“I’m pretty sure I had a pencil in my hand when I was born,” Shaie Beutler said. “I started writing around the age of eight and I’ve never stopped.”
Beutler, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, directed her first reading of her original musical, Lafayette, on June 8.
Lafayette has been in the making since Beutler was a junior in high school.
“I was scribbling lyrics and stuff and recording it on my phone secretly in my English classes, trying not to get caught,” she said. “I just knew that I wanted to write on the French Revolution.”
Beulter said she based the musical on the historic figure Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who helped fight in the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette revolves around his life as he tries to help France win its own revolution.
“He was a hard person to keep calm, he just wanted to be involved in everything,” Beutler said. “After he saw freedom and democracy established in America, he wanted it established in France. When he would introduce people into his home, he had the framed Declaration of Independence and an empty frame next to it. Whenever people asked what the empty frame was for, he said for France’s declaration of independence.”
Shaie’s sister, Jaide Beulter, a junior majoring in general studies, said she is proud of her sister for her passion to write and how she was able to watch Shaie’s play develop over the years.
Shaie said she researched and read as much as she could about the French Revolution and Lafayette. Sometimes she would even have to translate historic French texts to English.
When asked if she drew inspiration from the play Hamilton, she said that she hadn’t heard of it until last fall semester from a friend.
“It’s a cool play, but (Lafayette) is nothing like that play,” Shaie said. “I have gone to very great lengths to make sure that Lafayette that I represent is true to life.”
Earlier this year, Shaie did a Kickstarter with the goal of $4,000 to help create the Lafayette song album. The Kickstarter was successfully funded and Shaie plans to start recording this summer.
After the album is made, Shaie plans to send the Lafayette script and music out to producers, musical theater festivals and independent theaters in hopes that one day it will be performed on stage.