Attention Wagnerians: this is your last chance to catch Das Barbecu, the wacky 1991 spoof of Richard Wagner operas by Luigs & Scott Warrender, playing at Maine's Portland Stage through Aug. 3. Barbecu is directed by Jonathan Moscone, associate artistic director of Dallas Theatre Center.
Not only does Das Barbecu boast five actors playing thirty characters, not only does the show offer country-western versions of Wagnerian ditties, but the theatre has air-conditioning -- a big deal, since it allows Portland Stage to be a year-`round theatre for the first time in its history. "We look forward to expanding to a full summer season in 1998," said co-artistic director Anita Stewart.
Commissioned by Seattle Opera in 1991, Das Barbecu played Off Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in 1994. Like its counterparts in "Der Ring Des Nibelungen," Das Barbecu tells of lovers Siegfried and Brunnhilde who seek happiness, love and a magical ring of gold.
Songs in the spoof include "Makin' Guacamole," "If Not Fer You," "Hog-Tie Your Man" and "Barbecue For Two."
(Note: Unfortunately, Playbill On-Line is not able to put umlauts over the letter "u" in German transliterations, as on "Barbecu" and "Brunnhilde." Readers are encouraged to sprinkle them at will throughout this story -- and, for that matter, any other story where umlauts would add a little spice.) Author Luigs also penned Second Wind, winner of the 1992 Texas Playwrights Festival. Composer/lyricist Warrender composed the Off Broadway revue, Living Color and Seattle Rep's Texas Chainsaw Manicurist.
Designing Das Barbecu are the theatre's co-artistic directors, Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Anita Stewart (costumes). Starring in the show are Ted Davey (Siegfried) , Ann Harada, Liz Piazza Kelley (Brunnhilde), Charis Leos and Bruce Ward (Wotan).
For tickets ($19-$29) and information on Das Barbecu, which opened July 10 at Portland Stage on Forest Avenue, call (207) 774-0465.
--By David Lefkowitz