Bat Boy: The Musical

Bat Boy: The Musical

Bat Boy: The Musical
Book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keeffe
Directed by Kenny Howard
Musical Direction by John DeHaas
Staring Rickey Cona, Rebecca Fischer, and Jennifer Newberry
Gen Y Productions
Presented at The Abbey, Orlando FL

Outsider in a small town? That’s a beatin’ offence, if you’re lucky enough to survive. And it gets worse if you have pointed ears, pointed teeth and ultrasonic hearing. Little Bat Boy (Cona) lives peaceably in a cave until redneck spelunkers stumble on him and he bites one. Anticoagulation is a terrible thing, and when he’s brought to the surface the local lynching committee takes him to vet Dr. Parker (William Flannigan) for a painless “Putting to sleep”. But the doc’s wife (Fischer) and daughter (Newberry) take to Bat Boy, and he’s saved for the moment. They teach him English and erudition and ball room dancing and soon he’s ready to step on to the public stage for his debut. Hope he doesn’t freak anyone out. Oops, sorry. Our bad.

While there are some outstanding numbers here I occasionally felt like I was about to hear “Superstar”. It’s not the melodies, just the intro chords. Bat Boy’s solo “Let Me Walk Among You” was somehow Christ-like in an Andrew Lloyd Webber sort of way. The music here is compelling and exciting and the story flows with amazing complexity and subtlety. Cona’s Bat Boy not only evokes sympathy, you see him as the geek kid too smart for fifth grade and suffering for it. He’s “Family Guy’s” Stewie, but with less self-confidence. Fischer and Newberry are nurturing and supportive but Flannigan is a homicidal maniac bent on destroying the boy. I wonder why? Must be some sort of plot point… His only counterweight is the Andy Griffith of a sheriff played by Michael Colavolpe. The real show stealer here is David Lee; he’s the psycho red neck rancher as well as the tent revivalist showing a surprising Christianity when he shakes Bat Boy’s hand when no one else will. Shelly falls for Bat Boy, but you know deep down its going to come to Sharks eating Jets, and their love is as doomed as Bat Boy’s political prospects. Becky Fischer is a great mom (in real life as well) and the very tall Flannigan is just the right guy for a vicious axe murderer or veterinarian run amok. This is a half-Halloween show that gives you both gore and humorous chills without beating Edgar Allen Poe to death. On stage. Again. And Again. And Again…

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