"Reefer Madness: The Musical
Theatre on the Square
Directed by Ron Spencer
Through May 20
Theatre on the Square’s super-campy show Reefer Madness: The Musical opened, oh so appropriately, on 4/20. And at intermission, there were more people out smoking — cigarettes, of course — than I have ever seen. Also oh so appropriate.
The show is a melodramatic recreation of the fall of a bright, all-American boy to the awesome, Satanic evils of marijuana in 1936. The mood of the show is akin to Urinetown in its send-up of musicals and sincerity. From the chick in a tutu striding, stone faced, across the stage holding signs bearing warnings against reefer, to Jesus yanking himself off the cross to sing about himself, to a grass-skirt-infested hallucination that includes a giant hookah (what are they lacing their stuff with?!), the show is a riotous send-up of the overblown reaction government has had towards the “threat” of marijuana.
Tony Schaab as the ganja victim is a great sport with an even better voice. At one point, he is stripped down to a (tiny) leaf and black socks. Abbey Rose Cochran as his ditzy blond sweetheart Mary Lane is just as good. Under vocal and music director Jeannie Logan they are the vocal stars of the show. Phillip Armstrong plays Jack, the creepy wacky tobacky pusher, and the singing Jesus. While he is excellent in character, Friday night’s show was sadly plagued by mike issues that made his songs incomprehensible. Rounding out the main cast are Nathalie Cruz, Rebecca DeVries and Luke McConnell, doobie heads who stick close to Jack and make for creative supporting characters. Dan Flahive as the Lecturer (narrator) is fine in character but hit, or rather missed, notes to such an extent that I cringed.
Director (and choreographer — who knew!) Ron Spencer’s show is packed full of potential, but needs just a little more work to make it tight. The live band rocked, though.
Reefer Madness: The Musical continues through May 20. Call TOTS, 627 Massachusetts Ave., at 317-685-TOTS for tickets, $25.