BWW Reviews: 30 Minute Musicals TEEN WITCH and GHOSTBUSTERS Spoof the 80's
Secondline Productions is producing a Halloween double bill featuring 30-minute musical parodies of two 80's film classics, TEEN WITCH and GHOSTBUSTER, Sundays through October 27 at Atwater Village Theatre. It's a fun series of shows directed and adapted by Brooke Seguin and featuring music by Seguin and Dan Wessels. The team has previously spoofed such films as Showgirls, Jurassic Park, Road House and most recently, Independence Day, which was a big success at this summer's Hollywood Fringe Festival. Repeat visitors are proof that it's easy to get hooked and I can see why.
I loved Independence Day, which was my introduction to the 30MM, and this time around I decided to treat the Halloween combo as a test. I know GHOSTBUSTERS inside and out but am not at all familiar with TEEN WITCH. The goal was to see if that made a difference in my ability to get the jokes and feel included in what was happening. Luckily, for a teenage fluff movie like TEEN WITCH you really don't need to have seen it to get it because the story isn't taxing and the characters are very familiar.
In a nutshell, plain-Jane Louise Miller goes from pathetic to popular on her sixteenth birthday when she assumes the magical powers that run in her family, thanks to Madame Serena and a mysterious amulet. Now the mean girls who tormented her all want to be her friend and the most popular boy in school only has eyes for her. Is it a recipe for success...or not?
The characters are broadly drawn with easy traits to hang the humor on. Louise (Julianne Dowler) has big hair, no style and never gets a second look from her crush, football star Brad (Matt McConkey), but plenty of second glances from gal pal Polly, a terrific Lauren Flans who raps like a maniac and harbors a hilarious secret attraction to her best friend.
Three rappers - Rhet (Clayton Farris) and his sidekicks JD Barton and Ryan Garcia bust all the 80's moves with ferocious intensity and Tom DeTrinis all but walks away with the show (on his knees) as Madame Serena, originally played by Zelda Rubinstein. (You'll remember her as the quirky medium from Poltergeist). There's also plenty of teenage angst thrown in from the rest of the energetic ensemble. Voodoo dolls, Jordache, Les Mis and Kenny G references, along with a recurring "Total Eclipse of the Heart" theme will make you shake your head at the flashbacks.
TEEN WITCH is a lot of fun but I think the even bigger accomplishment is Seguin's distillation of GHOSTBUSTERS. The half hour parody lifts so many brilliant lines from the film and the actors' impersonations are so spot-on that having seen this film definitely makes it a richer experience.
Matt McConkey and Clayton Farris are outstanding in their characterizations of Bill Murray's Peter Venkman and Harold Ramis' Egon Spengler. McConkey has Murray's unique style, vocal inflections and self-confidence down to a T and Farris eerily channels Ramis and all the scientific quirks of a guy whose main interest is spores, molds and fungus. He's hysterical with his understated, skittish mannerisms and lack of social skills around women...well, one woman in particular. The Ghostbusters' secretary Janine (Brooke Seguin) has a thing for Egon and Seguin plays up her character's attraction for the awkward brainiac, spinning Annie Potts' original interpretation in a more obviously flirtatious direction.
Best laugh out loud moment of the entire night however was Tom DeTrinis' entrance as nerdy Louis Tully, played by Rick Moranis in the film. Tully is my favorite character and DeTrinis completely rocks Moranis' rapid non-stop way of speaking and fixation on sexy neighbor Dana (Lindsay Wray). He's got the body posture, the walk, and he's even got his bottom lip stuck out to ensure the dorky voice and pacing. Ingenious.
GHOSTBUSTERS also includes a passel of sexy female dancing ghosts, a balloon-encrusted Gozer the Gozerian that's a walking sight gag, a high-energy Ghostbusters montage, and a Stay Puft Marshmallow man surprise. Throw in a little "Girl from Ipanema" elevator music, some boogie-woogie, and a lot more fun at the film's expense and this is one silly night of comedy.
Only two more performances are scheduled, for October 20 and 27, so get your tickets now. Beverage alert: The bar's open and you can take your drinks inside the theater. Tickets are $15 in advance and you can purchase them at: http://bpt.me/472397.