It’s a hit! That hits you where it counts most. In the funny bone. The Legend of Julie-Taymor or The Musical That Killed Everybody! Book and Lyrics by Travis Ferguson – Music and Lyrics by Dave Ogrin is a fast and furious ninety minute romp with a delightful score that takes a bull’s eye aim and hits it dead center at the real life saga of Taymor’s “vision” for the Bono scored Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark – from contract signing to preview to still running and making millions hit fiasco – and turns it into a Forbidden Broadway type musical feast.
If its creators have fashioned this razor sharp satirical musical in only six weeks as noted they should be hard at work on another as The Legend of Julie-Taymor is sure to have an extended life Off B’way in the near future.
Wearing a black fright wig the immensely talented Jennifer Barnhart portrays Julie Paymore in all her egomaniacal, power hungry, domineering glory. Fresh from exile and with a Broadway hit under her belt – “The Lion Cub” her “vision” for a musical version of “Spider-Dude” will be unlike any other musical ever produced and cost a fortune. To write the music the lead producer gets Bruno (a terrific, heavily accented Clint Carter) a rock concert star who insists that “she who must not be named” be the director. The show is chock full of these delicious details.
Hot on their heels is reporter Lionel Weasel (Christopher Davis Carlisle) working at The Daily Rialto, secretly interviewing his mole in the show – Billy the stunt stand in for Spider-Dude (Barry Shafrin) to get the behind the scenes, back stabbing story. The delays. The injuries. The debt. The Geek chorus?
The props are all cardboard cutouts. Perfect for the cartoon like production wonderfully directed and choreographed by Joe Barros.
No one could make this story up. It would be too unbelievable. But the true saga of Spider-Man created a must see event for tourists worldwide. Waiting to see who might be next to fall from the sky sold lots of tickets.
The creative team has taken all this juicy material and run with it. Making up some back stories to fill in the missing motives of all those involved and a terrific finale with a score that is tuneful, fun and inspired. “Tweet,Tweet,Tweet” is a knockout number as is “The Greatest” that has Paymore manipulating an injured Billy as a marionette – brilliant! And “Julie’s Turn” that makes fresh an idea that has already been used to death.
Appearing in multiple roles Johnnie Moore, Michael Titone, Kiley L. McDonald, Lynn Craig and Shaun Rice all add to the hysterical mayhem.
But it is the tour-de-force performance of Jennifer Barnhart, a combination of Kathleen Turner, Janis Joplin and “she who must not be named” – a performer who has impeccable comic timing and a powerhouse voice that drives this show into the stratosphere, creating her own legend in the process.
It shouldn’t be missed.
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