Mullets and Martial Arts: Road House, Inspired by the Movie, Starts Off-Bway Dec. 9

By Kenneth Jones
09 Dec 2003

Taimak, star of Road House
Taimak, star of Road House
Photo by Nick Andrews

Road House, the caffeinated stage version of the Patrick Swayze movie, jumps from its test-run staging Off Off-Broadway to a limited run Off-Broadway Dec. 9.

The Barrow Street Theatre becomes home to producer adapter-director Timothy Haskell's campy or, if you prefer, "deconstructed" and "heightened" fight-fest, which stars martial arts master Taimak Guarriello in the role made famous in the 1989 movie starring Patrick Swayze.

After its sold-out four-week engagement at La Tea, Road House: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80's Cult Classic "The Last Dragon" Wearing a Blonde Mullet Wig (its full title) will open anew Dec. 14 after previews. Performances play to Feb. 8, 2004, unless another extension warrants it (the Barrow Street is booked with another show after Feb. 8, so a move would have to happen).

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A fistful of good reviews greeted the campy show, which uses video and fight choreography and the aforementioned blonde mullett wig.



"Road House," the movie, was packed with fistfights instead of musical numbers. For those of you who were hoping Road House might be a musical starring Carol Channing, move on.

Seeming to take a page from the populist programming seen at the New York International Fringe Festival, producers Timothy Haskell, Tanya Bershadsky and Michael Voyer in association with Andrea Ciannavei presented Road House beginning Oct. 30 on the Lower East Side, and word of mouth and good reviews spread.

"I have no intention of 'camping' this up," Haskell previously told Playbill On-Line. "The film on stage, trust me, will be enough. Although, there will be some distinct stylistic choices, this is not a musical, we're calling it a 'brawlsical'... Trust me, I know what kind of film this is. I want to get to the bottom of why so many seemingly smart people can quote lines from this film."

(Following its earlier run, the term "fightsical" is being used to describe the show.)

Road House, the stage version, "is a deconstructed, and comical, version of this modern day western B-movie from 1989," according to production notes. "It's about an internationally revered bouncer hired to clean up a small town dive only to get sucked into the local politics, biting off more than he can chew...or has he?"

The production is billed as "completely kinetic" with chase scenes, explosions and action being created on miniature sets with a videographer filming and projecting live images on a large screen. Foley artists are will create sound effects live on stage.

Timothy Haskell directs and adapts the screenplay, which is a word-for-word lift of the script, with some scenes deleted.

"I think 'Road House' fans will really dig this but if they go thinking they are going to see the movie on stage, they won't get that," he told Playbill On-Line. "I'm taking the character archetypes the hero, the bad guy, the slut, the stupid girlfriend dependent on the hero, the 'gay' villain and heightening them with the intention of how ridiculous they are. I'm spoofing why these elements work in a movie."

Taimak Guarriello (pronounced "tie mock") is a martial arts master (seventh-degree black belt), a New York state kickboxing champion, personal trainer to Madonna (and was the martial arts coordinator on her "Drowned World Tour"), and played Bruce LeeRoy in the '80s cult classic "The Last Dragon."

The cast also includes Jamie Benge, Christopher Joy, Harry Listig, Lucia Burns, Kellie Montanio, Nick Ahrens, Laura Baggett, Ago the Magichef, Rolando Zuniga, Rachael Roberts and Brian Kantrowitz.

The creative team includes Taimak Guarriello (fight choreography), Rebeca Ramirez (choreography) and designers Paul Smithyman (set), Angela Sierra (lighting), Huck Dill (wigs) and Mark Cannistraro (sound).

Barrow Street Theatre (a newly renovated space that used to be the Greenwich House, home to Drama Dept.) is at 27 Barrow Street at Seventh Avenue.

Road House performances play Wednesdays Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 5:30 and 9:30 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets are $19.89-$40 and can be purchased by calling SmartTix at (212) 868-4444 or at www.smarttix.com.

For more information call (212) 243-6262.