There is good, there is great, and then there is Toxic Avenger the Musical, now playing at the George St. Playhouse in
The biggest strength of this program is in its lyrics. The songs are exceptionally humorous and moving, and sang exceptionally well. Good material well executed is usually a reliable formula for success. The music and lyrics were done by David Bryan. Who’s that you say? Well, he’s only the keyboardist and founding member of Bon Jovi! If that is not enough reason for you to get your ass to
For those of you who don’t know (and shame on you) this musical is an interpretation of the four Toxic Avenger movies all made by the infamous Troma Studios, where all truly great Bad Movies are made. In the original movie Melvin, our hero, is a 90 lb weakling who gets bullied to the point where his tormentors feel it appropriate to dump him in a vat of toxic waste. Now, rather than kill him like it should, it turns him into a giant, green, mutated superhero. Similar circumstances happen in the Musical, for different reasons (go see the damn thing for specifics!) but the outcome is the same; giant green freak runs amok in the name of justice and love. Yes, Love dammit! If there is one positive message everyone can take away from this play, it’s that if a Big Green Freak can find Hot Toxic Love, then you can too. And if not, then Everybody Dies anyway, so you can comfort yourself with the fact that whoever Tore Your Heart Out will die eventually too. The most impressive thing about Toxic Avenger the Musical is that there are about 15+ characters represented in the entire story, only 5 actors, and no intermission. One thing is for certain, if you want to be an actor in this play, you have to be in shape, because there are no breaks or time outs. Everyone is in action all of the time.
The cast is charged not only with keeping up this hectic pace, but also with doing justice to the wonderful songs and lyrics that they have been provided with by DiPietro and Bryan. As with every other challenge put before them, the Cast faces down this challenge and rips its guts out. Audra Blaser (Sarah) has great range, and proves it by singing a variety of songs throughout the story. She hits high notes and low, and even puts a good bit of soul in her voice for a little white girl. Nick Cordero doesn’t have as much range as the Toxic Avenger, but all he has to do is mutilate people and Rock Out, which he does admirably, so it’s all good. Demond Green (Black Dude) and David Josefsberg (White Dude) pull double duty, literally, having to sing as men and women. And the damndest thing is they pull of both sexes very convincingly. I have to say thought, I could have gone without seeing them in Tina Turner style Vegas gowns, but maybe that’s just me. And Nancy Opel does perhaps the hardest bit of all, singing one song as two different people. The performances really are not to be believed. I mean, this play should be seen just to marvel at the actors’ endurance.
I really cannot say enough about the play, but I want you to see it for yourself. You do not have to be from NJ to enjoy it, but it helps. I left that theater with so much