‘Reefer Madness, The Musical’ Opens at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

‘Reefer Madness, The Musical’ Opens at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

Posted Thu, Feb 21, 2008 in Articles

Lock up the youngsters, cover grandma’s eyes and batten down the hatches because the Key West Players production of “Reefer Madness, the Musical” opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Waterfront Playhouse in Mallory Square.Based on the 1936 propaganda movie, this is an outrageously twisted musical of sex, drugs and show tunes.The music, lyrics and book were the brain-child of Dan Studney (“Desperate Housewives”) and Kevin Murphy (“The Simpsons,”) who felt the campy movie was begging to be made into a musical. USA Today calls “Reefer Madness” “a delirious romp, which reaches highs of intoxicating goofiness.”The Waterfront’s Artistic Director Danny Weathers will direct the South Florida premiere of “Reefer Madness.” He has assembled a talented cast of 14 performers. Musical direction will be by Michael Fauss, with choreography by Penny Leto. Along with Weathers, this is the same creative team that produced last year’s smash hit, “Urinetown, the Musical.””Reefer Madness” tells the story of Jimmy Harper, an upstanding youth who becomes a whacked-out pot fiend after just one “toke” of the evil reefer. We first meet Jimmy and his plucky girlfriend Mary Lane (wink) at the local soda shop.Mary informs Jimmy that she’s entered them into a dance contest. There’s just one problem: Jimmy can’t dance. Enter Jack, the evil pot pusher, who trolls the soda shop for his teenage victims. Jack assures Jimmy he can teach him to dance, and brings Jimmy to his Reefer Den . . . of evil! Here he meets a group of tainted misfits and is immediately sucked into a world of weed freaks, orgies, hallucinations and brownies!The story is propelled along by the over-the-top production numbers, including the swing tune “Down At The Old Five and Dime,” ballads such as “The Stuff” and the Vegas-style “Listen To Jesus, Jimmy.”It’s an evening of singing, dancing and lung-filled pandemonium that will leave audiences laughing so hard, that their pupils will dilate. The New York Daily News says “‘Reefer Madness’ is deliberately outlandish and silly. And that’s what makes it so good.”The cast is a mind-blowing high of talent. Jimmy is played by Marc Crow, who recently moved from Fort Lauderdale where he did “West Side Story” and “Les Miserables.”His girlfriend Mary Lane is played by Kristen Bussiere, who was imported for this role, but has also been seen locally in “Bat Boy” at the Barn and last year’s “Follies” Pops concert.David Black (“The Best Man,” “Educating Rita,” “Urinetown”) plays the narrator, who has created this play within a play featuring himself as a multitude of characters.Denis Hyland (“Rocky Horror Show,” “Equus,” “The Nutcracker Key West’) plays Jack the super smooth proprietor of the Reefer Den, with Mary Falconer (“The Best Man,” “Urinetown,” “Jeffrey”) playing Mae the long-suffering hostess of the Den. Nulita Loder (“Urinetown,” “My Way,” “Little Shop of Horrors”) plays Sally, the seductive Reefer Slut, and Michael Aaglan (“The Best Man” and many New York credits) plays Ralph, a former fraternity man who’s become a giggling reefer addict. Kristen Wilson (“Urinetown,” “The Best Man,” “Bat Boy”) plays the Placard Girl who parades lessons to be learned from imbibing in too much ganja. The ensemble is a collection of incredible musical theater performers playing a multitude of roles: Reefer Zombies, high school kids, dancing angels, jungle dancers, etc.) They include Laura Chaneski (who has been imported especially for this production,) Carolyn Cooper (“Urinetown,” “Bat Boy,” “Rocky Horror Show,”) Christine Marguerite (“Rocky Horror Show,” Burlesque,) Rhett Kalman (a member of Actors’ Equity who’s New York credits include “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” and a recent Spike Lee film,) Scott Shambaugh (“the Times,” “The Laramie Project” “Chicago”) and Phil Tabb (“Urinetown,” “Bark!” “Bat Boy.”)The Reefer Madness’ band includes Michael Fauss (conductor-keyboards,) George Hemunds (woodwinds,) Chris Buchard (electric guitar,) Jim Wist (bass,) and Max Zemanovic (percussion.)The Waterfront’s Michael Boyer will create the spectacular set, with Kim Hanson designing the lighting. Their credits include “The Best Man,” “Urinetown,” and “Nutcracker Key West.” Leigh Hooten (“Urinetown,” “Bat Boy”) will design the over-the-top costumes. Allen Gallant is designing the sound, Scott Zimmerman is creating the props and Lisa Alderdice is the stage manager. “Reefer Madness” opened in 1999 in Los Angeles for what was to have been a two week run. Instead, it played to packed houses for over a year and a half. It won all of the major theatrical awards in Los Angeles, and eventually played Off-Broadway.In 2004, it was made into a Showtime movie starring Alan Cumming, Christian Campbell and Kristen Bell. Audiences are advised that “Reefer Madness” is a highly-stylized show that contains adult humor, suggested violence, sexual situations, religious parody and simulated marijuana use. It may prove too shocking for the conservative-minded!Tickets for “Reefer Madness” cost $35, or $20 with a student or college ID, and may be purchased through the box office at 305-294-5015, or online at www.waterfrontplayhouse.com.For information on the locals’ special, call the box office.A gala opening night party will be sponsored by Christopher Elwell of Royal Furniture, with catering by Great Events.

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