Showing posts with label Psycho Beach Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psycho Beach Party. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

You're Invited to a Party, a Psycho Beach Party!

By Mona Lott

“Come stoned to this show,” Krystal Jackson yells out as the cast enthusiastically discusses what makes Psycho Beach Party worth coming to and responds to my question about how to sell it. The answers leading up to that comic outburst were more practical, telling me that the show is a “great laugh” and full of wonderful characters and “gender bender fun.” Admittedly that’s enough to get this drag queen to buy a ticket, but as I got to chat more with the director Stephen Tangedal and his lively, charming cast I was impressed at just how many other reasons there are to go see this show when it opens at The Crossroads Theater on Thursday, July 9.

Psycho Beach Party is a play by Charles Busch that spoofs those Gidget-led movies of the 1960’s and then tosses in some Hitchcock type thrills on top. Chicklet as played by Anthony Adu in this production is the leader of this romp on the beach and sports a very blonde wig as if to say "Barbie has arrived!" Of course this Barbie has multiple personalities and issues that Gidget never had to face. Tangedal, with a wink, remarks that every one of the cast members was typecast in this show even though that remark was followed by several, “not me” utterances from the cast. Truth be told though, when I walked into the room and was asked by Adu, “What character do you think I’m playing?” I immediately answered, “I’m guessing Chicklet.” 

I can spot a drag performer from a mile away! 

I’m assuming anyone could spot Hektor Munoz who plays Chicklet’s mother, Mrs. Forrest. Munoz stands (and I’m guessing) at six feet five inches and is desperately trying to get his hands on a pair of women’s size 18 pumps! When asked about how the drag roles have influenced this show, the cast was quick to reply that it’s just like playing any other character. Adu made a point of explaining that he has tried to find the truth in the character and is playing her as a real woman and working at not just being a boy in drag.

I knew after that answer that this cast is not just having fun, but are truly putting a lot of heart into the show. It was easy to see that they have a love for the characters and for each other with an assortment of answers to the question of who they would like to play if they weren’t playing the character that they are cast as. In true “Show Girls” fashion Daniel Wheeler who plays Yo Yo pointed a rigid finger at Adu and blurted out how he wanted to play Chicklet and had previously auditioned for the role several times. I warned Wheeler not to take the stairs when Adu is around. Ironically, the only male member of the cast who has never tried drag, Todd Moore, who is cast as Star Cat, was at ease with the honesty of admitting that he would like to play Mrs. Forrest. With a list of characters as diverse as the actual cast of this show, I could imagine them all spinning a wheel to determine just who they would play each night and an audience that would come back every time to see the mix.

Tangedal previously directed this show over twenty years ago and in his cast then was Shelly Bordas. Bordas, as Tangedal fondly remembers, was a much-loved member of the Denver theater community who lost her battle with breast cancer last January. Bordas’ young son will benefit from two added performances on July 24th and 25th with proceeds going towards his college fund. When asked why he decided to direct this show again, Tangedal mentioned Bordas and stated that he thought it was time to laugh again and to just have fun. It was obvious that this show holds a special memory of Bordas for Tangedal and her presence is sure to be felt during these added performances.

The remaining performances benefit the The Denver Element a part of Mile High Behaviorial Healthcare. The Denver Element states on their webpage that, “Our work, while building community, is to reduce the transmission of HIV through education of the gay and bi men in Denver on HIV stigma, Status Disclosure and Intimacy.” 

Cast member Anthony Fay spoke very eloquently detailing all the added services that The Denver Element includes, like social events and assistance for gay men with drug habits. Fay is doing double duty in the show as the assistant director and the character, Provoloney and was quick to add to the discussion of why people should come to this show, “It’s only ten bucks!”

Considering all the people who will benefit from this campy delight and the sheer evening of summertime joy and laughter that Tangedal and his cast are sure to deliver, the reasonable price point is only a small part of why people should come to this show. A bigger part of why to see this show is the camp and fun of reliving those beach blanket romps and the over the top, bigger than life characters being played out in gender bender style and the opportunity to try and figure out the mystery of “whodunnit.” And it that doesn’t influence you, there is an Opening Night luau on Friday July 10th with food and the possibility of getting lei’d! 

Psycho Beach Party runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday at Crossroads Theatre, 2590 Washington Street July 9th through the 25th with a special Cast Benefit Night on Tuesday July 21st. Tickets can be purchased in advance at here or at the box office.