"Afterland" (in development)

Music and Lyrics by Benjamin Velez  |  Book and Lyrics by Kathryn Hathaway


The Story

Set in the woods outside a decimated Philadelphia, this is the story of two teenagers, Theo and Lu, coming of age in the post-apocalypse.


We begin 15 years after the bombings with a group of survivors that created an insular, cult-like community designed to erase the painful memories of the past and provide a fresh start for its members. In an effort to protect Theo, a child they found abandoned in the rubble and raised as their own, they vow to never speak of what happened before the war.

Meanwhile, Lu and her sister have spent the last fifteen years living in an underground bunker, cut off from the world. But when Lu discovers the truth about why her sister kept her down there, she decides to leave the bunker behind and brave the outside in order to find a mother she can’t remember. She stumbles upon Theo in the woods, and despite coming from disparate worlds, they unite over their desperation to seek the truth about their world and learn their place within it.

Ours is a story about finding the light in our darkest moments and the importance of family and community when we've lost our way.

The Characters


LU  -  Raised by her sister in an underground bunker, she dreams of reuniting with her parents in Philadelphia.

IPHY  -  Lu's older sister, still haunted by images of the war, she prefers to continue living in the bunker.

THEO  -  Abandoned during the bombings, he was found and raised by Dez in the woods.

DEZ  -  The Spiritual leader and figurehead of the group as well as Theo’s adopted Mother.

WILLA  -  While happy to have found a new family after the war, she still longs for a better life.

TOPHER  -  A jack of all trades, he is the carefree, lovable misfit of the group.

RUSS - The mysterious hermit in the woods with whom the group trades food for information.

Preview of Songs

Here is a sampling of some of the songs from the show. Bear in mind that these won't necessarily reflect the story arc of the show and that the context surrounding them is likely to change. Think of it as a flavor sampling of the world we're working to create.


Theo lives in the woods with a group of survivors who created and insular community centered on forgetting the past and starting anew. Dez rescued Theo as an infant during the bombings and raised him as her own. He was never told about the war and has never had a reason to question his bucolic lifestyle.

As part of their daily ritual, the group celebrates their origin story, after which they burn any "relics" of the past they find in the woods. ("Old Country")


For the 15 years since the war destroyed civilization as we know it, Lu and her sister have been living in an underground bunker, cut off from the world.

Equipped only with the “P” section of an old dictionary and distant memories of her childhood, Lu has cobbled together a vision of Philadelphia and dreams of the day when she can finally return. ("Philly Philly Philadelphia")

Lu is finally driven to leave the bunker and sets out for Philadelphia. Along the way she stumbles upon Theo, who is bewildered by the sight of this seemingly delusional stranger. ("Prove It")

After introducing Lu to his family, Theo takes her to see his favorite spot for stargazing. Though curious about her quixotic fixation on Philadelphia, he remains vigilant in the belief system with which he was raised. Lu challenges him to open his mind and try seeing the world around him in a new light.

At the same time back at camp, the group begins to feel the effect of Lu’s arrival on their insular way of life. ("Can You See?")

Later in the show, despite Philadelphia being gone and them finding the world different that what was promised to them, they realize having each other and having their family is the light they have to get them through the darkness. ("Before the End")

This song takes the story of Theo and Lu and re-tells it as if it has already become folk-lore within the mythology of the show. It is the story of a boy from the sky world and a girl from the dark who found each other in the Afterland.

Another song from the show when Dez, who's been plagued by not remembering her past self since the war, is struggling to hold on to her inner strength and inner self just as it starts to rain. ("I Can Always Feel The Rain"