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'QAnon: The Musical' at IndyFringe takes a satirical look at the far-right conspiracy movement

Posted at 3:02 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 17:50:13-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It all started as a joke, 20 years ago.

In the summer of 2002, five Kokomo kids entered a local talent show.

The longtime hometown friends performed a 7-minute Jackson 5 medley.

"It was just, like, five nerdy white dudes who couldn't really dance, doing like the most difficult stage work," Joe Cameron, a member of "Un5Gettable" told WRTV, laughing at the memory.

The group thought it would just be a one-off — some high school fun. But, the comedy boy band's rendition of some of the best Jackson 5 performances was a hit.

"Then, somebody asked us to do a Christmas show, and we thought that would be it. Then, Kokomo asked us to play the New Year's Eve Ball dropping that year," Cameron said. And on it went.

Un5Gettable officially formed and stuck together through different colleges, living in other places, and two decades of life.

Un5Gettable has been writing and performing original music since 2014. The group has created two musicals, released several EPs, and traveled across the country performing concerts. Recently, they released an entire album in partnership with the Indianapolis Colts as part of the team's "Kicking The Stigma" initiative.

Now, Un5Gettable is taking on something that doesn't have humor anywhere near its name, meaning, or mission.

Their third original musical is QAnon: The Musical, debuting at the IndyFringe Theatre Festival.

It's a parody based on the aforementioned group, QAnon. The once-fringe group that's grown to mainstream audiences is an American far-right political conspiracy theory movement. The viral group is most widely known for participating in the deadly Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, and spreading false information about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and the 2020 presidential election.

"Truth be told, at first, I kind of raised eyebrows, like, 'Is this is a good idea?' And then I started listening to the music and hearing the idea behind it and I was it was gold to me. I thought it was hilarious," Brendan Hawkins, another member of Un5Gettable, said.

The 5-member group of Un5Gettable. L-R: Zach Harris (Burbank, CA), Ryan Richards (Kokomo, IN), Kyle Cothern (Chicago, IL), Joe Cameron (Carmel, IN), Brendan Hawkins (Noblesville, IN).
Un5Gettable performs a Christmas show in Kokomo in 2002.

It's been a challenging political climate the last few years.

In 2021, post-Jan. 6 insurrection, Cameron started making 1-minute TikTok songs that mocked the conspiracy theorists by quoting QAnon followers.

"The way I deal with things is with humor," Cameron said. "I was only using, in my lyrics, actual things that they believe in, or have said in the media." As a result, he says, "The songs sound ridiculous, but it's literally 100% true from their perspective, you know?"

Making the TikToks was a catharsis for Cameron, he says.

"We weren't even a full year into the pandemic yet, but we were all stuck at home," Cameron said. "Everyone had their own weird situation that we were all living through."

Cameron quickly realized he had enough for a musical, pitched it to the rest of Un5Gettable, and applied to the 2022 IndyFringe Festival.

The QAnon Musical is set up like a children's TV show, in which "The Truth Team" teaches the audience about QAnon.

"On stage, we kind of act like The Wiggles, or like Barney," Cameron said. "Just because, it felt like the softest, more palatable way to deliver our message."

And that message, delivered in a 50-minute faux live-taping of singing and dancing, is, at its core, Cameron said, about "being decent to one another."

"We all have friends and family who believe different things, but that shouldn't necessarily mean that the end of a relationship, you know. So that's really like the broad message that we're delivering through all this ridiculous stuff," Cameron said.

"Qanon The Musical" is showing at the 2022 IndyFringe Theatre Festival.

This past weekend, Un5Gettable had its opening of QAnon: The Musical. They say the audiences grew immensely by the day.

"It just feels weird to think that, like, this silly show we decided to write and submit [is just] catching on pretty quick," Hawkins said.

Cameron shares that he hopes the audience, first and foremost, will have fun. He says that's the entire point of IndyFringe.

"It's admittedly a very difficult and complex topic, which is, I think, the reason we wanted to not dumb it down, but present it in, like, the childish way that we do, just to make it more comfortable for people," Cameron said. "Just, the heart of the show is all like the hippie-dippie; we just need to love each other!"

You can get tickets to see Un5Gettable's QAnon: The Musical at un5gettable.com/live. All of the next four showings are at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $14 for students.

MORE: Jewel Box Revue at 2022 IndyFringe pays homage to drag pioneers

WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at shakkira.harris@wrtv.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.

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