Bat Boy Spotted North of the Border in Canadian Premiere

News   Bat Boy Spotted North of the Border in Canadian Premiere Bat Boy, the Musical makes its Canadian premiere Feb. 9-April 16 at the Bathurst Street Theatre in Toronto.

Written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe, the tragic-comic musical ripped from the headlines of The Weekly World News tabloid (the title character is half bat, half boy!) has been seen Off-Broadway, in London and in regional theatres throughout the U.S. John Landis is developing a film version.

Michael McGinn directs the Canadian production. The cast features Jay T. Schramek (as Bat Boy), best known for his portrayal as Pepper in Toronto's Mamma Mia! and Laura Caswell (as Shelley, Bat Boy's love interest), a regular on the stage of The Second City.

Following previews, opening is set for Feb. 22. An eight-week run has been announced, but there is a room for an extension if the show proves to be a cult hit, a spokesperson said.

The show being staged in Toronto is the original script and score heard at Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre (a cast album preserves the work of that first company). The subsequent London production (also recorded) used new songs and revisions (it closed Jan. 15). Deven May starred in both New York and London.

* According to production notes, "Discovered in the caves of West Virginia by three teenagers, Bat Boy struggles to find a place in a world that shuns him, and discovers that love can create both miracles and madness. But things are not always as they seem. Taken in by a family that adores and despises him, Bat Boy attempts to make the transformation into a respectable citizen. With love on the horizon an unexpected twist sets into action a chain of events that forever changes his life."

In Toronto, David Rosser plays Dr. Parker, the villainous veterinarian; Jayne Lewis as his wife, Meredith Parker; Shawn Wright as the Sheriff; Jenni Burke as the Reverend; with Cara Leslie (as Ron), Graham Coffeng (as Rick) and Steven Gallagher (as Ruthie), the three teenagers who discover Bat Boy hiding in the caves; and Duff MacDonald as Pan.

The staging is produced by Hot Feat Productions Inc., a Toronto based company dedicated to introducing and producing "cutting-edge plays and musicals in Canada." Bat Boy's producers are Morris Berchard, associate producer Marlene Smith and executive producer Donald C. Farber.

Designers are Glenn Davidson (set), Bonnie Beecher (lighting), Joanne Dente (costume) and Keith Hardegord (sound). Choreography is by Kerry Gage.

Musical director is Bob Foster.

Bathurst Street Theatre is at 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Performances play Monday-Saturday at 8 PM (Saturday matinees begin Feb. 26 at 2 PM).

Tickets range $20-$55. For information, call TicketMaster at (416) 872-5555 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca or www.batboy.ca.