Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog a smash hit at Balagan Theatre

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was a smash hit this summer at Balagan Theatre. A three-week run starting Aug. 20 completely sold out, as did an extended series of late-night performances, including two this weekend that had to be canceled because of illness.

Weisenheimer admits to a growing chasm of cultural literacy. While most everyone about was all ga-ga about the prospect of Dr. Horrible on stage, I had no idea what anybody was talking about. If you were with me in that boat, it turns out the original Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was created in 2008 as an Internet flick. Joss Whedon, creator of the television version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer among other hits, his brothers Zack and Jed, and actress Maurissa Tancharoen wrote it during the WGA writer's strike. The film starred Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day. You can find the videos all over the 'net these days.

The Balagan version was directed by Eric Ankrim, who also played the title role. Jake Groshong played Captain Hammer, and Annie Jantzer starred as Penny, their mutual love interest. All three were fabulous, as were the entire cast.

Jake Groshong as Capt. Hammer throttles
Eric Ankrim as Dr. Horrible in Balagan
Theatre's production of
Dr. Horrible's
Sing-Along Blog.
Photo: Tartan Photography.
Despite the fact that the original was an Internet sensation, the Balagan team was able to resist the temptation to go too wild with technology in the play, though the webcam and projection screen were inspired centerpieces to the relatively spare set. They also added some new musical numbers to the show, which those familiar with the originals say are faithful to the style of the online version.

Weisenheimer made a cameo appearance as "the mayor" on the opening night of the run, which was coincidentally my birthday. Fortunately, this had little negative impact on future ticket sales.

If you missed it, don't be too sad. It's likely Balagan will bring it back at a new location soon. Stay tuned to the theater's website or the Dr. H Facebook page for news.

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