Bat Boy seen on DVC college campus and Little Shop of Horrors discovered in San Jose!

Bat Boy rises from tabloid grave at local College!

I have great news for the tabloid newspaper connoisseurs in the Bay Area who probably have been dealing with severe bouts of “Tabloidus Interuptus” depression since the suspension of the widely circulated publication, Weekly World News (WWN), in August of 2007 by its parent company, American Media. With a readership of 1.2 million in the 1980’s, this renegade news reporting source maintained that it reported “Nothing but the Truth” to its millions of readers!

Having witnessed many individuals standing in line at the newsstands relishing the remarkably revealing and insightful news gathering and articulate journalism contained in the pages of “National Enquirer”, “The Sun” and “The Weekly World News”, I can understand the excitement now being generated by the new generation of Tabloid Musicals sweeping the country. NOW, YOU TOO CAN SEE - - “BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL”, on the main stage of DIABLO VALLEY COLLEGE.

Director Andrea Webber is to be commended for her daring and thought-provoking production of this musical written by Keythe Farley and Brian Fleming that first premiered on Halloween, 1997 Off Broadway.

Possibly the best known of all the stories to come out of WWN, Bat Boy was first featured in a 1992 issue after his being found in a cave. He has since led police on a high speed chase, fought in the war on terror, led the troops to capture Saddam Hussein, bitten Santa Claus, and traveled into Outer Space. In 2000, he gave his endorsement to Al Gore. It was foretold that Bat Boy would become president in 2028. The story of Bat Boy was the basis for an acclaimed off-Broadway musical, Bat Boy: The Musical, though the play ended tragically, and ignores the continuity of the original stories. In addition to articles, Bat Boy has been featured in a comic strip since 2004, though it's said that only the WWN articles provide the "true" story of Bat Boy.

The musical differs in a many of its plot details from the Weekly World News portrayal of Bat Boy. In the musical, Bat Boy is found in a cave, is adopted by a veterinarian family, learns to communicate from his adoptive family, yearns for acceptance and tries to fit into mainstream society, only to face hatred and violence from both a community that fears him and the jealous rage of his adoptive father. Although chock full of blood, gore, violence, incest and interspecies sex, Bat Boy: The Musical won numerous awards and nearly unanimous rave reviews on Broadway.

The teenaged Bat Boy, following his capture by spelunkers and the local Sheriff (Marlon DeLeon), is delivered to local veterinarian Thomas Parker (Jedediah Da Roza) and his wife, Meredith (Elizabeth Curtis). While the Veterinarian wants to put the strange mutation to sleep and out of his misery, his wife insists they keep him alive and protect him. She promises to give her husband anything he wants in exchange for his agreement. Even their own teenage daughter, Shelly (Shelly Parker), transitions from disgust to admiration as the half human, half bat creature becomes more and more similar to a typical teenager, a little strange looking and acting but occasionally quite articulate.

The former coal mining town community where the boy is discovered has had to transition to cattle raising as the coal deposits have run out, but now it is having a very strange epidemic of mysterious cattle deaths with a huge deleterious financial effect on the local meat packing plant and its workers. The town’s people believe that the cattle deaths and strange malingering illness incurred by one of the spelunkers who was bitten by the Bat Boy when first discovered, is the fault of the Bat Boy and the town’s people want him destroyed.

Wild and wacky, outrageous and thoroughly bizarre, this show is a very good college level production. While several of the lead actors are quite accomplished, with excellent voices and acting skills, many of the actors are complete neophytes, just now finding their acting wings. The Chris Piazza band is outstanding, with Chris on keyboard, Steve Sage on guitar, Eric Wilson on bass, Geoff Caster also on keyboard and with Rich Fongheiser on drums. The costume designer, Jennifer La Morgese, has done an excellent job and scenic designer, Machael Cook, has provided a very creative set that adds measurably to the production.

Elizabeth Curtis (Mrs. Parker) and Shelly McDowell (the Parker daughter) are absolutely superb in every respect. Jonathan Ayers who portrays Pan (yes, there is even a forest scene complete with a Pan character and all of his woodland creatures) has a remarkable voice. This show can and will get better as the student cast grasps the brilliance and subtleties of this very difficult and demanding production. Again, Director, Andrea Weber, needs to be commended for even attempting a show as difficult as this, a show that really needs professional level actors to bring it to its full fruition.

