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REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA

About The Production
REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA is the brainchild of Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. The two began performing what they called ten-minute operas at coffee shops and rock clubs in Los Angeles in 2000. One of those short pieces, The Necromerchant's Debt, a futuristic tale involving a graverobber, was the seed that grew into REPO! Zdunich says that "the original GraveRobber was a character very similar to the one I'm playing now in that he was this rogue who lived on the outskirts of society. He was making a social commentary about what he'd see in the graveyard. One of the things that he saw was a repo man who would repossess body organs that were bought on credit – that ten-minute story ended up evolving to where the GraveRobber became indebted to the Repo Man. When we performed it the audience reception to that story was the strongest of all the ten-minute operas we had done, so we thought ‘Let's make it bigger!'”

From there, Smith and Zdunich expanded their story into a forty-five minute set of vignettes called REPO, which introduced most of the characters that would eventually inhabit the movie incarnation. They continued performing the show at rock clubs in L.A., and it later grew into a fully staged two-hour theatrical production, which was first performed in 2002. The show was mounted at the John Raitt Theater in Hollywood, the Split ID Theater in West Hollywood, and then went on to Off-Broadway at the Wings Theater in New York's West Village. It was during the process of staging and performing the show in New York and L.A. that Smith and Zdunich were able to develop the story, characters and songs that would later become the film REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA.

During this time, they also met music video director Darren Lynn Bousman when he came in to audition as a director for one of the stage productions. Recalls Bousman, "I'd just moved to Los Angeles to do musicals. Ever since I was a kid, I've responded to musicals like JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and TOMMY. Until I get out here, and of course there's no musicals to be done. So I started shopping my own script called THE DESPERATE, meeting with a bunch of people, who'd ask, ‘What's your ultimate goal?' And I said, ‘I want to do a musical.'”

"One day a script came across my desk,” continues Bousman, "but it's not a script per se, it's a stage play called ‘Repo.' And I was like, "I don't want to do a stage play.” And my reps said, "Just read it.” They didn't have any of the music, but I read it anyway and flipped. Immediately I found the writers and called them, begging, ‘Let me direct this, let me direct this.' And this was without even hearing the music, it's just reading the words on the page.”

Smith and Zdunich admired Darren Lynn Bousman's passion and love for the rock opera genre and immediately hired him to direct the first full-length stage production of REPO!

Darren Lynn Bousman went on from there to direct SAW II, which became the number one movie at the American box office its opening week and then SAW III, another number one film at the American box office week of opening, but he always felt connected to REPO! and wanted to see it made into a film. Bousman tried repeatedly to use his newfound connections and influence to get a REPO! movie financed, but a musical horror rock opera was a hard concept for producers to visualize.

It was going back to their ten-minute roots that finally got the movie made. Bousman reached out to Zdunich and Smith, flying them up to Toronto to make a ten-minute short film to pitch Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures Producers Carl Mazzocone, Mark Burg and Oren Koules on the REPO! concept. Bousman then approached SAW Producer Daniel Jason Heffner as they were finishing editing on SAW III, explaining that REPO! was his dream project and asked for help to get the short made. Heffner agreed and gathered the entire SAW crew together ove

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