The concept is both simple and inspired. Take ten iconic characters (Marc Cohen, Elder Cunningham, Elphaba, Harold Hill, Tracy Turnblad, Jean Valjean, Maria Von Trapp, Annie Warbucks, Effie White, and Danny Zuko) and have them one-by-one meet their fate at the hands of Ridley Scott’s Alien, who starts off tiny but bloodthirsty and ends up humungous (thanks to co-book writer Troop’s Broadway-ready creature design).
Przytulski and Troop’s book pays affectionate homage to two much-loved genres while composer-lyricist Przytulski’s songs mimic Jonathan Larson, Stephen Schwartz, Meredith Willson, et al to perfection.
LeVanna Atkinson-Williams, Josh Bednarsky, Christopher Bunyi, Allie Costa, Nick Emmett McGee, Ally Mulholland, Matthew Noah, Brianne Sanborn, Rachel Tyler, and Andrew Wade are all so terrific, they could easily star in the next Music Man, Hairspray, Grease, or Dreamgirls revival (to name just four of the shows pastiched), and it’s to the performers’, writers’, and director Matthew Tyler’s credit that there’s not a cartoon character among them.
Keyboardist Emily Cohn provides expert accompaniment (though a move to the side would prove less distracting to the action) and Tyler’s choreography is nifty too. Costumes are spot-on, whether Annie’s distinctive red frock or Mark’s trademark striped sweater, with special snaps to Maria’s alien-fighting gear. Itzel Mendoza-Nova is stage manager and Calista Lukito is assistant stage manager.
The more you know about Broadway musicals and/or the Alien franchise, the more you’ll love Alien Vs. Musical, but even those unfamiliar with one genre or the other will find themselves entertained throughout the show’s 50-minute running time. (Hopefully Przytulski and Troop have another 30 minutes up their sleeves for the post-Fringe afterlife this show so richly deserves.)
Like Spamalot, Young Frankenstein, and Rock Of Ages before it, Alien Vs. Musical is that rarity—a show with equal appeal to Broadway lovers and to those who’ve never cared to see a musical in their lives.
Expect to be seeing and hearing much more of Alien Vs. Musical in the months to come.
June 11, 2105