Into the woods and wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, where Bigfoot aka the Sasquatch – Arthur (a believably human and centered T.J. Mannix) has been sited by a local dim witted camper and guzzler of beer Bert (Ryan Dietz), treks a television crew Chaz (Chris Gleim), Dakota (Laura Oldham) and cameraman (Jonathan Silver) seeking fame and fortune as are the keepers of the local bar – Zeke (Don Meehan) and his wife Thelma (Leasen Beth Almquist) who even go so far as to disguise themselves as fellow Sasquatchers – thinking if they find and film Bigfoot, tourists will flock to the area.
Also trekking onto the Pearl Theatre Stage where Sasquatched! The Musical is being presented as part of New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) ‘s 10th season is Sam (a fine Cole Canzano) the overprotected son of Cindy (Leslie Henstock) and Jim (Billy Clark Taylor) – a son who escapes and gets lost during one of the better numbers of the show “Helicopter Parents Are We”. He’s not the only one who gets lost.
Then we have Pat the Park Ranger (a delightfully spunky Laura Daniel) with a powerhouse presence and voice who meets in Act II a Seismologist Chris (Patrick John Moran – who might just be perfect for The Book of Morman). Sparks fly between these two.
As you can see there are lots of silly plot lines to follow – mostly inhabited by cartoon characters. But the heart of the show is the meeting and bonding and understanding between Bigfoot and Sam – which if better developed might enable this musical to have some legs. Bigfoot is civilized, well spoken and kind and helps Sam to find his parents. And that’s nice.
What’s not so nice is the basic, generic, hodgepodge of songs. Noble intentions do not a hit musical make. Basic rhymes, with the emphasis on the wrong syllable are rampant. The lyrics are rudimentary and repetitious to the point of distraction. In an attempt to make the show a commentary on musical theatre – a tangent that should be avoided here “Rhubarb” just plain interfered with the story and made a long show even longer. An Act II farcical chase didn’t help either. The music is a variety of styles with an emphasis on what is best described as “thumping…”
There are a lot of nice touches by director Donald Brenner who has a knack for making the musical numbers entertaining with some basic dance steps that are cute and clever and fun.
Phil Darg is responsible for book, music and lyrics. No new ground has been broken. With a lot more work – especially in editing the material down to one act, Mr. Darg might make Sasquatched! The Musical memorable for the right reasons.
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