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A Stephens Grad and Her Parody Rock Opera

Stephens grad, Erin Stegeman singing live during the Columbia screening of her rock opera. Photo by Ashley Benson.


When Stephens College graduate Erin Stegman was mistaken for television actress Jennifer Morrison multiple times, she decided to capitalize on the opportunity rather than simply accept the compliment.

“It all started back in 2010,” she says. “The show ‘Once Upon a Time’ premiered on ABC, and I had several people reach out to me and ask if I was on the show because I look like the lead actress.” Erin says.

“Once Upon a Time” is a fairy tale series that takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine. The residents of Storybrooke are characters from various fairy tales who have been robbed of their memories by a curse.

“I checked out the show and quickly became addicted — it’s different and includes some fun characters,” Erin says. “I sat down at a coffee shop one day and wrote a parody sketch. A lot of friends had encouraged me, after hearing so many times I resemble Jennifer.”

Erin, her husband, Ace Marrero, and friends filmed the sketch and posted what was then a one-off parody video to YouTube. Within a few days, the video had over 10,000 hits.

“After the video was such a hit,” she says, “we expanded it into a web series and podcast. We knew we had a strong following and decided to make a feature-length film.”

The film, “Once Upon a Time: The Rock Opera,” includes seven original songs. Erin and her cast have traveled the country screening the film and performing for audiences. The screening tour wrapped up at the end of October in Columbia.

“The show varies depending on where we are,” says Erin. “We always try to at least make an appearance as our characters, but at some venues we’ve sang all the songs live along with the film — it’s interactive and has a “Rocky Horror” vibe.”

The rock opera features ten other Stephens alumni.

“A lot of the cast were in my graduating class or the year below, but a few of them are grads I connected with through the alumni network we’ve created in Los Angeles over the years,” says Erin.

The production aired its final screening of the tour on Oct. 29 at the Stephens College Macklanburg Playhouse.

Although Erin says performing at Comic-Con in San Diego was her vision from the start and a dream come true, there was a certain comfort in bringing the show back to Columbia.

stephens-performanceErin (center) with Stephens President Dianne Lynch (left) takes a final bow with fellow Stephens student performers, who were a part of the show. (Taneal, Megan , Emily, and Morgan). Photo by Ashley Benso.

“The performance at Stephens was amazing,” Erin says. “It was nice to be back at a venue where a lot of the cast had performed before — we knew we were in good hands.”

“Once Upon a Time: The Rock Opera” is available for download at cinecosmos.net.
For more information on the project and Erin Stegman visit: http://www.onceuponatimespoof.com/.

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