“It has its emotional, dramatic moments — maybe more so than some other Triangle shows,” said John McEnany ’21

A poster for the Triangle Club show, “All Underdogs Go To Heaven.”
When the Princeton Triangle Club’s writers presented their draft of the sports-movie-themed musical “All Underdogs Go To Heaven” last spring, they were hoping it would be a regular stage show, performed in the fall like other Triangle productions. But by August, when the University announced that the fall semester would be remote because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the club knew it needed to shift plans to keep the show alive.

Five months later, “All Underdogs Go To Heaven” is set to make its debut, as an online movie. The story of the Partham Pollawogs, a hapless but beloved squad in the fictional sport of “ball,” will be streaming Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. (details at triangleshow.com) as part of the University’s inaugural Wintersession program. 

John McEnany ’21, Triangle’s president, said that everyone involved had to adapt to make the production work. About 100 students worked in front of the camera or behind the scenes, along with a dozen alumni who make cameos as Pollawogs fans. Performers were spread around the U.S. and abroad, so the club made some 600 shipments of costumes and props. Instead of building toward dress rehearsals, actors were creating final content for the show each week throughout the fall semester. Professional video editors pulled together scenes shot mostly on smartphones, and the stage crew assisted them, since there was no set to be built. 

Allen Jackson ’78, chair of the Triangle Club Trustees, said producing a movie “in such a distributed way” required enormous creativity, and McEnany said the students are anxious to see the final product.

“It’s definitely a fun concept: What if being an underdog team gives you some kind of advantage?” McEnany said. “It has its emotional, dramatic moments — maybe more so than some other Triangle shows.” 

Watch a trailer for “All Underdogs Go To Heaven”: