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Metro Theater’s ‘Jacked!’ Is A Modern-Day Interpretation Of A Classic Fairy Tale

Every year, Metro Theater Company chooses one of its shows to tour in area schools. This year, things looked different for schools and the production company alike. In response, Metro Theater created its first-ever fully animated production.

Written by playwright Idris Goodwin, “Jacked!” was inspired by the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale and is infused with Goodwin’s love of rap and poetry. Metro Theater’s virtual production features a small but mighty cast, with vocals and rap by St. Louis’ own the Knuckles duo and actor Jarris L. Williams.

The energetic hip-hop score was created by local music producer Jackie “Jackpot” Sharp. He led the play’s musical direction and soundtrack. Sharp noted that he has previously worked with the Knuckles’ Aloha Misho and Rocky Knuckles.

“I already knew that was gonna be a great fit already for me, because I've worked with them for like the past six, seven years now. So musically we were already clicking,” Sharp said. Making “Jacked!” involved “just naturally coming up with the idea of how it would sound like with the visuals.”

Sharp joined Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air alongside Metro Theater’s Jamie McKittrick, who directed “Jacked!.” They discussed how the play incorporates storytelling, poetry and hip-hop to spread an age-appropriate message about substance abuse’s effects on the community.

The play is for all ages, but geared specifically for 5- to 11-year-olds. Some tracks are fun and uplifting, while others carry an ominous tone to portray serious matters.

“I think it's important to give a space for young people to look at things that are a little bit difficult, but it should be at their level,” McKittrick explained. “It should be gentle enough that they can actually engage with it. But if you go too far, they're gone. So I was often trained to listen with the ear of the 6-year-old version of myself.”

In the play, the goose’s “golden eggs” are a stand-in for the high of drugs.

“I imagine many young people have experienced seeing someone that they trust maybe acting a little differently, or in a way that they don't understand, and just trying to reckon with that,” McKittrick explained. “And we really get it from Jack's point of view, which often young people, what they do is they're like, ‘OK, I'm gonna try to solve it.’ When really, they just need to be the child and have parents who are gonna say … ‘I’ll handle this.’”

Tickets are available for $16. The link is good through late March, but the theater company is making it available for free through Jan. 24.

Related Event

What: “Jacked!” by Idris Goodwin

When: Now through March 31

Where: Virtual event at https://www.metroplays.org/jacked

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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