From Holland with love: Brooklyn couple writes musical over Skype

From Holland with love: Brooklyn couple writes musical over Skype
Photo by Anna Flores

When this couple was separated by 3,000 miles, they did not write each other love letters — they wrote a musical.

A Dutch actor and a Brooklyn-based playwright are currently reprising “The Skype Show” at the Brick Theater — a show the pair wrote entirely over the titular instant messaging service from their respective homelands, and debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival last year.

The musical was not just penned over Skype, it also tells the true story of how couple Jody Christopherson and Michael de Roos maintained their long-distance relationship via the application — something the audience will be able to experience first-hand.

“It’s the story of us trying to stay connected via Skype while facing the challenge of distance,” said Christopherson. “The audience makes it snow, eats some wedding cake, and learns to play the guitar. There is a lot of live music and a lot of Skype calls.”

De Roos and Christopherson, who hail from Leiden, the Netherlands, and Omaha, Nebraska, respectively, first met in Brooklyn in 2013 when de Roos saw Christopherson performing in a play at a Crown Heights church.

“We went to Dutch Boy Burger afterwards to celebrate and immediately hit it off,” said Christopherson. “He was a beatboxer, I was a singer. We both liked French fries and Brooklyn. So we moved in together and made music, film, and theater for two years.”

The multi-talented twosome founded a self-described “indie folk beatbox rock” duo called Greencard Wedding, but in 2012, de Roos was forced to return to Amsterdam due to visa complications. Although the separation was tough, it ultimately resulted in “The Skype Show.”

The couple initially found Skype creatively stifling — the video messaging service’s vexing lags and disconnections meant they were not being able to sing harmonies together. But the artists discovered another alternative — they could write a play.

The pair’s perseverance draws attention to a predicament faced by many international artists based in New York — without expensive paperwork, such creatives have to travel back and forth between the city and their countries of origin. But creating “The Skype Show” may have also inadvertently helped the couple overcome this problem.

“Producing the show allows us to create a case for a visa,” said Christopherson. “Ideally, with enough engagements, we can put funding toward getting his visa and make a case for him to reside in America.”

But de Roos joked that if he had more money, he would tackle the problem a different way.

“I would just build a bridge between New York and Amsterdam,” he said. “Why nobody has ever thought of this is beyond me, especially since the Dutch are famous for building bridges.”

“The Skype Show” at the Brick Theater [579 Metropolitan Ave. at Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 285–3863, www.bricktheater.com]. Jan. 22–25 and Feb 5–8 at 7 pm. $18.

Internet dating: Jody Christopherson and Michael de Roos, who play in a duo called Greencard Wedding, wrote their musical “The Skype Show” over the titular messaging service.
Greencard Wedding