What happens when a half-boy, half-bat comes out of his cave and into the lives of a small West Virginia town? The answer is the dark comedy of 'Bat Boy: The Musical,' being presented by the Westfield High School Theatre Department on Thursday, March 14; Friday, March 15; and Saturday, March 16. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage of Westfield High School, located at 550 Dorian Road.
Inspired by an infamous 1992 article in the Weekly World News tabloid, the show tells the story of Edgar, a fanged, pointy-eared "Bat Boy" who is discovered living in a cave.
Edgar's attempts to renounce his bloodthirsty nature -- and find love and acceptance within the community -- lead to some shocking and wickedly funny consequences.
The role of Edgar will be played by Matthew Lynn. Geoffrey Ko and Isabelle Smelkinson play local veterinarian Dr. Thomas Parker and his wife, Meredith, who take Edgar into their home and attempt to civilize him. Michaela Tropeano plays the Parker's rebellious teenage daughter, Shelley, who ends up falling in love with Edgar.
Director Daniel Devlin, the theatre teacher at WHS, has described 'Bat Boy: The Musical' as "kind of like Sweeney Todd meets 'Avenue Q' meets 'Book of Mormon' (with an outstanding Rocky Horror-inspired score). However, Devlin stressed that the show is more than just a spoof of the horror-film genre.
"Its themes and messages delve into important societal issues, including bullying, tolerance and acceptance of others," he said.
"It's so exciting to share the lessons that his story has to offer with the audience," said Lynn, who played the title role in last year's musical, 'Pippin.'
Lynn said being part of the school's theatrical productions has been the highlight of his high school experience. "The Westfield High School theatre department is not just a department; it is a family," he said.
Westfield High School's Theatre Department has a reputation for excellence. With winning in eight categories, Pippin was the top winner at the 2012 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards -- more than any other school in the state. In 2011, Westfield High School's production of 'Sweeney Todd' won nine Paper Mill awards, including outstanding overall production. 'Bat Boy: The Musical' also features Will Cary, Allie Hecht and Jack Ritter as Rick, Ruthie and Ron Taylor, the three local teenagers who first discover the Bat Boy; Megan Mulrooney plays their mother, Mrs. Taylor, who leads a crusade against Edgar. In addition, the show features Fraser Weist as Sheriff Reynolds, Taylor Jackson as Rev. Billy Hightower, and Jack Mustard as the Greek god Pan.
Maggie Tanji plays Lorraine, and is also the show's dance captain. 'Bat Boy: The Musical' also features Nicole Zimmermann as Maggie; Jackie Daaleman as Daisy; Jack Venezia as Mr. Dillon, Frank Guerriero as Bud, Robert Romano as Ned, J.D. Kelly as Roy, Dan Connolly as Clem; Colin Barry as a doctor, and Michael Poyntz as "The Institute Man."
Ensemble members include Marissa Alvarez, Elena Arida, Megan Ariola, Sarah Boyle, Catherine Bruno, Bianca Buecklers, Celia Childs, Daniel Coelho, Claire Dorwart, Lauren Echausse, Alex Frisch, Marisa Garrity, Liz Griesmer, Victoria Guerriero, Madeline Hudelson, Christopher Ick, Jack Kirkland, Michael Kirkland, Katherine Ko, Caity Meixner, Julian Mone, Jeremias Olivera, Abbie Paone, Megan Pinna, Molly Prybylski, Madeleine Rosenthal, Kim Roth and Jessica Zimmermann.
This production's musical director is John Brzozowski, Director of Choral Music at WHS; music is performed by student musicians. WHS art teacher Roy Chambers is the advisor for the student set design team.
Many students play lead roles in the "behind the scenes" production. Lydia Oquendo is the stage manager, and set design is led by Emma Tabachnick and Alison Simon. Geneva Gleason is head of costumes. Alexa Derman and Asher Horowitz, both 2012 Paper Mill Rising Star Award winners, are back onboard to lead the effort in hair and makeup, and lobby decoration. Horowitz also designed the show's poster.
Seating for 'Bat Boy: The Musical' can be reserved at $12 each by emailing WHStickets@Westfieldnjk12.org or calling 908-884-1866. Because
Westfield High School shows often sell out, advanced purchases are recommended; tickets not sold in advance will be available for sale at the door on the evening of the performance.
Please note that some of the show's content and imagery, although comedic and intended as a nod to several classic "B" horror films, may be inappropriate for younger children.