Review: EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL at The Three Clubs On Vine

Now Playing thru July 22

By: Jul. 10, 2023
Review: EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL at The Three Clubs On Vine
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“What an excellent day for an exorcism.”

If ever there was a quintessential, unadulterated, grown-up, comedic anthem to hair-raising horror, it can be safely said that, EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL, is the one musical parody to rule them all!

Writer/composer and Ovation Award winner, Michael Shaw Fisher has outdone himself in an updated version of his 2013 Hollywood Fringe Best Musical award-winner, and it blows big-bucks Broadway productions right out of the pea soup dish.

Ten years after its premiere, EXORCISTIC has made a breathtaking return. And as a nod to the 50th Anniversary of “The Exorcist” (the movie), opening night was nothing less than a perfect display of limelight infused celluloid send-up, with the entire cast belting their most stunning, provocative, and sexually deviant performances for an evening of pure, comedy-horror, genre excellence, bar none.

“So don’t listen to Him.  Remember that.  Do Not Listen.”

Inspiration and delay has definitely provoked an EXORCISTIC evolution.  Although this show made its original debut in 2013, it was supposed to have premiered in 2012.  As fate would have it, that same year, novelist and screenplay writer of “The Exorcist” movie, William Peter Blatty had his own theatrical production, THE EXORCIST, going up at The Geffen Playhouse.  It was a conflict.

In recent conversation, Fisher revered Blatty as a magnificent artist.  “He is a powerful literary mind.  He did comedy for years.  Horror was on a whim.”  So, when Blatty reached out on a sort of gentlemen’s call, artist to artist, asking for the EXORCISTIC project to pause, because so much [money] had gone into the Geffen production, Fisher politely stepped away and produced DOOMSDAY CABARET instead.  As it turned out, having an extra year to perfect the script and music was the best thing for the piece.

“The first couple of performances were absolute chaos.  But then suddenly critics were showing up and we were turning them away. All of a sudden we were selling out full houses. By the time we did the show as as part of Sacred Fools’ Spotlight Series, we were a finely tuned machine.  People would be stomping on the bleachers before and after the performance. It was a rock show even more than a play.  And, of course, the whole thing starts as a play within a play.”

In the meantime, various theaters across the country were reaching out to ask if they could do it.  To ask if it could be published.  But there was no proof of concept.  Fisher knew he needed to make a soundtrack. So, toward the middle of 2022 he began making plans to record an official cast album which features the shows cult hits including the unbelievably hilarious, “Your Mother Sucks C#cks In Hell”.  (Not only is the music available on Spotify, you can also use snippets of it in Instagram stories.)

“You would like that?”  “Intensely.”

The album is updated to current politics and according to Fisher, because this would be a “forever” album, he took a hard look at every single choice, finding opportunities to tweak.  But the most important and unique aspect of this evolution has to do with the cast itself. People play themselves as opposed to fictional characters. That gave him the room to adapt the script to their actual personalities and finesse it toward the actors like Gabby Sanalitro who plays the stage manager  (“Listen you dick hole!”) or Leigh Wolf (the mother) who, in real life, is very politically minded.

“I love the little things that are them.  Knowing that Frankie Grande was going to be in the show, for instance, I thought, ‘What would Frankie Grande say?’ What I knew about the person or I imagined them to be like…that was the re-write.  The actors have been devouring it.”

“There isn’t a day in my life when I haven’t felt like a fraud.”

Nothing is out of place in this seamless production.  Not one line dropped. Not one directional, musical or choreographic stride out of place.  And not a single opportunity missed to curate the movie-genus-mapping of explicit dialog and action. The entire cast goes for the gusto.  In all though, it is driving lead Emma Hunton (Reagan - I mean, Meagan!) who is the fire, fury, fun and most magnificently shocking character in the production.  She is, in a word, outrageous.  That is not, in any way, to deny the full-on power that all the cast brings to this masterpiece of musical parody.

EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL is not just a great production. It is an exemplary demonstration of raw talent, creative originality and extraordinary commitment to theater craft as a living entity that can continue to transform itself as well as delight audiences who experience it.

“Then let’s introduce ourselves.”  “I’m the Devil.  Now kindly undo these straps.”

About EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL

For a film that premiered 50 years ago (on June 19th, 1973 in NYC) The Exorcist's influence on cinema is unquestionable. It won two Academy Awards, became Warner Bros highest grossing film to date, and has inspired countless rip-offs. Also, there are the iconic images: the levitation, spider walking, the split pea soup, and of course the self-stabbing of a certain part of the anatomy with crucifixes…. (“Let Jesus F%#@! You!” Remember that?) Yes, all these classic quotes make it into this completely original musical, composed in the style of pure 70s ROCK and depicts the eternal fight of Good vs Evil with electric guitars summoning the demons who root in man’s dark corners and sneer in the face of God…

But that’s all hooey, right? No one really believes that demons exist anymore, do they?

Among the chief doubters in this play-within-a play is the org*smico Theatre Company. We watch as the dysfunctional company dissects the film's cultural relevance, its controversial themes, the 1970s mentality/morality, and packs all their pretentious theories all into one big blasphemous rock musical parody that allows them to break the fourth wall and engage the audience...

…But at what cost? The dangerous thing about live theater is that if Evil really does exist, then no one is safe.

Fridays and Saturdays Doors 7PM Show 8PM

The Three Clubs
1123 Vine Street
Los Angeles, California 90038

Tickets can be purchased in advance at:

https://exorcisticmusical.eventbrite.com

Socials: @exorcistic_musical @threeclubs

General Admission: $45.00

Cast Includes

  • Nick Bredosky He/Him (UMPO 10 Things I Hate About You) Brian Logan Dales He/Him- (The Summer Set)
  • Kim Dalton She/Her (Cluelesque, Toil & Trouble)
  • Frankie Grande He/Him (Titanique, Rock of Ages)
  • Emma Hunton She/Her- (Good Trouble, Wicked) Mitchell Johnson He/they (A New Brain)
  • Janaya Mahealani Jones She/They- (Memphis, VHS Christmas Carol) Jesse Merlin He/Him(For Love of the Glove, Re-Animator the Musical) Michael Shaw Fisher He/Him (Shakespeare’s Last Night Out)
  • Leigh Wolf She/Her (Exorcistic 2013)
  • Gabby Sanalitro She/Her (That 90’s Show) Rotating Divas guests
  • Carly Jibson She/Her (The Guest Book, Cry Baby)
  • Garret Clayton He/Him(Hairspray Live, Teen Beach Movie)
  • Jeff Sumner He/Him (44 Obama Musical),
  • Marissa Jaret Winokur She/Her (Hairspray, Bupkis)
  • Elle Deran She/Her (Kinky Boots, Home Street Home)
  • Michael Sheppard He/Him (Little Shop of Horrors on Broadway, Bosch)

The Team

  • Producers: Emma Huton (She/Her) Alli Miller-Fisher (She/Her), Chadd McMillan (He/Him)
  • Book, Lyrics and Music by: Michael Shaw Fisher (He/Him)
  • Directed by: Chadd McMillan (He/Him), Alli Miller-Fisher (She/Her) Choreographed by: Camal Pugh (He/Him)
  • Musical Director/Arrangements by: Michael Teoli (He/Him)
  • Prop Design by: Kelly Stavert (She/Her)
  • Costume Design: Chadd McMillan (He/Him)
  • Lighting Design: Chadd McMillan (He/Him)
  • Sound Designer: Thomas Queyja (he/him)

Photo credit Nathan Noyes:  Emma Hunton




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