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Theater Review: Breaking Down with 'Showgirls: The Musical'

Theater Review: Breaking Down with 'Showgirls: The Musical'

It’s an already amusing, peculiar and raunchy film, but somehow the new off-off-Broadway Showgirls: The Musical! manages to make it an even more hilarious, inventive and twisted experience. The 90-minute production premiered at New York’s Kraine Theatre on April 17th, the first of a 12-night run over the next three weekends.

Brought to the stage by MediumFace Productions, this first-run musical brings together an exceptionally talented cast of Broadway-caliber singers and dancers, most of whom pull off multiple characters spanning all manner of sexual versatility. In fact, sexuality is almost as much of a theme as the melodramatic storyline itself, with nudity promised in the program (it reads: “Singing. Dancing. Tits.”) and delivered in nearly every act—not unlike the film’s gratuitous nakedness.

But Showgirls: The Musical! serves up something far more engaging than Showgirls the film: sheer unpredictability. Sure, the plot still mirrors the misbegotten adventures of Nomi (overacted in the film by Elizabeth Berkley; spoofed in the musical by the bold and unbridled April Kidwell). Songs like “Don’t Lick that Pole, Girl” and “Dancing Ain’t Fucking, Girl,” among a smorgasbord of other side-splitting groaners, enhance the barrage of ribald dialogue, bizarre characters, and low-budget props that keep the audience in stitches.

The show was manifested by writer/producer duo Bob and Tobly McSmith, who describe themselves as “homomaybe” and “homo-a-go-go,” respectively, and contribute to the spectacle by providing a live on-stage guitar and bass soundtrack. The pair recently put on the equally riotous JonBenét Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theater at New York’s Frigid Festival, and before that the well-received Bayside! The Saved By the Bell Musical—yes, there does seem to be a theme here, and the best part may be the rampant homosexuality that manages to recur no matter what or who is involved in any given scene. Add two-dozen perverse stripper and cocaine references, and voila!, Showgirls: The Musical!.

If popularity is any evidence of a show’s success, already tickets are evaporating, and rumor has it that actress Evan Rachel Wood attended a recent performance. It may be wise to catch Showgirls: The Musical! before too many other celebrities figure out how just how high the McSmith House of Bawdy Humor can fly…or maybe how low it can go.

Showgirls: The Musical! is produced by Brooklyn’s Medium Face Productions. Remaining performances: April 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27; May 1, 2, 3, 4 at The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue and Bowery). Tickets $18 in advance / $20 at the door.

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