LGBTQ+ community showcased in alum’s musical



UNI alum Sarah Julius’ “Great Big Rainbow World” musical to debut in June

Sarah Julius’ musical “Great Big Rainbow World,” a show about queer acceptance, growth and community, is celebrating its world premiere June 4-25 at the Gremlin Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota, after being postponed twice due to COVID-19.

The musical is about a young woman starting college and joining the rugby team. She experiences love, heartbreak, growth and the power of belonging to the Great Big Rainbow World, the LGBTQ+ community.

In writing the show, Julius set out to tell a story they thought was missing in musical theatre that mirrors their own experience at college joining rugby and discovering their queer identity. “It’s a story that embodies self-love and queer joy, and really underscores the importance of representing that on stage, so that people can see that actually these historically marginalized identities.”

Julius continued, “There’s so much joy to be had in those identities.”

Julius studied marketing and communication at UNI, and now works in diversity and inclusion. Without any musical theatre experience, most people probably wouldn’t predict her writing a musical, but that’s exactly what makes her story so unique. Having dreamt of writing a musical their whole life, they decided to make that dream a reality in 2018. 

“In about a month I taught myself how to play guitar, and then about two months later I had my first draft of the musical. and it just kind of, it was just really weird, it just sort of flowed out of me at that point” said Julius about their initial writing process. 

Of course, taking a first draft to the stage is a long process that requires help from musicians, songwriters, and lots of edits. “A lot of the first songs I wrote I just used chords I knew how to play, so it was basically… really simple chords with an occasional E minor.”

Julius acknowledges that she couldn’t have done it without community support. “I found this amazing group called Ring of Keys, which is this LGBTQ+ group. It’s actually queer women and trans and nonbinary people in musical theatre… once I found my people it took off pretty quick.”

Julius stresses that they aren’t searching for fame in writing this story. “I didn’t start this journey hoping that I could become the next Lin Manuel Miranda, or make some kind of massive legacy out of writing musicals, I wanted to write a story that put queer women specifically in a really positive light and showed queer joy on stage.”

Tickets are currently on sale at https://gbrwmusical.bpt.