Friday, July 22, 2011

Toe Tapping Lambs & Lyrical Lotion

Let’s face it: if there’s one thing the world of musical theater needs, it’s more manufacturing of skin dresses.
Come on now. We have mutants...

Scarred madmen who drop chandeliers on people...

Singing and dancing presidential Assassins...

And even the occasional telekinetic teenager with an itch to slaughter her entire graduating class.

Theater snobs may wring their Playbills in ire over the new trend of turning popular films into musicals, but every now and then, the right one comes along, mostly because it involves wearing dead men’s faces and discovering rotting heads in pickle jars. Much like the snappy Evil Dead: The Musical, Silence! The Musical, is a pretty joyous ride into classic horror territory with catchy showtunes that would make Angela Lansbury blush. Back in the nefarious Napster days, I heard a few of its songs (written by Jon and Al Kaplan) online while the play had an official premiere in 2005 at the NYC Fringe Festival, where it won the coveted Best Musical honor. Currently, Silence! has a limited run directed and choreographed by Christophere Gatteli down at Theatre 80, a cozy spot on St. Mark’s Place.

Silence! The Musical follows all the beats you know from Jonathon Demme’s film, and wonderfully so. There’s Clarisch M. Schtarling (Jenn Harris)’s breathy pleas for help from the elegant Hannibal Lector (Brent Barret, though soap star Paul Michael Valley played the role the weekend I attended), who quid pro quos her into a delightful tango (called, of course, Quid Pro Quo). A Greek chorus of sorts made of human lambs (and led with supreme energy by Jeff Hiller). Buffalo Bill’s show-stopping number, “I’d Fuck Me,” complete with the wardrobe (and lack thereof) you remember so sexily slung over Ted Levine’s shoulders. A touching and musically clever lullaby sung by Senator Martin as she reminds her daughter's kidnapper that "Her Name Is Catherine, Catherine's Her Name." Even the smarmy-as-ever Dr. Chilton gets a number, as does the underappreciated (and possibly underloved) Ardelia Mapp, played with fantastic 11th hour sass by Diedre Goodwin. 

Did I mention there’s a song called “Put the Fucking Lotion In the Basket?”
Some of the jokes are a little broad (both literally and figuratively, as evidenced by Bill’s cowboy-esque hoedown, “Are You About A Size 14?”) but it’s hard to not smile at any musical that finds a way to make “eating Ray Liotta’s brain” into a lyric. If you’re in the New York area this summer, it’s a pretty delightful way to spend an evening, although you do run the risk of later finding yourself humming the way-too-catchy signature song, “If I Could Smell Her Cunt.” 
That could result in awkward office moments.
The show runs through the end of August, with tickets set at half what you’d pay for a Broadway show. The official website is here so check it out, providing you, like me, consider the marriage of choreography and cannibalism the best thing since peanut butter and chocolate opened up its marriage and invited in banana.

We are all the better for it.


  1. I HATE musicals, but I'd love to check this out. I also remember reading (years ago!) in an old issue of Shivers (a cool UK horror mag sadly no longer in publication) that someone was adapting Hellraiser as a musical... I thought it was crazy enough to work. Never heard anything more about it though. Shame! ;)

  2. Interesting. I don't know that I've ever seenor know of a horror musical that doesn't play it tongue in cheek (well, other than Carrie and look how good that turned out). I think Hellraiser has some potential as a theatrical piece , though I have no idea where you start with it. I'll have to look into this and see if it ever went anywhere...

  3. How about this for an idea! Rats-Nights of Terror: The Musical! We get to have musical numbers like 'I'm As White As All Of You', a mock gospel song for the movie's final lines and a song to do with the rat-people! (Have you seen said movie? If not, do so immediately)

    And what is that abomination of a cake?

  4. You know you live in exciting times when you can still read something and say: "Wow, really?" I'd be itching to see this, but I will not be in NY anytime soon.

    About Hellraiser...actually, I can totally see that working. Clive Barker would need to be involved though. He wrote some other theatrically based stuff early on. (One of the community theaters here has done two of his plays...pretty cool stuff). If you did it as a one location play...with that location split into different dimensions on both half of the stage...with Sweeney Todd like music...anyway...

    Now I will be thinking about how to do Hellraiser: The Musical all day...

  5. Chris: I have not seen this "Rats Nights of Terror," though it sounds as if I must. And that cake looks amazing to me!

    Ooooh Dusty, I'm now itching to seek out some Barker plays. I rarely see a good piece of horror-themed theater taken seriously.

    And I'm also now itching for a Hellraiser Musical. Imagine the possibilities of Pinhead's big solo with the other Cenobites doing backup jazzhands!

  6. It's strange that you post this as I have done the "I'd fuck me" dance a few times this week. I do it quite well; it's all in the arms and the tucked-cock hip motions!

    Also, I cannot believe this is real, but I love it, and I also am with both Dusty and yourself about Hellriaser. I'm sure Barker enjoys a good musical number!

  7. Matt, I imagine the tuck itself is what gives you those spectacular hip motions. It's clearly just a guess though.