Bat Boy: The Musical plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Sunday performances at 2:30 p.m., now through February 17th in the Performing Arts Center at 321 Golf Club Road, at Diablo Valley College, in Pleasant Hill. Tickets range between $10 and $15 each and can be obtained by calling (925) 687-4445. You might want to visit the DVC website at for additional information.

"Pop rock musical with a sadistit twist" stirs San Jose Audiences!

“Little Shop of Horrors”, the fun-filled, thoroughly wacky musical, also derived from a science fiction horror story, is back in the Bay Area produced by a fully professional cast and production in the prestigious American Musical Theatre of San Jose.

The Off-Broadway production was a rip-roaring success, running for more than 2000 performances and garnered many awards for its creators, Howard Ashman (book and Lyrics) and Alan Menken (music).

The story centers on a flop of a skid-row flower shop, where the owner, Mr. Mushnick (played in excellent fashion by the award-winning veteran Broadway actor, Hal Linden) is about to close his doors for lack of business. His amateur botanist employee, Seymour, has discovered a very strange plant, which in some ways seems similar to a Venus Flytrap, that he has named Audrey II. Audrey’s namesake, Audrey, is also an employee in the flower shop, and is a very attractive bimbo, whom Seymour secretly admires. Seymour (Josh Lamon) and Audrey (Christiane Noll) suggest to Mr. Mushnick that they place this very unique plant, Audrey II, in the shop window to help attract customers and entice them into the shop. When they do, the plant does exactly that, as it draws a great deal of attention and notoriety to Seymour and the little shop on Skid Row.

As the plant grows, Seymour discovers that the plant needs human blood to sustain it, and Seymour has all but run out of personal plasma and epidermal landscape to attach Band-Aids to. In addition, the plant has acquired a voice that annoyingly reiterates a bombastic chorus of “Feed Me!”, “Feed Me!”, that is driving poor Seymour nuts. Seymour vocalizes, “I’ve given you sunshine, I’ve given you rain, I guess you’re not happy, unless I open a vein - -“!

The lovely Audrey has a boyfriend, named Orin, whom Mr. Mushnick describes as a “semi-sadist” who thinks that handcuffs are a very necessary charm bracelet, especially whenever he picks up Audrey for a date. It also turns out that Orin (played by Todd Alan Johnson), is a dentist, “go-figure”, naw - - really!!

When Seymour decides that the Dentist might be just the right prescription for feeding Audrey II and freeing Audrey, the first, the plot gets very darkly funny. This terrific musical is a rock and roll rollercoaster ride resonating with a wonderful 60’s and 70’s-sounding musical score. Complete with a groovy 60’s Ronette’s style female singing chorus singing great songs such as “Suddenly Seymour” and “Somewhere That’s Green”, these tunes bring back memories of legendary tunes such as “Be My Baby”, which was produced in the sixties by a young Phil Spector and his wife, Ronnie Spector. These three young women, known as the Urchins, Chiffon (Kristin McDonald), Ronnette (Izzeta Fang) and Crystal (Adrienne Muller), vocalize to one great “doo-wop” sound after another. Their delivery on “Be A Dentist” is a kick and a half!

The hilarious comedy never seems to get old, no matter how many times I see this memorable musical. I come away every time fully satisfied and this production is truly outstanding, complete with a couple of new twists. Director, Gabriel Barre, has delivered a superlative production. The outstanding sets, costumes and sound add significantly to the entire production.
This production is well worth the trip to the Musical Theatre of San Jose, an easy drive from Rossmoor, straight south on 680 and the Guadalupe Parkway (Highway 87) to San Jose. The San Jose Center for the Performing Arts is located at 255 Almaden Boulevard (near West San Carlos Street) in San Jose. Call (888) 455- SHOW (7469) or visit the website at for additional information. The production plays Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturday at 2 p.m., and with Sunday performances at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., now through Sunday, February 3rd.