What if the funny commentary you tweet every Monday night while watching The Bachelor was turned into a musical? While that is not exactly how it worked, Bachelor: The Unauthorized Parody Musical is going viral for its catchy music with familiar franchise tropes and comedic insight.
Richelle Meiss, a former producer of Nick Viall‘s podcast The Viall Files, is the creative mind behind the musical that started at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Not only did she write the book and lyrics, but she also produces and acts in the show.
“My friends wrote a show, the Game of Thrones Musical Parody, and it was just the funniest thing I’d ever seen,” she told Heavy. “I was like, ‘I can do this.’ And I was like, ‘What is the one thing I know way too much about?’ And it was The Bachelor.”
As the Walk You Out podcast host put it, “I’ve been watching, this is what I like to say, before I was old enough to be a contestant and now I’m too old to be a contestant. So I think for better or for worse it’s really shaped my view of love.”
Along the way, Meiss added Sam Johnides and Tony Gonzalez from “The Sam & Tony Show” as composers and Tim Drucker became the director. While the show is set to go on tour next year and make its off-Broadway debut, Meiss has taken to TikTok to grow interest as performances are temporarily sidelined during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just having people able to watch these little clips and enjoy them makes me so happy,” the Los Angeles-performer explained.
Not only are the clips funny, but they show Meiss’ ability to guess where the franchise will go. One musical number around a date card reading, “I can’t wait to Fall in love with you,” mirrors a group date card this season for an autumn-themed relay race. On that date, the women wore squirrel suits, much like the one worn by a character in the musical.
“So we have literally a clip for everything that happens in this show,” Meiss quipped.
The Musical Grew From a 30-Minute Show to an Hour and a Half Production
What started as a half-hour show called a “spank” eventually grew to become a full-length production lasting about an hour and a half. Meiss said, “We tried to cram it all into 30 minutes to start and then we kept selling out so we made it into a longer, hour-long show. And then we, like, made it longer from there and did it again. … A production company actually bought it then.”
As the production grew, some modifications were necessary, such as cutting down the cast. Since it would be “way too expensive” to put up a show with 12 or more women, the actors took on multiple roles.
“We got some, like, outside of UCB people I guess that were more like singers because UCB people were comedians who can sing,” Meiss explained. “Yeah, so it’s kind of grown. We redid all the music with composers and they made it really hard and so it also kind of changed who we could cast as well.”
Among the cast was a Disneyland Elsa, Janaya Jones and Baby Daddy alum Peter Porte.
Bachelor Nation Stars Have Been in the Audience
Even Bachelor Nation can laugh at itself. The show has counted Ashley Iaconnetti, Bekah Martinez, Jason Tartick and even Chris Harrison’s girlfriend Lauren Zima among the stars who have seen the show in-person.
“Ashley I. had a great response because we had this one line where he calls her last in the rose ceremony, he doesn’t even really remember her name and she goes up to him and goes ‘Don’t do that to me,’” recalled Meiss. “And it’s the stupidest line but Ashley I. loved that line.”
There used to be a section of the show featuring a cameo, but “they are on such strict contracts, they kind of freaked out so we don’t do that anymore.”
The Show Is Expected to Go on Tour in 2022
After Bachelor: The Unauthorized Parody Musical outgrew the Upright Citizens Brigade’s theater, Meiss and company performed the musical at the Rockwell and Dynasty Typewriter theaters, seating about 200 or 300 people. But, as she noted, “if we go on tour, it’s going to be big venues which would be fun.”
They are currently talking about “starting off-broadway next summer… and then they’re selling a national tour for the fall.” It looks likely to be an 8-city tour with the potential of Canada.
The former musical theater major admitted, “Off-Broadway was one of my biggest dreams,” adding, “the tour I think will be really fun.”