HFF17 – see it or skip it (day 2) part 2

So, the first part of our day we attended three shows that were on the dramatic side.  We closed out the night with a pair of musicals at Studio/Stage, both of which were on our list of most anticipated shows.

TITLE OF SHOWThe Spidey Project

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEWTheatre Unleashed never fails to deliver outstanding performances, whether at Fringe or the rest of the year, and this show is one of their best.  It was flawlessly directed by the playwright and lyricist himself, Justin Moran, and retold the Spider-Man origin story in a delightful and unique way – through music.  The back story of the production is equally impressive, so grab me when I’m out and about and we’ll discuss.

With the current media attention on superheroes, especially those from Marvel, The Spidey Project is particularly timely for this year’s Fringe.  Every performer was outstanding, but several deserve special kudos, among them Travis Nilan, who played Peter Parker/Spider-Man, both in the original one night only performance in New York and again for this run in Los Angeles.  He was totally believable in his portrayal, and made the story come alive.  He was aided in this endeavor by an outstanding supporting cast, including Heather Lake as Betty Brant, Henry Kaiser as Kent Holbrook, Presley Roy as Gwen Stacy, Richard Abraham as Uncle Ben, Margaret Glaccum as Aunt May, Adam Slemon as J. Jonah Jameson and Christopher Jewell Valentin as Flash Thompson.   Kudos also to the amazing choreography of Lindsay Braverman and the tight musical production of musical director Jennifer Lin.  

RECOMMENDATION:  This one is a no-brainer, and deserves one of our highest See it ratings.  Unfortunately, the show is sold out for the remainder of Fringe, but you can sign up for the wait list and more than likely get to see one of the remaining performances on June 21 at 7 p.m. or June 24 at 7:45 p.m.

TITLE OF SHOWNothing Bad: A Werewolf Rock Musical

VENUE:  Studio/Stage

REVIEW:   With the absence of Orgasmico Theatre Company at this year’s Fringe, we were looking to this rock musical to help us get over that loss.  While the production did not ascend to quite that level, it was a worthy effort by first time company They Played Productions.  The show combined elements of Pleasantville, Teen Wolf and Wolfen to create a hybrid musical of the ideal small town with a dark secret.  Hats off to first time playwright and director Erik Blair, who has crafted a wonderful story about coming of age within a “too perfect” community.  He was wonderfully aided in his efforts by songwriter and musical director Dan Sugimoto, and producer Thea Rivera.

Lyndsey Wegner and Lexi Eiserman were perfect in their portrayals of Mayor White and her daughter, Lily White, respectively, both of whom had dark secrets they did not want to come to light.  Their voices were amazingly strong and they brought their respective characters to life in a goose-bump raising way.  They were aided in their performances by an amazing cast of supporting actors, including Jake Saenz as Christopher Cross, Tyler Angier as Luke Diamond, Renee Wylder as D’nise D’Arthur, Tyler Carlson as Dean Swenson, Mathew San Jose as Jake Stone and Danielle Philapil as the Beast.  Jessica Tucker and Rachel Berman were also great in their ensemble roles.

RECOMMENDATION:  Like The Spidey Project, this show is sold out for the duration of its Fringe run.  However, we recommend that you See it, and sign up for the wait list for your chance at the final performance on June 24 at 9:30 p.m.

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