“One Way Trip to Mars” is a rock opera by Bath residents Peter Blachly (stage name: Peter Alexander) & Johannah Harkness. Following several successful performances as a multi-media concert at the Chocolate Church Arts Center (Bath) in September 2016 and the Frontier Theater (Brunswick) in January 2017, the show was re-worked for musical theater and will premiere with four performances at the Waterville Opera House August 24 – 27.
The show features 20 original songs that tell a compelling story of Paolo, an astronaut chosen to be the first human to travel to Mars only to be stranded there when communication links go down. Suspense builds as nuclear terrorism makes future planned transports to the Red Planet impossible. In a desperate attempt to save the mission (and possibly to save the human race) the space agency manages to send Paolo’s astronaut wife to Mars along with genetic material to start a new world. The surprise ending has brought audiences to their feet in every performance to date.
Featuring an 11-piece orchestra, four principle actors/vocalists, and a dozen chorus members, the music and action on stage is enhanced with sets, props, lighting, video, audio, and special effects. “One Way Trip to Mars,” is not just great musical theater, it engages audiences in timely questions about space travel and actual plans by NASA and other public and private organizations to colonize the red planet within the next two decades.
Bios of Key Personnel
Peter is a musician, writer, painter, and advocate of the arts. Raised in Washington, DC, he studied piano from age 4, began singing professionally at age 9 as a soprano in the Washington National Cathedral Choir, began studying classical guitar at age 10 with Aaron Shearer of Peabody Conservatory, and started his first rock band, “Peter and the Wolves,” at age 12. His musical career has included performances with Chuck Berry, Poco, Tim Hardin, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and other legends of folk and rock music. Since moving to Maine in 2008 Peter has served as Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education (2011 – 2013) and music columnist for the Coastal Journal (2013 – 2015).
Johannah is an accomplished artist and songwriter who originally conceived of “One Way Trip to Mars” rock opera. She handled artistic direction for the production of the show’s premiere performances at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath. As a photographer, Johannah has a particular interest in costuming and visual design, and brings a theatrical sensibility to her work—much of which can be seen on YouTube in a recent Hollowbody Electric Band music video, “Wicked Witch,” (https://youtu.be/eP1RR3xM7hU) and in video excerpts of “One Way Trip to Mars.” (https://youtu.be/UJkhVa6EwWU)