The Toxic Avenger, With New Musical Glow, Opens at the Alley Theatre Jan. 20

By Adam Hetrick
20 Jan 2012

Constantine Maroulis
Constantine Maroulis
Photo by Jann Whaley

A new incarnation of the Off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Toxic Avenger, starring Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis as a nerd turned radioactive super hero, officially opens Jan. 20 at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX.

Authored by Tony Award-winning Memphis writers Joe DiPietro (book/lyrics) and David Bryan (music), The Toxic Avenger was previously seen in a 2009 Off-Broadway production. It makes its Texas premiere with new material and songs.

Tony Award-winning Urinetown director John Rando, who also staged the Off-Broadway engagement, directs the revised production that began previews Jan. 13 for a run through Feb. 12.

Maroulis (Rock of Ages) takes on the leading role of Melvin Ferd the Third, a nerdy scientist who transforms into an unlikely super hero after a dunk in toxic sludge. Tony Award nominee Nancy Opel (Urinetown, Memphis), who earned acclaim for her portrayal of Mayor Babs Belgoody in the Off-Broadway production of Toxic Avenger, returns for the Alley production.



The cast also includes Mara Davi (The Drowsy Chaperone) as Sarah, Mitchell Jarvis (Rock of Ages) as White Dude and Antoine L. Smith (Memphis) as Black Dude.

Though no official announcement has been made, a previous casting notice stated that The Toxic Avenger is eying a future Broadway life following the out-of-town engagement at the Alley Theatre.

Nancy Opel
photo by Jann Whaley

"American Idol" finalist Maroulis earned a 2009 Best Actor Tony Award nomination for portraying Drew, an aspiring musician with pipes of steel in the Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages. He originated the role in the Off-Broadway production at New World Stages in 2008. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Wedding Singer, Off-Broadway in Jacques Brel… and the national tour of Rent.

According to the Alley, "The Toxic Avenger is a zany love story and laugh-out-loud musical that has it all – an unlikely hero, his beautiful girlfriend, a corrupt New Jersey mayor, an onstage band, and two guys who play ... well, everyone else ... bullies, mobsters, old ladies, and stiletto-wearing back-up singers."

The Alley staging reunites several members of the Off-Broadway creative team, including scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer David C. Woolard and music director Doug Katsaros.

Completing the creative team are choreographer Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages), lighting designer Jason Lyons, sound designer Robert Kaplowitz, with mask design and prosthetics by Louis Zakarian, fight direction and special effects by Waldo Warshaw/Fusion Special Effects and hair and makeup design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer.

The Toxic Avenger had its 2008 world premiere at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. It began previews Off-Broadway March 18, 2009, at New World Stages, where  it ran through Jan. 3, 2010. The Toxic Avenger won the 2009 Best Off-Broadway Musical Award by the Outer Critics Circle. Rando also staged the 2009 Toronto premiere of Toxic Avenger, which starred Louise Pitre.

Tickets are available by visiting AlleyTheatre. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue in Houston, TX.