BWW Review: Al Fallick's MOVIES, MUSICALS AND ME is Broadway Parody Hilarity
What do Apollo 13, Space Jam, The Mummy, and A Quiet Place all have in common? Why, they're none other than four of the many (many) acclaimed movie musical adaptations of Halpert Evans' (Al Fallick) extensive Broadway career. You haven't heard of him? Well then, let me introduce to you one of Broadway's biggest stars--in his mind, the biggest star--of our time. Perhaps you'd recognize him from his role of Miranda in "The Devil Wears Prada: the Musical", or the critically acclaimed "The Terminator: the Musical"? If Mr. Evans isn't ringing a bell, I suggest you get yourself down to Ovations Night Club in Houston for a cabaret musical comedy show, "Movies, Musicals & Me: An Evening with Halpert Evans" starring none other than Halpert Evans himself.
Portrayed by Al Fallick, the character of Halpert Evans was born out of Fallick's training in comedy and a desire to perform a new, different role--one that fit him like a glove. Now, he's here in Houston to give you an exclusive cabaret show, showcasing the many great hits of Halpert Evan's Broadway career made up entirely of fictional movie musicals. And boy, does he deliver. Joined by guest artists Marco Camacho, Graham Baker, Kelley Peters and accompanied by Clark Baxtresser, this show is for theatre people and non-theatre people alike. Whether you identify more with the movie side of things (like my dad, who saw the show with me), or the musical theatre references (like me, the resident theatre kid), I guarantee there's something for you. Including such reputatable classics as "The Social Network: the Musical", in which Mark Zuckerberg discovers his idea for Facebook, and the only song in "A Quiet Place: the Musical", you will surely be enamored with this mastermind peformance of musical theatre hilarity.
What makes this recital of fictional Broadway hits work? First off, it's really just a darn good idea. Fallick's parody musicals are not just funny, they're funny because they're clever. How often do we see musicals pop up on Broadway that we never really expected (or wanted, for that matter). Uh, see "Spongebob Squarepants: the Broadway Musical". In fact, one of his parodies "The Devil Wears Prada: the Musical" is actually a real musical now in the works for Broadway, interstingly enough.
The ethos of this production resides in Fallick's performative chops, the spitfire comedy, and most especially the genius of the songs. In order to create parody songs that effectively make you laugh, are catchy to the ear, and sound like they could really be drawn from Broadway, you have to possess an understanding of the formula of musical theatre. Opening numbers have to sound like opening numbers. The dramatic, emotional "11 o'clock numbers" near the end of a show have to truly sound as such to work.
The trio behind this production includes Fallick (Writer, Halpert Evans), Pierce Siebers (Writer), and Clark Baxtresser, who in addition to being a writer for the show also plays Evans' starstruck accompanist Courtney. Baxtresser's performance as the quiet and mild-mannered Courtney was a picture-perfect antithesis to Fallick's over-the-top, arrogant Halpert. I found myself looking forward to his introduction of each song, in a slow, placid tone "Ladies and gentlemen". It gets funnier with every. single. song.
My favorite song of the night was from show that explored "life...death...existential horror...being a toy". Can you guess what it is? That's right, none other than "the four-hour, three act musical 'Toy Story: the Musical'". Fallick delightfully introduced this gem as he donned a Buzz Lightyear onesie by saying--"Ladies and gentleman...buckle the f**k up." The song that followed was "Buzz's Soliloquy", a hysterically dramatic tune chronicling Buzz's internal struggles. You know, like his identity crisis between being a toy and a man, his resignation to "serve the boy-god Andy" and desire to "find purpose in this packaged life". It's as deeply hilarious as it sounds, if not more so.
Taking it a step further, Fallick's parodies were sometimes done in the style of well-known composers, making certain tunes remind me of real-life showtunes I know and love. Take for example, the finale of "The Matrix: the Musical", performed by Fallick alongside guest artists Camacho and Peters. This fictional movie musical was "written" by popular composer and lyricist team Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman)--and man, did it sound like it. I was rolling with laughter during this parody of "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen. The opening number from Fallick's "Apollo 13: the Musical", "Houston, We Have A Problem", was another showstopper, as Camacho and Baker layered vocals alongside Fallick. This song was one that, days later, is still stuck in my head (And, I'm not even mad about it. It's that good.)
As Fallick sings in his first song, a selection from "Forrest Gump: the Musical", with this show you truly never know what you're gonna get. By the end, you will surely be a "Halpert Head', as his fandom is lovingly named. You've got until February 29th to experience this whirlwind of smash Broadway hits performed by the leading man himself--don't miss it.
Performances are Thursdays (7pm, doors at 6:15pm), Fridays & Saturdays (8pm, doors at 7:15pm) at Ovations Night Club 2536 Times Blvd B, Houston 77005. Tickets are $25- $40 at purplepass.com. Visit moviesmusicalsandme.com or call 832-453-7933 for more information.