Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Geeks! The Musical! World Premiere

Article first published as Theater Review (LA): Geeks! The Musical! World Premiere on Blogcritics.

It was bound to happen. The annual Comic-Con Expo in San Diego, California, has grown into such an all-consuming cultural monster, eating everything in its path, that it was only a matter of time that someone would create a theatrical piece based on the experience. The good news here is that Thomas J. Misuraca's new production, Geeks! The Musical! is an enjoyable riff on this phenomenon.

Geeks! takes place during a typical Comic-Con weekend, attended by the usual Expo types. Arriving first are best friends Jordan (Jonathan Brett) and Chip (Tyler Koster). Jordan's dream is to find a mint copy of Batman #92, and Chip just wants to geek out for the weekend with his pal.

But Kerry (Redetha Deason)—a rare female of the Geek species—shows up, and Jordan is smitten. She's accompanied by her bitchy best friend, Emerson (Wil Bowers), and Jordan begs Chip to distract Emerson while he makes his moves on Kerry.

Also at the Expo is Audrina (Juliette Angeli), a goth girl who dreams of hitting it big with her new comic book series, illustrated by her would-be paramour, Trey (Brandon Murphy Barnes), a self-proclaimed bisexual artist. Lastly, there's Mel Tyler (Richard Warren Lewis), a washed-up, middle-aged actor from a cult sci-fi series who has come to the conference to sign autographs for his remaining fans.

Of course, these characters intersect and collide in the dealer rooms and lobbies of the San Diego Convention Center, and it makes for an enjoyable evening of light entertainment. You don't have to be a sci-fi nerd to catch all the references, but it helps. If arguing the pros and cons of the different actors who played Dr. Who can keep you riveted all night, and if you blame the release of the Star Wars special editions for your bitter outlook on life, this show is for you.

The book and lyrics by Misuraca take good-natured jabs at all the sci-fi convention tropes, accompanied by composer Ruth Judkowitz's workable score. It's really the cast that puts the material over, and this ensemble does it nicely, especially Koster, Angeli, Bowers and Lewis. The "Geek Chorus" provides some good background color, aided by Liz Heathcoat's fun choreography, which occasionally reminded me of the "Time Warp" number in Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I mean that in a good way.

A few of the songs are worth a smile, but others provide some true guffaws, including Emerson's cynical "I Hate It!", in which he slams Lucas, Spielberg and Bay; Kerry and Audrina's duet demanding the empowerment of "Women in Sci-Fi," and Chip's hilariously pedantic "Who's Who of Doctor Who."

Certainly, Geeks! The Musical! is lighter than air, but with subject matter like this, one doesn't expect to encounter Eugene O'Neill. Instead, Misuraca maintains a nice, satirical tone that has fun with these impassioned fans without being cruel. In fact, I can visualize this show being performed in Hall H prior to the Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards.

I had the good fortune to attend Comic-Con in 2008, and Geeks! brought back happy memories of that weekend.

Geeks! The Musical! plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. at the Write Act Theatre, 6128 Yucca Street, Hollywood, until March 17th. Tickets can be obtained by calling (323) 469-3113 or online.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dan Zukovic's "DARK ARC", a bizarre modern noir dark comedy called "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different..." in Film Threat, was recently released on DVD through Vanguard Cinema(, and is currently
debuting on Cable Video On Demand. The film had it's World Premiere at the Montreal Festival, and it's US Premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival. Featuring Sarah Strange ("White Noise"), Kurt Max Runte ("X-Men", "Battlestar Gallactica",) and Dan Zukovic (director and star of the cult comedy "The Last Big Thing"). Featuring the glam/punk tunes "Dark Fruition", "Ire and Angst" and "F.ByronFitzBaudelaire", and a dark orchestral score by Neil Burnett.


***** (Five stars) "Absolutely brilliant...truly and completely different...something you've never tasted
before..." Film Threat
"A black comedy about a very strange love triangle" Seattle Times
"Consistently stunning images...a bizarre blend of art, sex, and opium, "Dark Arc" plays like a candy-coloured
version of David Lynch. " IFC News
"Sarah Strange is as decadent as Angelina Jolie thinks she is...Don't see this movie sober!" Metroactive Movies
"Equal parts film noir intrigue, pop culture send-up, brain teaser and visual feast. " American Cinematheque


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