Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Leapin’ Lizards! “Lizard Boy The Musical” delights in its enterprise.

First there was “Bat Boy The Musical” and now we have “Lizard Boy The Musical”.  Leapin Lizards! What’s next, flying green witches? Oh, that’s right we’ve already done that one too.

We all know it isn’t easy being Green. Just ask Elphaba or Kermit the Frog. But when you’re green and look like a lizard, gay and a kid, it’s enough to make you hide from the world.  When your only contact with the outside is when you ‘come out’ once a year for the annual MonsterFest, a celebration in costume, at Seattle’s famed Crocodile Rock Club, or when you finding yourself speaking to your comic book heroes, you know you need to get a life.

Trevor (Justin Huertas) is just that kid. His is a story of the boy being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yup, that would be the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption that unleashed a bloody dragon in the form of its ashes on some children in a  Seattle schoolyard. But Trevor, who seemed to get a large dose of it developed green scales (say lizard scales) over his body and even inherited some superhero powers.  

Justin Huertas
This is also a story of someone being ‘the other'. Huerta, a Filipino-American always knew he was different and didn’t really fit in with his white classmates. But according to him the big drama in his life was when he came out to his family and friends and no one wanted to talk to me (metaphorically) because of my skin.” “The idea that heroes look a certain way was really important to me.” “Growing up I realized if I wanted to play superhero, I’d have to create one myself.” “Because of my skin color, I will never play Spider-Man.”

This is Huerta’s take on his life as told by himself. He wrote the book and lyrics, but the 90 min piece, which is also being touted as a collaborative effort in conjunction with his entire team that includes Siren (Kirsten Delohr Helland) the gal in the red slinky, skin -tight outfit who is talent plus, and Cary (William A. Williams.)

Diversionary Theatre now in its 31st season is presenting the California premiere production of “Lizard Boy the Musical”. The show premiered in Seattle and was brought to San Diego almost in its entirety.  Brandon Ivie directs as he did in Seattle. Projection illustrator is Joe Huppert and Ron Logan (fantastic). Lighting designer is Curtis Mueller, sound design Matthew Lescault- Wood (another local).  The set was designed by Ron Logan another local designer.  

William A. Williams and Justin Huertas 
When the show begins Trevor is home alone, lonesome and still bemoaning his last breakup that happened a year ago. He’s sketching his favorite comic book heroes and talking to himself about the nightmare’s he’s having about a rock n roll sexpot. He pushes his app on Grindr and connects with Cary (William A. Williams) another ditz who shows up in his skivvies the first time he and Trevor meet in person.

Things take some time to click for Trevor and Cary but when they go to the Crocodile Club he recognizes the character he’s been sketching almost all his life. Her picture is on the poster along the wall at the club. Trevor obsesses over meeting her and it just happens to be the girl in his dreams, Siren another a victim of the Mount St. Helens eruption with the same bloody dragon.

The Siren
“Dragon Boy the Musical” is just what the doctor ordered if you are of the cool hip super comic Pop culture type looking for some different theatre. But don’t be misled. Huerta’s musical is enterprising and should appeal to all those who follow the comics, “Star Wars” and I’ve been told “Dungeons and Dragons” not to mention a few others.

William A. Williams, Justin Huertas and Kirsten deLohr Helland
I apologize for not being part of the cool set, and being able to have an ah ah moment, but in retrospect it didn’t take away from my amusement by being engaged in the dynamics going on on stage nor in my understanding of the world of ‘the different’.

What I can tell you is that I had a hell time admiring the ingenuity of Huerta’s idea and the talent of the group. Huerta was with the national tour of the Broadway hit “Spring Awakening” playing the cello, which he does in the show as well. In fact all three actors play at least six or seven different instruments including the kazoo and a toy piano. Kirstin deLohr Helland and William A. Williams score high on the talent charts as well.

All three, now in a familiar patter, roll with the script as well as pumping out 16 original tunes, again playing every instrument seen on the set and then some. You’ll love it.

Kirsten deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas and William A. Williams
Diversionary Theatre has gotten into a rhythm of bringing in original plays/musicals with universal appeal including “The Boy Who Danced On Air”, which will be making its Off-Broadway Debut this spring at the June Havoc Theatre. It’s another musical that premiered at Diversionary in May, and has the Diego theatre community singing its praises. Now let’s keep track of ‘Lizard Boy the Musical”.

Way to go to Artistic director Matt M. Morrow for having the foresight to bring us “The Boy Who Danced on Air” and “Lizard Boy the Musical”. Enjoy.

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through Nov. 6th
Organization: Diversionary Theatre
Phone: 619-220-0097
Production Type: Musical
Where: 4545 Park Blvd. University Heights 92116
Ticket Prices: Start at $15.00
Venue: Diversionary Theatre
Photo: Simpatika

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