerestan, “the “Theatre Arts” course required in my senior year laid the groundwork for much of the festival submission process and producing work I find myself dealing with now on the “Tink!” project.”

The show is set to hit the stage in New York, spring of 2016. NYMF runs July 17-Aug. 7, 2016. Exact dates and times for “Tink!” will be released in April, and tickets will go on sale June 1.
For more information, check out their website http://tinkmusical.com or their Kickstarter page!

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