BWW Review: GEEK MYTHOLOGY: I WAS A TEENAGE IMMORTAL opens at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City
Zeus is alive and playing rock-n-roll guitar in Geek Mythology: I Was a Teenage Immortal, now playing at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City. Tailored for an audience of fifth to ninth graders, yet very entertaining for adults, the world premiere musical by playwright Jeff Carey opened on Friday night February 28. Directed by Tosin Morohunfola the music is by Jessica Jackson, from a book by Carey who also wrote the lyrics.
The production takes place inside the gymnasium of Dionysus High School in 1983, where Donnie, the guitar playing geek who thrives on Greek mythology, is singing and playing his guitar. Convinced by fellow classmates, Donnie has developed a theme and has agreed to compose and perform all the music for the high school prom. To his dismay, two problems blatantly face him, prom is only one night away, and he has only written one song. Cindy, the new girl at the school, has arrived at the gym to audition for a show, until Donnie advises her that the auditions are a week away. Donnie convinces her to assist him in his daunting task and the two unite to complete the musical repertoire.
Linnaia McKenzie plays the role of Cindy, who plays the role of Hera, Aphrodite, and Persephone. McKenzie has one of the most outstanding voices on the Kansas City stages. Her performance on Friday night was as expected superb, but unfortunately, for the audience the songs are short and witty which does not give the patrons an opportunity to hear the splendor of her voice. She previously has appeared at the Coterie in Spring Awakening and has performed with Quality Hill Playhouse, Spinning Tree Theatre, and the Musical Theatre Heritage.
Marcus Mull portrays Donnie, Zeus, Hephaestus, Hades, and Demeter and is very good, switching characters at the bat of an eye. His voice is strong and delightful and I look forward to a performance that can showcase it to a higher degree. He utilized wonderful facial expressions and a good sense of comedic timing to extract additional laughter from the already humorous play.
McKenzie stated after the show that Mull and she have been traveling to schools, presenting the production to fifth through middle school students. They perform a second show, not at the Coterie, Zeus on the Loose for Kindergarten through fourth graders, sometime performing both plays in one day. Mull estimated they had appeared about 50 to 60 times in the month and one half they have been taking the productions to the schools. The set for the Coterie production, designed by Scott Hobart, is simple and goes with the two when they perform outside the theater.
Geek Mythology: I Was a Teenage Immortal continues at the Coterie Theatre through March 9. Purchase tickets at the Coterie Theatre website or call the box office at 816-474-6552. Next up at the Coterie is Schoolhouse Rock Live! in April. Photo courtesy of the Coterie Theatre.