Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Thoughts on "Re-Animator: The Musical"

I attended a preview/reading of Re-Animator: The Musical tonight by invite of Stuart Gordon himself and it was pretty freaking good!

We all got settled in the theatre - I sat 3rd row center, and my friend Andy (who created Poe's nose for Nevermore and is doing SFX for this show) and Kayla, his girlfriend (who also did makeup for NM) sat right behind me.

Stuart came out and introduced the show, then all the actors filed onstage in black in front of microphones, as it was a reading, and not the full show with props and costumes. The awesome Mark Nutter sat down at a keyboard on the left hand side of the stage, with Stuart manning all the sound effects (including playing Rufus during the basement scene, which was one of the highlights of the show!) and the story began.

The musical follows the movie pretty closely, but adds in two deleted scenes - the one of West, Meg, and Dan in the hospital hallway where Meg says she'll marry Dan and West interrupts, and part of the hypnotism scene between Hill and Halsey. A lot of the lines are lifted right from the film, so I was lip synching along, because I am an utter dork. *dorks*

Now, let's run down the list of actors, as I know you guys will wanna know who played whom. How about a cast list:

Let's get right down to it - Herbert West played by Graham Skipper - this kid was cuuuuuute. He's this dark, little, brooding dude (heh), who does these wonderful wide-eyed stares.

Check out this vid of him from his comedy troupe, FUCT:

Cute, eh? He's not your mother's Herbert West, but he's still darling all the same. I think with the lab coat and props, he could really work well.

Dan Cain played by Chris L. McKenna - this kid was fantastic! Great, great voice, attractive in that "Dan" sort of way, and really sparkly onstage. I feel like I've seen him before, but that might just be that I saw him on Saturday.

Ah, yes,'s that video I promised:

(Yes, that's me shrieking giddily. :P)

McKenna and George Wendt (who played Halsey) were also in Gordon's King of the Ants. I knew Chris looked familiar - he was the main character who got ridiculously beaten up during the course of that (very bizarre) film.

My favorite, and the standout of the show was William Atherton as Dr. Carl Hill. Holy SHIT, he captured his creepy vibe perfectly and really had the audience eating out of his hand. He could sing half-decently, and his little gestures were hilarious and worked well with the character. Great, great stuff.

Also, a close second was Meshach Taylor as Mace, the security guard. He got some hilarious songs and a few really funny moments. His main song reached more into Mace's character and why he loves his job so much as a security guard at a morgue...*cough* necrophilia *cough* XD Sarah Glendening as Meg was also good.

My two favorite songs were the one above from WOH, and this awesome and creepy, "I Give Life" song, that I was hoping, hoping Dan and Herbert would get a little closer during and maybe even kiss, but alas, it was not to be. The musical focused more on the lovers (Dan and Meg), which was a bit of a disappointment. The love triangle between H, D, and M wasn't really touched upon, when it really could've been mined for ideas. I think if I had my way, it would've been The Twentieth Century Way with zombies. XD Even a few little glances between H&D or maybe a vaguely suggestive song would've been ideal.

At its very core, Re-Animator is a love story...which Meg has almost nothing to do with.

So, overall, I'd see the musical to see the full effect (complete with Andy's awesome SFX) and to hear a few of the songs done "properly," but it's a tad blasphemous for us purists* (most of you reading this) and I kind of couldn't get over hearing Herbert sing the way they had him singing. I would've liked him a bit more..."broody singing," if that makes any sense. He also shouted out, "Oh God!" at one point, something Herbert would never do, unless he were speaking about himself. I hope the beginning is changed up a bit, because it drags ever so slightly. This show was not very canon in a lot of ways. But again, it's a musical, and it's an interpretation, so I guess that's okay.

After the show, I got to talk to Mark Nutter, the composer, whom I think is super cool. Check out his super catchy Baby Shredder song. Also spoke with Herbert West himself, Graham Skipper. That boy is even cuter close up. I love the little chunky, funny dudes, and he's both (watch above video). I also like that they cast a chunky West for some reason, just for a change.

Got in a few words of gush to William Atherton, because I had to. He just made the show. Ditto Meschach Taylor.

I'm ever hopeful Re-Animator: The Musical will have a life outside of the (tiny) Steve Allen Theatre, where it's premiering**, but I guess it has to start somewhere. Hopefully, it'll come to a half-decent theater so I can see it properly. :)

Here's the promo poster for the show that was just recently released:

*I actually mentioned to Stuart afterwards that the time West and Cain re-animate their first corpse in the morgue in the musical was incorrect. It's not 10:03pm, it's 10:33pm. But who's counting? ;)

**Well, it's happening. Here's hoping the show's been tweaked a bit for us purists. The lack of William Atherton also dismays me, but they've still got the cutie Skipper kid and the promise of gushing blood is always great, so if someone wants to send me a comp ticket, I'll go and review it for the fan contingent. HINTHINT.

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