Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Rudolph is Coming and He is PISSED
I have to give a shout out to something that won't mean anything to those of you who don't live in Milwaukee - but like our wonderful local Night of the Living Dead Puppet Show - it's just another reason I'm glad I live in this city.
Even if you are from around these parts, unless you're one of the lucky people already holding tickets to this weekend's last bunch of shows, I'm sorry to say you're out of luck. In fact, if you are holding a ticket, you're among the elite, since this tiny theater located in the Alchemist Theater and Lounge only holds 50 people. In fact, the Alchemist asks that ticket holders show up at least 20 minutes early - getting there late could mean that they sold your ticket to someone on the waiting list. Yes, there's a waiting list - because this show is worth it.
When I heard about this show last year, I knew I had to see it. I'm a HUGE Rankin/Bass fan, as I've said many times, so I dragged the P.Cash along to see it with me. Even though he claims to never have seen the original Animagic special (Really? It's been on TV every FRIGGIN year since 1964....so go figure), he still liked it. But I still think that being familiar with the Rankin/Bass version and Sam the Snowman, Hermie the Elf, the mean skinny Santa, and Rudolph's completely unsupportive parents make the play that much better. So this year I went with a friend and loaned her my DVD so she could refresh her memory.
I thought it'd be fun a second time, but what I didn't anticipate was that it would be even better. Most of the cast has returned, and while they were fantastic last year, they've completely honed their characters and are completely friggin' AWESOME this year. (And the caramel appletinis they serve at the bar are pretty damn good too!)
Especially outstanding are Joel Boyd as Rudolph and Jeremy Eineichner as Sam the Snowman. My friend who attended the show with me put it best: Boyd is nuanced beyond his years. The kid is 15? 16? and is amazing. In fact, the whole cast is completely downright incredible - not only are their impersonations of such well known characters spot -on, the comedic timing (and improvisation) is just, well, it's killer.
So unless you are able to bribe someone to give up their tickets (and it'd be worth it if you could), you're going to have to wait and hope that the pissed off reindeer comes back for round three next year. Additionally - the director announced that a Kenosha theater group has purchased the rights to the play and they'll be performing it next year as well. Just as I said about NOLTD Puppet Show, I think this show deserves to be seen all over the country, and I hope that next year's shows end up in it being purchased to play in even more places.
So while you probably can't see it this year - start counting down for the next holiday season and put the Alchemist Theater on your radar. (I also saw their Dracula play last October and that was pretty spectacular as well) This is definitely a theater I'll be keeping my eye on in the years to come.
Here's a brief YouTube clip filled with scenes from the play - unfortunately I think it's a little too hectic and I think it could have done without the background music - but it'll still give you some idea of what they're doing. I believe it's from last year's performances: