HOMICIDAL FREAKS, LUNATICS, AND WOMEN MISSING THEIR SKINS. 'SILENCE THE MUSICAL' HAS IT ALL
OUTRAGEOUS SPOOF BRINGS HANNIBAL LECTER TO THE MISSION DISTRICT IN SAN FRANCISCO WHERE HE HAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE. SILENCE! IS TASTY MAYHEM
The Lambs are released at Victoria Stage this winter and they are telling the tale of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. SILENCE! The Musical makes its San Francisco premiere at the Victoria Theatre extended through March 18th. Ray of Light Theater teams with two other first class producers, Cloud 9 Theatricals in association with Lang Entertainments group. SILENCE! The Musical follows the story of the grim, psychodrama of the 1991 movie, Silence of the Lambs, that was an Oscar contender and brought Anthony Hopkins and Jody Foster to star fame. Co-producer Victoria Lang, who produced the original off Broadway hit says “Ever since we hatched the idea of producing SILENCE! as a musical, I’ve been excited to introduce the show to the delicious San Francisco Bay Area audiences. I just know they’re going to eat it up” Adds Bell, “I'm thrilled Bay Area audiences will get to see Dr. Lecter, Clarice, and the singin', dancin', and screamin' lambs”.
The songs first debuted online in 2002 by comedy writers Jon and Al Kaplan. Then SILENCE! expanded into a live stage show and sold out every box office record at the 2005 New York Fringe Fest, winning the Best Musical Award. The 2011 off Broadway staging was listed by TIME magazine as one of the “Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2011” and was awarded Best new musical. Featuring a book by Tony nominee Hunter Bell and music and lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan SILENCE features a marvelous Anne Norland as Clarice and terrific Scott Hayes as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Director Jason Hover brings an excellent cast of ten to the Victoria stage, and each one of them hit pure polished wackiness in the many parts they play. This is the kind of edgy musical offering that's appreciated whether you have seen the film or not. The off color blue song “I Could Smell Her Cunt” sung by Hayes as Hannibal sets up expectations that the musical's off-color fun could have difficulty keeping smiles on an audience, but in SF this is the perfect musical. The sold out opening night audience was cheering throughout most of this 100 minute musical’s sinister driven energy.
This is an enjoyably crude and fun high end production with its very blue, and sometimes over the top ludicrous XX score. The deluxe cast, directed by the keen Jason Hoover and choreographed by the jazzy TBA winner Alex Rodriguez, certainly gives this romp with lambs and hand lotion a lampoon that is nonstop hilarious. Rodriguez’s sharp clever “Are You About a Size 14” with the cast and Brian Watson as the killer, Buffalo Bill, are sheer fun madness. The story stays true to the FBI rookie, Clarice Starling, who seeks the advice of a caged psycho who likes human flesh, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. They both attempt to catch a murderous freak who makes dresses out of human skin known as "Buffalo Bill".
Hoover brings together a production team and cast that keeps this spoof on the edge of camp. The highlight of the cast is the unforgettable Norland, who has Clarice and Jody Foster captured in her Oscar lisp driving quest to make her dead dad proud. “Thish Ish It/The Right Guide” features Norland’s authentic voice while sounding like Jody Foster. Later Norland is spot on with Hayes in “Quid Pro Quo” as the two dance a mean tango. Matt Hammons as her boss, Jack Crawford, is loony as he keeps Clarice on course in the number.
The lambs, as the greek chorus, keep the story moving as they bounce and yelp and are a powerfully heard under the choreography of Rodriguez. They are camp and fun as he brings references to past Broadway musicals to their horror and yet adorable scampering and Fossie/Tommy Tune class. Hayes’ Hannibal Lecter is more interesting than Hopkins’ portrayal. Hayes’ great voice and perfect mask, creepy version along with his songs and wonderful body language bring the doctor to life. Brian Watson as Buffalo Bill, likewise, has realized the caricature that's already clearly nutty. The smashing Brendon North as the nancy Dr. Chilton sings “The Right Guide” and in ideal style he tells the young FBI woman “He’ll grab your face, then bite chew and swallow”; what yum comes from some of the best score.
