The Amazing Musical Of Gumball!
Editor's Note: Due to the continuation of Phase Two COVID orders, the show ill not be able to be performed on the scheduled dates. HOWEVER, on Thursday, August 13 there WILL be a LIOve Preview on the Gumball Facebook page right here at 7 pm.
We profiled Allison and Paul Homick for our Valentine’s Day issue in February, and while I was dropping off some
copies of the magazine to them, Allison told me about her son, Gabe, writing and producing a musical. It’s based on a Cartoon Network show, The Amazing World of Gumball, so she said she and Paul had told Gabe he had to get permission to use the intellectual property. They thought that would be the end of it. Turns out Gabe got the number of a guard shack at Warner Brothers Studios and eventually convinced the guard to put him in contact with someone who could put him in contact with the IP people at Cartoon Network. Long story short, despite setbacks and a pandemic, Gabriel has done it. His show is complete and will hit the stage in early August with an almost all-youth cast and crew. We are amazed at the enthusiasm and drive shown by this 16-year-old and thought it would be a great illustration that even in the middle of a pandemic, if you can dream it, you can do it.
Tell us a little about yourself? How old are you? What is your background in theatre?
My name is Gabriel Homick, I just turned 16 recently. I started writing ideas down for this show when I was around 12. I got into performing at a young age. It clicked one day when I realized this was a way to make a career out of making people happy. My favorite thing to do in life is to put a smile on someone’s face and make them feel good.
Can you explain Gumball, the Cartoon Network show? What attracted you to this property when you wanted to write a musical?
The Amazing World of Gumball is a show on Cartoon Network about a blue cat and his goldfish brother going on a bunch of wacky and fun adventures. This is one of the only TV shows that features 2-D animation, 3-D animation, puppetry, and live action. It is very, VERY unique.
I was inspired because I have always felt a strong connection with this show. Years ago when I was like nine, my friends Justin and Jamie Brewer (whom are in the show) showed me the tv show and I just felt this huge connection with the character Gumball. All I could think was, “When did CN decide to write a show about me?” Then a little later, when I was around 12, I thought “what if this were a stage show.”
How did you go about getting permission/rights for this intellectual property?
So, after a couple emails and a lot of phone calls to a bunch of people, including security guards, and the Anti Piracy Director of Warner Bros, and yes, I said security guards, eventually I was able to get an email that said I could do the show with some simple rules. So, I have been doing my best to do that! While I was making these phone calls, the Anti-Piracy Director of Warner Bros., a man named Barry Goold, ended up teaching me a bit about business and copyright, which has helped a lot in the process of the production.
Can you speak to the process of writing a musical? What came first? Plot? Music? Dialogue?
I wrote music and plot together. I have had a general idea of the plot of the musical for a few years. I wrote most of the music, but there are also a lot of songs from the TV show that make an appearance in the musical. After I had written most of the show I had some small meetings with a few of my friends who would be helping me in the process, little did I know, way more than I could ever hope for. One day I showed my friend Max the design I made for Gumball and Darwin in the musical and then from there we drew concept art and came up with ideas on how to bring these cartoon characters to life. Then we had a workshop and then an audition. From there we recorded all video auditions and the creative team all watched them and did votes on who should play whom. We cast the show so early in the process mainly so I could tinker and add changes to the script, knowing and adapting to the different people who would be playing the characters.
After the first few rehearsals the script was done and from there I continued to make change after change. We got far in the rehearsal process and the show was set to open June 19. Then COVID hit and we were out of rehearsals for a long time. I tried to do Zoom rehearsals but it didn’t work out. A lot of people had to leave the show because of this. I had to delay the show. We were running out of time, so I decided to have a creative team meeting. We just talked about everything and we edited the script to make it better than it had ever been. We talked about recasting. After this we were ready. So, we started rehearsals again and we are doing our best to follow precautions with COVID-19. The new people in the cast and crew picked up on the show SUPER fast! And this was extremely helpful! Hope had grown.
How does your show differ from the television show?
This show plot-wise is really not that different from a regular episode of the show. The main difference is that we are
bringing the world of Elmore (the town they live in) to life. Also the title, I had changed the title a couple of times. It was originally called The Amazing World of Gumball: The Musical. But, I decided to change it to The Amazing Musical Of Gumball. I felt like this name makes it more of its own thing.
How did you cast the show? Find crew? How many people are working on this production? Are they all youth?
The Cast and Crew are filled with beautiful people all of whom are special in my heart. Most of the Leads are actually played by Creative Team members. That way we are on stage in the process and we are aware of everything going on. The only Creative Team member that is not in the show is my co-director Justin Houser. At the beginning of the show, I directed. Now he is slowly taking over because I am in the show. Justin isn’t on the stage so we have someone that can always be watching from the audience, which is extremely helpful. But other than him, everyone on the Creative Team is playing a lead. This is a very different thing to do in entertainment, but this a decision I am very confident in. Most of the cast are youth except for two people, Jon Wallin and Paul Homick (who is my father), who play the Teachers, Principal Brown and Ms. Simian. There are 20 people in the cast and crew, not including people showing up for tech.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
COVID-19 and being a director have been my biggest challenges so far.
What has brought you the most joy while creating this?
My biggest joy in this show is playing Gumball and being in rehearsals and seeing someone laughing at me and breaking character trying not to laugh.
What have you learned that surprised you?
I have learned a lot about entertainment and myself as a person in this process, but the biggest thing I have learned is that you need to trust your own judgement sometimes or no one else will.
Can you look back and point to lessons you learned in your theater work that helped you most creating your own production?
Yes I can definitely look back and point out things that have helped me. My wonderful parents helping me get here, my friends and all the wonderful mentors of my life. Without any of those things I wouldn’t be doing this.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could start over?
I don’t think I would change anything. I sometimes wish I could’ve been a better leader for my cast, but, I honestly couldn’t or wouldn’t have changed it. Because this production is the very thing that is making me better at the job. This cast has taught me so much, so there’s really nothing I would change.
How has the support of your family helped?
My family has taught me a lot. My parents are consistently taking me location to location and have taught me a lot about budgeting. My brother has been a big help. He knows a lot about the TV show and gives me honest input which has been a lot of help. All my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have been very supportive, and that means the world. My friends have been a huge help by giving so much love and helping me out with this thing. My friends and family are the reason I’m here, from donations to love and support everything they do is help.
How can people come see your show? Where, when, ticket info….
The Amazing Musical of Gumball is going to be a very hard show to see due to COVID-19. Seats are now only available via invitation or requests now. Sadly, we can only have a very small amount of people in the audience. Luckily we live in a world of technology, so the way we will get this show to you is by us bringing it to you. The full show will be available on YouTube this August. It will also be live-streamed on Facebook. Go to The Amazing Musical of Gumball Facebook page on August 11, 12 or 13 to tune in to The Amazing Musical Of Gumball. Follow @gumball_musical on Instagram for all the latest info about the show.
Please add anything else you’d like to share
This show has been an amazing experience. I have loved doing it and to clarify, this is not at all just my show. This is our show. The Creative Team and the rest of the cast have put their hearts into this. We all did it together. This would not be happening without them. I love them all so much. We are all ready to give the amazing world a treat! See you soon everyone!