Correction: The original headline for this article contained an error. The name of the production is “Geeks! The Musical.”
The stereotypical “geek” usually brings to mind glasses, suspenders and pocket protectors. Less frequently mentioned are the Star Trek obsessions, Batman zeal and comic book collections, but when these interests convene in “Geeks! The Musical!,” an explanation for what it means to be a true geek becomes apparent and works to bring out the audience’s own dorky affections.
Directed by Bennett Cohon and produced by Anne Mesa, “Geeks! The Musical!” entertains its audience with the endeavors and occurrences that a comic book convention presents for a slew of nerds.
Set at San Diego’s annual Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic book and popular arts convention, the audience is taken through the characters’ romantic encounters and heavy realizations throughout a weekend of intense fandom. This makes for a story line that delivers corniness at times but also a healthy dose of laughter.
The show first introduces Jordan and Chip, played by Jonathan Brett and Tyler Koster, respectively, as best friends of the highest geek caliber. After years of scoring special edition comic books instead of girls, Jordan turns elated yet awkward when he meets equally nerdy love interest Kerry, played by Redetha Deason, at the convention.
Described comically as a 300:1 ratio of males to females, the convention dynamics spur drama as characters entangle in relations and lie about themselves.
With this story line, “Geeks! The Musical!” keeps audience members cracking up with its comic-interested characters. Brett, in particular, delivered with his dorky portrayal of Jordan, complete with a slight lisp and turtle-like posture. Other quirky characters include tortured artist Trey (Brandon Murphy Barnes), overly dramatic Audrina (Juliette Angeli) and Mel (Richard Lewis Warren), a has-been looking to milk his fame.
The Write Act Repertory Theatre feels intimate with its limited seating and ground level stage. The songs reflected this simplicity as well; instrumentals consisted of only one piano player. Although this matched the tone of the theater setting, it also seemed to make songs sound similar to each other.
Later on, the show continued to take audience members through ironic situations when Emerson, played by Wil Bowers, stirred up mischief with his cynical personality. With a classic plotline, the ending was predictable, but this did not take away from the audience’s enthusiasm for the story.
Incorporation of pop culture kept the audience members on their toes to try to identify references to, among other things, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and World of Warcraft. The characters’ obsessions with these fictional realms, sometimes to the point of face paint and replication costumes, captured the spirit of Comic-Con and portrayed the occasional consequence of true nerdiness: a full and isolating passion for fiction.
But the exaggerated, theatrical personalities show a sense of pride for their identity. “Geeks! The Musical!” shows the beauty of staying genuine to one’s self, no matter how eccentric society labels one. The positive outcomes that follow the characters’ truthfulness made audience members want to reveal their innermost geek, and it sent a classic, empowering message.
Thomas Misuraca, the playwright of “Geeks! The Musical!” has relayed this sentiment as a motivation behind the entire show. His self-proclaimed nerdy past brought him experience at the real Comic-Con to envision the story but also a reason to show that happiness really does follow authenticity.
Ending on this note, the show closes with a musical scene in the lobby of the convention center. The characters come together for a theatrical recap of their experiences at Comic-Con through song, and a group that would appear to the average person as strange dorks emerges as valiant and maybe even a little cool.
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