The seven plus member chorus of floppy eared lambs feature a first rate heard including Kevin Singer, Audrey Baker, Hayley Lovgren, Angle Adedokun, Eliza Leon, Sean Libiran, and the high energy of Ryan Vasquez who all play various roles with exquisite voices and high energy, edgy comic, timing. The greek chorus of the lambs, who all double in other roles, keep their second costumes peeking out of their back pockets.
As I look through the program most of the cast play lambs including the leads. The riveting Adedokun is very funny as Ardelia, a FBI trainee, you remember from the film. Her added man stash never gets tired; she sings “Catherine Dies Today” with dancing reporters/lambs as she transforms into her own fantasy from nerdy agent to a sexy nightclub singer. The baby face and talented Brendon North as Clarice's boss gives a superb performance and a powerhouse voice in this madness on stage. Local favorite, Kevin Singer, is the perfect masterbater in the “Rite Guide” number when FBI Agent Starling meets Hannibal, and is showered with Pembry’s love. Music director Ben Prince and his four member backstage band bring the musical this great score including Ken Brill, Dave Dobrusky on keys with Geneva Harrison and Taylor Rankin on percussion -- most memorable in the number “I'd F*ck Me”.
So many standout performances that come at you fast and fun including Hayley Lovergren as kidnapped plus size Catherine Martin dances with her Water-Well attached to her in “Put The F*cking Lotion In The Basket”. Matt Hammon’s forceful yet idiot take of FBI agent Jack Crawford, who heads the case is a blast. “Papa Shtarling” a song in the first half is on course with Hammond who also doubles for Clarice's memories of her dad.
The production is tasty with satire that includes Kuo-Hao Lo’s movable set of shades, jail cells and the Doctor’s cages and floating windows that include all his breath and face imprints. His back wall sliding door is an effective way to bring in the villans and create some fine stage direction by Hoover. Props by Devon Labelle included some much needed FBI office and chairs on wheels that gave Crawford some easy flight across the set for some funny moments. But the required moth flying landing on the nose of cross-eyed Clarice is Labelle’s perfect touch.
Connie Strayer’s costumes are simple for the Doctor in his bright orange jumpsuit, and Clarice in her gray tone suits perfectly fit the part. The lambs in black and cute ears, and Buffalo Bill, the most colorful cannibal on stage, dressed in bright colors and wearing fun goggles. The high tech lighting design by Michael Ramsaur was a character on its own, bringing the lamb chorus in downstage back light, and colorful green and blue for the water well dances. Sound designer, Anton Hedman, kept Dr Lecter creepy perfect under his famous head mask, and created some great sounds for Buffalo Bill.
SILENCE! The Musical is the perfect winter wake up call to the Trump frump days. This book and music is gifted with lude fun camp bliss. The opening night crowd were on their feet as the Doctor bid Clarice farewell. Director Hoover and Cloud 9 Productions have a hit on their hands, and the run has already been extended to March 18th. This production marks the dream of the producers to bring SILENCE! To San Francisco and let Ray of Light Theatre add the class that they are famous for in the SF theatre scene. Raunchy, funny and just enough camp makes this musical spoof a must see and maybe a longer run. Bring your own lamb ears and have a great time at SILENCE! The Musical.
Cloud 9 Theatricals in association with
Lang Entertainment Group and Ray of Light
The San Francisco premiere of
SILENCE! The Musical
Book by Hunter Bell. Music and Lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan.
Directed by Jason Hover, Choreographer Alex Rodriguez
Music Director Ben Prince
Extended run through March 18, 2017
2961 16th Street, San Francisco,
Running time 100 minutes no intermission
Tickets are available online at
More Info http://www.silencethemusicalsf.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: KEVIN BERNE
Silence! The Musical- From the song book - This Ish It/The Right Guide -
(with the NY Cast)