During his junior year, now 18-year-old Porter Jeppson decided to write a musical.
"He told his his theater teacher [Erin Davidson], and she agreed to take a look at it when he finished," said Jeppson's mother Mignon. "All of the teachers [at Rocky Mountain High] are so supportive, but Erin might have been humoring him," Mignon added, laughing.
Maybe, but Jeppson wasn't dissuaded. With practice and help from YouTube, Jeppson taught himself to play guitar and piano and before too long, the sudden composer/librettist/lyricist had written Original: In Progress, which will be performed on the Rocky Mountain High School stage Wednesday, Feb. 22-Saturday, Feb. 25.
Original is a story about a group of teenagers overcoming adversity. Jeppson spent more than 1,000 hours writing and editing his musical, but he wanted the production to be a collaborative effort. Another student is directing, and Jeppson even had to audition to be in it (he plays the "villain").
Although Original isn't autobiographical, Jeppson said he followed the adage "Write what you know." The high-schooler has a medical condition and has spent quite a bit of time over the last few years in the hospital. The idea to write a musical grew from his love of music and how much he depended on it during those stays.
"When you're in the hospital, you don't have much to do besides watch movies and TV and listen to music," he said. "Music has been important to me."
Jeppson's classmates and teachers are, too.
"The theater department [at Rocky Mountain High] and the students have done so much for me ... I want to give back to them."