The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)
The Musical Parody Makes its Brunswick County Debut in July
STORY BY: LISA P. STITES
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Brunswick Little Theatre plans to give its regards to Broadway. This year’s summer musical, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), is a parody of traditional musical theater, poking fun at, and paying homage to, some of the most well-known and well-loved musical theater composers.
The show is made up of five acts — Corn! (in the style of Rogers and Hammerstein – The King and I, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!), A Little Complex (based on the musicals of Steven Sondheim, of Into the Woods fame), Dear Abby (a parody of the work of Jerry Herman – Mame, Hello Dolly!), Aspects of Junita (based on the work of Andrew Lloyd Weber – Evita, The Phantom of the Opera) and Speakeasy (in the style of John Kander and Fred Ebb – Chicago and Cabaret). Each act is done in the style of a famous American or British composer.
Director Jen Iapalucci explained that the basic premise of the show is the old familiar vaudeville trope of the young ingénue who can’t pay the rent, the villainous landlord, and the dashing hero, plus a standard advice-giving-matriarchal-figure. The story is presented five times, each time in the style of a different composer/composer and lyricist team. Those four main roles will be played by the same actors throughout the five acts, and the rest of the cast of seven will appear as farmers, party guests, dancing girls, cats, whatever. The cast will also provide the musical accompaniment on stage via piano.
Iapalucci said she picked this show after talking about small-cast musicals with a friend. And then a few months later she was on an all girls’ weekend with her mother and three sisters, whom all happen to be music theater aficionados. While stuck in traffic, Iapalucci was looking for a way to keep the group entertained and read a description of the show. As they laughed over the song titles, Iapalucci said she knew she’d have to do the show someday. Song titles in Corn!, for example, include “Clam Dip,” “Sowillyquey,” and “Daylight Savings Time.”
When Brunswick Little Theatre (BLT) was looking for directors to fill out the season this year, she said it seemed like a good opportunity to make this show happen. Two of the sisters along for the car ride that cemented the idea of doing this show are actually in the cast – Katie Deese and Elie Erickson. Deese’s husband Mark is also cast in the show, along with BLT regulars Carolyn Stringer and Gillian Carney. David T. Loudermilk, Jacob Caceres-Reyes and Logan Tart are also lending their talents to the cast.
Iapalucci has a long history with BLT. She has directed Pippin, Bye Bye Birdie, Carnival!, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Oklahoma!, Suessical!, Oliver!, The Wizard of Oz, The 39 Steps, Into the Woods and Winnie-the-Pooh KIDS. She has also directed a youth show for the Thalian Association and worked there as a stage manager on Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, The Addams Family, and A Secret Garden and as a costumer for 101 Dalmatians, American Idiot, and A Secret Garden. Some of the shows she has directed provide the fodder for this parody musical, but Iapalucci she said she’s not sure yet if some of her past experiences will find their way into this production. The Deeses, Erickson and Carney were in BLT’s 2006 production of Oklahoma!, and several of the cast were also in Into the Woods in 2014.
“It would be interesting to see if anyone in the audience picked up on nods to previous BLT productions. Of course, it’s those sorts of details that I often include in my shows just to entertain myself…,” Iapalucci said.
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) is a show that will appeal to many. “There are layers upon layers of humor in this show,” Iapalucci said. “The musical theater lovers will get many of the references and really find it hilarious, but even if you aren’t well-versed in the entire catalog of each of these composers, you’ll still enjoy the show. I have read the show a dozen times now, and listened to the soundtrack twice as many times, and I still catch something new each time. Plus, it’s a super talented cast, and I know they will deliver a terrific evening of theater even if you’ve never seen another musical before in your life.”
The show will run July 22, 23, 29 and 30, and August 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees will run July 24 and 31, and August 7 at 3 p.m. All performances will be at Brunswick Little Theatre Mainstage, 8068 River Rd SE, Southport. Tickets were not on sale as of press time, but will be $20 for adults and $12 for students with identification. For more information, find Brunswick Little Theatre on Facebook, follow the theatre on Twitter, or visit www.brunwicklittletheatre.com.