Earlier today, Bwog sat down with Pat Blute. Blute, of BwogWeather and HardCore fame, has been of late consumed by the production of his new rock-opera, SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney. Tickets go on sale at 5 pm today, and will sell out fast. Blute, director and creator, is pretty excited. Bwog sat down with him on the Steps to hash it out.
Blute: This is the interview for SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney, the story of Jesus Christ, told to the music of Britney Spears, “The Greatest Story Ever Told, the Greatest Music Ever Written.”
Bwog: That’s such a great tagline. How did it come to you?
Blute: It’s an extremely self-explanatory tagline that tells you exactly what you are going to see. No surprises, no gimmicks, beyond that. There’s no dialogue and none of the lyrics are changed.
Bwog: That does sound wonderful. So how did you come up with the idea?
Blute: That’s a great question. So, I don’t remember how I really came up with the idea, but I can share some of its iterations. High school Spanish class, we did modismos, we had to come up with two things which contrasted, but which were similar. So I did Britney Spears and Jesus, and it worked out, and everyone gave a laugh. That was 12th grade. It then just became this running party joke, where I would tell people certain select scenes, and always get a laugh, or a “That works.”
Bwog: So when did it become serious?
Blute: It became serious when I talked to some people with certain connections, and they said, “You have to try this.” It was originally going to be a staged reading, but I didn’t like the idea of outside dialogue, so it literally is the Gospel according to Britney, and Britney alone. Her discography allows her to play both friend and foe, villain and hero, and in many ways it captures the motifs of the gospels.
Bwog: What about people who might take offense upon hearing about Britney Spears mashed up with Jesus Christ? People who think shaved head and running mascara when they think Britney.
Blute: That is definitely a part of the hype, but we’ve had people from religious groups come and preview the show, and they have found it one, emotionally relevant, and two, reverent. It’s a very classic retelling, we don’t go out on any limbs that might cause that sort of controversy. I can assure anyone who is worried about that, that if they come see the show, they will see it is religiously accurate and relevant, and that it adds to the idea of “Who are we to judge certain people?” Britney Spears has definitely been thrown in the public spotlight a lot, and has been scrutinized, almost dehumanized in a lot of ways through the use of the camera lens.
Bwog: So in Lit Hum we read the canonical gospels, and this sounds like it is a pretty canonical production.
Blute: It is.
Bwog: So which gospel did you follow? We did learn that John is thematically and stylistically a little out there, as opposed to the other three.
Blute: Yeah, I like Matthew, I like Luke, because in terms of telling narrative and getting story across, they’re the easiest to follow. In conversation, there is a lot of intersection and interaction between the four. And just in parallel, when you look at Britney’s life, there are all these different tabloids and magazines, telling different narratives of her life
Blute: Meta! I was being meta.
Bwog: Yeah, you were, and it was fantastic. Are we going to be seeing any of that interplay in SPEARS?
Blute: The show is meta in a lot of ways. I mean, it’s a telling of the entire life of Jesus, but we never say the word, “Jesus.”
Bwog: Would a Britney fan be able to get more out of the show? Are there in-jokes there?
Blute: Yes and no. Whatever your background is, you’ll come away with something. As long as you know one of the two things we’re talking about, you will have a great time.
Bwog: And people who know something, or a lot of things, about both, what about them?
Blute: They are going to have a really fantastic time. Tickets are impossible to get, they will sell out in like a minute. I’m dead serious.
Bwog: I believe you. Have you been actively building the hype, or has it just happened?
Blute: Well, if you take two huge elements of modern culture, and combine them in a way that is both shockingly tasteful, and also new, and necessary, the publicity has just snowballed. So far, everyone that has come to previews, even just rehearsals, without costumes, people have left crying. It’s both tasteful and accurate, and an inspirational story for us all.
Bwog: Anything else I should ask you?
Blute: The bottom line is, it’s just a nice reminder to be in the right place at the right time talking to the right people, and your crazy idea that was just cocktail party fodder, can blow up. This could go past Columbia.
Bwog: Are there going to be recruiters there? People checking you out?
Blute: [pause] Yes, there are. That’s all I can say about that. Oh, and if you come, you should come at 7 or 7:30, there is a whole spectacle planned. The ratio of usher to audience is almost 1:2.
Bwog: How much time have you spent on this? It seems like this has become your life.
Blute: It’s all day everyday, except for the time I’m planning CCC’s senior video (please, everyone, send me pictures. Be in it). It’s a good 12 hours a day. My dad is a carpenter, I didn’t know how we would build a cross to lift it, but he made it. Oh, yeah! There is a lot of technical cool stuff. All star cast, really the best on campus.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Update, 5:00:30 pm: Tickets for all performances are now sold out. Yes, they really sold out in less than a minute.