Musical Theatre Blog: Dark Musicals and Kerry Butler

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

I sing in a vocal ensemble that deals in predominantly singing musical theatre. It’s one of the reasons i joined the group. I love choral singing and I love musical theatre.

Throughout the 2 and a half years that I have been involved with the group, we have hit a lot of music I love, and music that i like, and music I’m not so crazy about.

In the fall of 2013 we did a Halloween show, and all of our music focused on some creepy, dark, music. This was a really good learning show for me. There were some things that I knew really well, like Wicked, and some things I only had a vague grasp of, like Batboy: The Musical.

One of the catchiest songs that I had the pleasure of singing was “Cabin in the Woods” from the musical ‘Evil Dead: the Musical’. Evil Dead is based on the 1981 cult classic starring Bruce Campbell. I cant claim to be a connoisseur of cult films, unfortunately that will have to be another blog, but the musical, is super fun! That number will still get stuck in my head. Its that catchy! The show itself was actually never on Broadway, but has had a great life after its Off-Broadway run at New World Stages. There has been tons of semi-professional, and amateur performances all over North America, and even a tour.

I was actually surprised at how much Batboy: the Musical did not do anything for me. I know the local college in my hometown did it and other than that I had heard of this show a few times while being in and around community theatre and the insane premise of a Weekly World News article being turned into a stage musical just doesn't go unnoticed.

We sang “Hold Me, Batboy” which is a good opening for the show, there’s lots of exposition in it, lots of good belty one liners. The music and lyrics are even written by a favorite of mine, Laurence O’Keefe, who is also known for an ABSOLUTE favorite of mine: Legally Blonde: the Musical, as well as the brand new, not so well received off-Broadway show Heathers: The Musical (I have only heard a few numbers from this, and I liked them)

I should remain fully transparent in the fact that I have still yet to see full productions of Batboy: the Musical, and Evil Dead: the Musical. I'm sure my opinion may change if I see it as the producers intend.

One of the best things that came out of the Halloween show was we did two numbers from Little Shop of Horrors, "Suddenly Seymour" and "Don't Feed the Plants".

What a fun musical.

I had the pleasure of Assistant Directing that show, and learning how to run a sound board come show time for it as well. I almost had to go on for Seymour once when our actor got stuck in Missouri, but we had cancelled the show instead, so I am very intimately familiar with that show.

Most people are familiar with the 1986 B-Movie starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, (and a then rising comedic superstar Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello) which, is in its own right, a fantastic musical film. It also stars Tisha Campbell (of Martin fame) as Chiffon, one of the Street Urchins, and probably my favorite part in the musical.

I want to loop back to Batboy, in that Kerry Butler played Shelly in Batboy, and she played Audrey in the 2003 revival of Little Shop of Horrors (my personal favorite version), playing opposite Hunter Foster.

I love Kerry Butler, she is one of my favorite performers, and she will come up a lot on this blog! Also, Hunter Foster is the brother to another Broadway powerhouse: Sutton Foster. #fangirling

I also CAN'T NOT (love me a double negative) mention the recent Encores! Revival of Little Shop of Horrors, which brought back the original (off-Broadway, and film) Audrey, Ellen Greene, as well as Jake frickin’ Gyllenhaal as Seymour and another rising comedic superstar, Taran Killam of SNL fame as Orin. I have read in many articles and fan postings that the show was superb.

What about you? Are you a fan of Little Shop of Horrors? Do you enjoy darker musical theatre? Let me know!

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