Okay, so you hate emo. I get that. But don't be fooled by the cleverly appropriated "emo" sensibility of Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman's rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, currently occupying the stage of the McCoy Theatre at Rhodes College. It's an irreverent satire borrowing heavily and hilariously from the most profane chapters of the Parker/Stone playbook. As in-your-face musicals about controversial 19th-century historical figures go, it's just about perfect. Where else will you get to see arch-nullifier John C. Calhoun stroking his taxidermied pets, and cackling like the horror he surely was?
The set is comprised of Oriental rugs and the audience's willingness to get swept up in a good yarn. Andrew Jackson is a highly theatrical look back at a time when US citizens had grown to distrust the government to such a degree they kicked the elites out of Washington and elected to the presidency a man who loved to kill Spanish people and Indians almost as much as he loved to fuck other men's wives. This Jackson is a self-absorbed war hero from Tennessee who looks good in his too-tight jeans and doesn't sweat small stuff like bigamy. Or genocide. It's a complicated comedy, and director Jordan Nichols has assembled a nearly pitch-perfect production, with a cast that plunges into the gory fray with joyous abandon.
With its muddy but effective bar-band score and anything-goes attitude, Andrew Jackson is unlike anything else you're likely to see this or any season. It's worth it just to be insulted by Corbin Williams who nails the title role with swagger to spare. He's supported by a strong ensemble and a band that sure as hell doesn't sound like it's playing any kind of show tunes I've ever heard. Except for maybe in American Idiot. Don't miss this one.
Through March 7th
Let's get something out of the way right up front. Once you get beyond all the opportunities for swinging '60s design, Boeing Boeing is a terrible comedy from another time based on an idea that was awful even when it was new. Thing is, if you're planning to attend this often delightful show expecting a script that's not dated and tedious, you'll be dropping in at Germantown Community Theatre for all the wrong reasons.
The (not so) lurid story in a nutshell: Bernard (Brian Everson), an American architect living in Paris, has three fiancées (Leigh Eck, Jaclyn Suffel, and Katie Sloan) and no intention whatsoever of ever getting married. The women — an international clutch consisting of an American, a German, and an Italian — are all flight attendants. And like an expert juggler, Bernard has discovered how to keep two birds in the air at all times. Until everything goes wrong, of course. The jokes fly fast and in spite of the best efforts of a very good cast, they often fall flat.
Like the '70s-era sitcom Three's Company, but with an extra "her," Boeing Boeing was built for physical comedians, and better banter would almost get in the way of the gags.
Director Teddy Eck has brought together a solid cast of actors, but the main reason to see Boeing Boeing is the fantastically funny tour de force performance of Stuart Turner who channels the spirit of Carol Burnett-era Tim Conway. Even his hair does stunts. Cheryl McClurg is also very funny as Berthe, the testy maid.
Through March 9th
Hey, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, I've got a message for you: Little Shop of Horrors called, and they want their schtick back. This derivative curiosity that has been revived with a stellar cast at Circuit Playhouse wears out its welcome before the final act, but up until then it's so much better than it has any right to be.
It's easy to laugh at the "people of Wal-Mart," which is what makes Trailer Park's attempts to get below the badly permed surfaces such a complete delight.
The plot is pure tabloid TV: "Wife Catches Husband With Son's Stripper Girlfriend." Carla McDonald (Sunset Blvd.) plays a fading agoraphobic beauty yearning to get out of the trailer to have a normal life with her husband, played by Kent Fleshman (Musical of Musicals the Musical). Claire Kolheim (The Color Purple) leads the girl-group-inspired chorus, and Richie MacLeod plays a marker-sniffing greaser looking to cause somebody a little pain.
Through March 23rd