Stray Dog And Muny Close Out Their Seasons With “Bat Boy” And “Aida”

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Photo: John Lamb

Stray Dog Theatre closes out their current season with a cult musical, “Bat Boy: The Musical.” A lively cast and a very funny script enhance this wild look at a young boy who was conceived by a pair of humans with a little intervention by a group of bats. The result is a clever and off-kilter musical that has splendid moments and a lot of laughs and cringe-worthy moments. It’s all based on a story printed many years ago by one of the tabloids that became a classic in its own right.

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Photo: John Lamb

Corey Fraine is a wonder as the Bat Boy- eventually known as Edgar. He twists his body like a Hindu rubber man as he cowers from humans until he is “tamed” in a “Rain In Spain” parody that is absolutely brilliant. Soon he’s even serving tea to his surrogate parents played to the hilt by Patrick Kelly and Dawn Schmid. And another great performance from Angela Bubash as the daughter and soon Bat Boy’s lover. Great work all around by a supporting cast of townspeople who sometimes cross-dress to “fill out” the local folks including Josh Douglas, Colin Dowd, Lindsey Jones, Tim Kaniecki, Michael A. Wells and Sara Rae Womack.

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Photo: John Lamb

It all comes together under the superb direction of Justin Been with a band led by Chris Petersen and choreography by  Mike Hodges. Robert J. Lippert provides a multi-level set and Tyler Duenow’s lights enhance the look of Hope Falls, West Virginia. Cara Hoppes McCulley finishes it all off with just the right costuming touch.

We unfortunately lost the teddy bear of Stray Dog, Jay V. Hall, last month but this production of “Bat Boy” was one that he would have loved- the usual tongue-in-cheek approach to offbeat musicals that he loved. “Bat Boy: The Musical” plays at Stray Dog Theatre through August 20th.

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Photo: Phillip Hamer

In a fitting finale to a beautiful summer of shows on the Muny stage in Forest Park, Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida”spends a dazzling week lighting up the surroundings and bringing us to Ancient Egypt. Michelle Williams is powerful in the title role as she takes over these often haunting and memorable songs. Zak Resnick is a force to be reckoned with as well as Radames.

Local favorite and super star of Broadway, Ken Page, takes a major role in the season finale as well as Nubian king, Amonasro. His commanding presence is always a welcome sight on the Muny or any other stage. Another Missouri born and bred performer, Taylor Louderman shines as Amneris and Lara Teeter also joins in the fun in the role of Pharaoh. Wonza Johnson and Patrick Cassidy round out the major cast but the usual excellent work from the ensemble is prominent in this production as well.

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Photo: Phillip Hamer

Director Matt Lenz keeps a nice pace throughout and musical director Andrew Graham gives proper due to the underrated musical score. Jon Rua’s choreography is a perfect fit and the set design of Tim Mackabee is a highlight. Nathan W. Scheuer’s lights are right on the mark and the unusual but very satisfying costume design of Robin McGee gives a fresh approach to “Aida.” This final show of the season at the Muny is one for the record books- it finishes off a very satisfying season with very few glitches in casting or procedure. We look forward to next summer.

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