Head: The Musical is Pure, Horrifying Joy at Soul Invictus
Fandom being what it is, some of you may miss Mystery Science Theater 3000 more than I do, but I doubt you could've enjoyed it more than I did. Surely one of the series' finest film features was The Brain That Wouldn't Die, and it turns out the only thing that could have made it better was turning it into a live musical.
Charles Sohn He should've listened to his girlfriend's severed head.
All you need to know ahead of time is this. All that remains is to say how very, very wonderful the show is, so let's get started.
Head showed a few years back at the Phoenix Fringe Festival under the title Head: A Symphony of Horror. It was created, along with another fringey, culty tuner, Dial S for Stripper, by a local writer who currently goes by Ivo Shandor (yes, like in Ghostbusters), and I've found no compelling reason to use his other name. Shandor is kind of a genius with lyrics, structure, and wringing genuine human emotion out of the weirdest and crazy funniest stuff.
The accompaniment for this production of Head is an uncredited recording that does what uncredited recorded accompaniment should -- it supports the unamplified, multi-hat-wearing vocalists, who are freaking amazing, without calling attention to itself. Curtains has caught some of these actor-singers before, and they just keep getting better. Director Franc Gaxiola was super-lucky to get, in particular, the captivating Eric Boudreau (from Zanna, Don't!) and Rachel Morgan (an ASU Musical Theatre student with near-operatic chops) as the two pathetic yet powerful victims of mad scientist (and very good doctor) Bill Cortner Jr. (played with entirely plausible comic hubris by Matthew Harris).
Jo Anna Larson's penny-pinching costumes -- perfect. Rachel Cohen's itty-bitty choreography -- perfect. Sandy Leon's casual deformity -- perfect. The balance of goofy and sincere -- you guessed it, perfect.
If you can get a ticket ($20), you must go! (Unless you're not a grownup, because this is as filthy as only the debauched early 1960s, combined with this century's tendency to sing swear words on the beat at the top of one's voice, can be.)
Head: The Musical continues through Saturday, January 29, at Soul Invictus Gallery and Cabaret, 1022 Grand Avenue. If you can't access the ticket-ordering link above, you'll have to take your chances at the door.