Monday, February 28, 2011

Re-Animator: The Musical finally opens!

Re-Animator: The Musical finally opens this Friday (March 4) at LA’s Steve Allen Theater! For months rumors have predicted this hilarious staging by Stuart Gordon of his 1985 comic/horror film “Re-Animator”. It’s for real fans: I saw it in preview last week, sitting center stage just one row beyond the “Splash Zone” where blood-shy patrons ducked as they howled in laughter.

George Wendt (Dean Halsey) is the name star, but for me the story really comes to life in the hands of Jessie Merlin (mad –and headless- Dr. Hill) and Graham Skipper (uber-kook Herbert West). Then, of course, there’s the music —

Mark Nutter (composer and lyricist) has done himself proud. You’ll go home chanting “He’s dead, Dan!” and laugh  yourself silly all through Dr. Hill’s amorous vocal pursual of  the shackled Megan Halsey (Rachel Avery). Nutter’s songs really come to life in their full-orchestral* arrangements by Music Director: Peter Adams and the singers are mostly up to their challenge. 

Fans of the film will find most of the original dialogue right there in the songs. Some critics compare the disturbance Nutter's songs engender to Tom Lehrer's acerbic wit.  I heard a more profound connection to Gilbert and Sullivan farce.

*As keyboardist, Peter Adams produces all of the sound from five octaves of keys running one computer. Looks like a really simple rig to those who know no better. Musicheads watch him with one sharp eye while wiping away the laugh tears from the other.

 Jessie Merlin

Graham Skipper 

Rachel Avery 

The trailer from the film sets out its romantic plot:

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