A gutted former auto showroom will serve as the cave and environs for the DC premiere of Bat Boy, the musical, being produced by the Secondstage of the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, Nov. 14-Dec. 8.
The show's capital premiere marks the first performance in an historic building purchased by the edgy Off-Broadway style resident theatre. Not fully renovated as a conventional theatre, the former showroom building is considered a kind of "found space" for the gritty Bat Boy staging, and will seat about 100 in a general admission environment.
Eventually, pending approval from an historical commission, the buildings will be renovated to be part of a major reconstruction at the Studio Theatre. A spokesperson for the theatre said $6 million of a needed $9.5 million has been raised toward the new complex that will link existing and recently-acquired buildings in the neighborhood that was once known for its auto dealerships.
Bat Boy, the cult hit that played Los Angeles and (in a revised version) Off-Broadway is now migrating to regional theatres. According to the Theatre Communications Group, the darkly comic show about a teen who is half-human, half-bat, will get eight stagings at professional regional theatres in 2002-03, making it the seventh most-produced show in the regions this year (in a tie with The Drawer Boy and Lobby Hero). The show was penned by playwrights Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, with songs by Laurence O'Keefe.
Patrick O'Neill, a bachelor of music student at Catholic University, plays the title role of the tortured bat boy, discovered in a West Virginia cave. Buzz Mauro is the town veterinarian, whose wife (Lauri Kraft) and daughter (Tara Giordano) take a shine to him. The musical is inspired by stories that ran in the supermarket tabloid, Weekly World News. Mike Chamberlin directs the staging, with choreography by Michael Bobbitt. Daniel Sticco is the musical director. Opening night is Nov. 17.
The DC company includes Mark Bush, Terry Crummitt, Kate Debelack, Carlos Offutt, Doug Sanford and Megan Touey. Designers are John Raley (set), Colin K. Bills (lighting), Michelle Reisch (costumes), Jeff Poretsky (sound) and Eleanor Gomberg (properties).
Tickets are $30. The Studio Theatre is at 1333 P Street, NW, on the northeast corner of 14th and P streets. For information, call (202) 332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
— By Kenneth Jones