Julie Wickstrom, Michael Mayo and Johnathan Gopen (courtesy of Nina Welch)
BoySince September 1, the only thing that has been on the mind of the Musical Theatre group here at Saddleback Collage is Bat Boy. A musical directed by Dan Travino and choreographed by Ellen Prince, Bat Boy is sure to entertain audience members this Halloween season.
As rehearsal officially begins, role call is started. It is very crucial that everybody goes to all the practices as one mistake can hurt the entire show. Once all cast members arrive, they stand side by side around the piano and warm-up. Next they back up into a larger circle as the main characters stand out singing their solos.
The set is admiringly simple, consisting of two levels being accessible from staircases and hidden ladders. The stairs themselves can be removed in between scenes to widen the set.
The music for the shows comes from a musician behind a panel on the set. In including in the music he also makes the crucial sound effects.
Once Mrs. Prince arrives, the cast prepare to rehearse the actual play. First, they go over problem areas from last night’s rehearsal. Making a musical is very demanding work, and the choreographer makes sure that the students don’t forget this fact. Nearly every number she has something to say to one of the players to improve his performance and sharpen him up for opening night.
The story is about a young boy who is captured by the authorities, unfortunately for him he has the appearance of a human-bat hybrid. The local veterinarian: Dr. Parker and his family agree to help the boy and passionately name him Edgar. With the help of the Dr. Parker’s wife and daughter, Edgar learns to be civilized and how to cope in society.
For older readers Bat Boy may ring bells not heard in same time. In 1992 the tabloid: Weekly World News created the story of Bat Boy. WWN claims to be reporting on many things but mostly sensationalist stories such as characters in the vein of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Bat Boy was created by WWN editor-in-chief Dick Kulpa as a hoax and has become a very popular character. The tabloid also features Ed Anger as an opinion columnist; however Mr. Anger is in fact a pseudonym used by some of the writing staff. In homage to the character of Ed Anger, the writers of the musical named Bat Boy: Edgar. Since his creation: Bat Boy has been the tabloids mascot and was the inspiration for the musical.
Shortly after the first Bat Boy story was published, two writers: Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming wrote the screenplay for what would become Bat Boy, music and lyrics were written by Laurence O’Keefe. Bat Boy the Musical premiered at the Actors Gang Theatre in 1997 and has since run on the off-Broadway circuit.
Bat Boy features Mike Mayo, 23, theatre, as the infamous Bat Boy and the Hannah Shwartz, 18, theatre, as Shelley Parker and many others dying to show the campus their talent in the first musical theatre production of the semester.
The play is very grim in some places but uplifting and delightful to counteract the dark settings. Overall this is a play that must not be missed.
Tickets are on sale now and opening night is Friday, Oct. 8 at 8:00 p.m.