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    Bob E. Kelly has become a viral sensation with his song "Stay the **** at Home", which came from a poem by Australian comedian Chris Franklin. Courtesy photo—

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    Bob E. Kelly of Rindge has become a viral sensation with his song "Stay the **** at Home", which came from a poem by Australian comedian Chris Franklin. Courtesy photo—

  • Peterborough author and illustrator Lita Judge has been doing a lot on social media since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, including a peak behind her creative process. Courtesy photo—

  • The Park Theatre’s Virtual Movie Theatre will show ‘Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band’ beginning Friday, April 17. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/16/2020 2:18:14 PM
Modified: 4/16/2020 2:18:04 PM

When Bob E. Kelly sat down at his piano to put music to a poem written by Australian comedian Chris Franklin, he never dreamed it would become a viral hit.

Kelly said it took 24 takes to get it just right. It took 19 to get the tune down, admitting he did it probably 13 or 14 different ways along the way, and the last five takes were all about mastering it.

“I nailed that performance,” Kelly said. “I have a hard time duplicating it.”

As of Tuesday, “Stay the **** at Home”, the 83-second song produced in the basement of Kelly’s Rindge home, had received 3.5 million views on YouTube and another 2 million on TikTok. With others posting the video, it has been seen around the world 30 million times.

After all those takes and finally nailing it, Kelly uploaded it to his TikTok account. Before he went to bed, it had 50,000 views.

“I said this is going to be interesting in the morning,” Kelly said.

By the time he woke up and checked the video’s progress, it had more than 600,000 views. And the climb to viral status has been steady since he posted it.

“It just kept going and going,” Kelly said. Kelly said the song is up on Spotify and Google Play and will soon be available on other streaming websites.

Kelly has the son of a friend he went to camp with as a kid to thank. The friend sent over the poem that Franklin wrote in response to what he had witnessed in regards to people’s attitude toward stay at home directives.

“I said that should be a song,” Kelly said. 

So he got to work and the new found fame has led to Kelly securing talent representation with Matthew Valentinas out of Boston.

“It’s intellectual property and I have to take myself seriously,” Kelly said. “I needed someone who knows the business.”

He contacted Franklin once he realized how big the video was getting and the two now share the copyright to the song. There has been an Australian version since released and as Kelly put it “now I’m an Australian star.”

He’s received comments from all over the world and has given up responding to them all, but some led to his decision to make a children friendly version called “Stay the Heck at Home”, which has received 90,000 views.

He added “My Darlin’ Quarantine” to his list of songs created from the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s another way to keep me in the public eye,” Kelly said.

Twice a night, Kelly reads Grimms’ Fairy Tales to his TikTok followers and can be found at @REKording on www.tiktok.com.

Lita Judge was in Texas, two weeks in to an eight-week tour when it became increasingly clear that she should get home – and fast. During the months of March and April, Judge travels to schools around the country, sharing her work as an author to get students from kindergarten to college excited about literacy. But then it all came a screeching halt when the coronavirus pandemic forced school closures and enacted social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders.

For Judge it was a huge hit financially, but she couldn’t help feel for all those students out there whose lives had been flipped upside down. She soon got requests for online content, to help families get through what is such an uncertain time.

“Just to think about all the transitions they have to deal with,” Judge said.

So for the last few weeks, Judge has been doing what she does best – creating content for others to enjoy. And what the Peterborough author and illustrator soon realized, is that it was helping her as much as it was those viewing her work.

“I feel like they feed my soul,” Judge said. “Hopefully we’re helping, but I know it’s helping me.”

Judge has been all over the internet – from Facebook to Instagram and YouTube to Twitter, even now creating for her publisher’s social media platforms – trying to provide as much content as possible.

“Just trying to contribute any way we can,” Judge said.

She has done read-a-louds, draw alongs, activities and sneak peaks into her creative process. Some are live, while others are carefully crafted videos posted to various websites to attract different audiences and reach as many children and families as possible.

“We’re had such a great response we figured we’d keep it up,” Judge said.

Judge finds it to be a nice way to forget about the current situation and hopes it provides the same kind of respite for those watching.

“Creating is such a great way to escape,” Judge said.

And each evening, she produces a new piece of art for her Critter Comfort series, which she posts daily and is made up of a painting or drawing meant to provide comfort and moral support.

Visit www.facebook.com/lita.judge or https://litajudge.me for more.

And as people continue to look for ways to pass the time during stay at home orders and folloeing social distancing guidelines, the local arts and entertainment world is providing online content to help get everyone through to the other side.

■On Friday night at 7 p.m., join Andy’s Summer Playhouse Artistic Director Jared Mezzocchi for a fireside chat with a special guest via the Andy’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

■Charlie Chronopoulos will go live on Facebook at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday

■Monadnock Music will continue its Music in the Time of Quarantine with a special livestream on Facebook (www.facebook.com/monadnockmusic) from David William Ross on Sunday at 3 p.m.

■The Park Theatre will show “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” and “The Whistlers” as part of its Virtual Movie Theatre beginning Friday.​​​​​​

Park Theatre's Park Pix Flix, which is free, will include “Skyjacked” (Thursday), “Woman of Straw” (Friday), Fellini's CASANOVA (Saturday), “Story of Temple Drake” (Sunday), “The Sun Shines Bright” (Monday) and “Carry on Doctorv” (Tuesday). For more, visit at theparktheatre.org.

On Monadnock Tonight,! a live TV show (www.facebook.com/TheParkTheatre/live) guests will include Julie Perrin, director of the Jaffrey Library on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Michelle Stahl, Executive Director of Monadnock Center for History & Culture, on Thursday, April 23 at 5 p.m.

■Firelight Theatre Workshop begins its third season with the sixth installment of “We Were Friends” that can be enjoyed at home. “New Vistas: Goodbye” is planned for Wednesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 each ($12 for Firelight Members). The date and time of this episode are approximate. For information, visit www.firelighttheatreworkshop.com.

If you or someone you know is doing something creative online, send an email to news@ledgertranscript.com with details.

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