LPAHS to present musical ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’ Nov. 1-2
Taking full advantage of the expanded theater facilities available at the new Lake Park-Audubon High School, the students and director Bob Henderson will be presenting their first-ever fall musical this coming weekend — and they’re starting things off with a bang.
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” the tragi-comic musical featuring an aspiring supervillain as its main protagonist, will be presented this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, at the LPAHS Theatre.
Both performances will begin at 7 p.m., but Saturday night’s show will be a dinner theater performance, preceded by a catered dinner at 6 p.m. The dinner theater is an LPAHS tradition, Henderson noted.
Though the 6 p.m. Saturday dinner is sold out, tickets for both 7 p.m. performances will be available at the door, at a cost of $6 for adults, $3 for students.
While it has become a popular stage production at colleges and high schools across the country, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” actually had its origins as a three-act miniseries, produced exclusively for Internet distribution in 2008.
Since then, it has been distributed on iTunes, Hulu, DVD and BluRay. The original writing team, Joss Whedon (“The Avengers,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and his brothers, Zack and Jed Whedon, along with writer/actress Maurissa Tancharoen, have authorized a limited number of stage reproductions.
“We’ve been wanting to do a musical for a while now, and ‘Dr. Horrible’ is a show I’ve always been interested in,” Henderson said, “but it’s difficult to get the rights (to stage a local production).”
Finally, that mission was accomplished, and auditions were held during the first week of school.
“We had 21 people try out,” Henderson said, “and there are 14 parts total.
“It’s the largest cast I’ve ever had.”
In fact, he actually added in some minor parts so he could accommodate as many aspiring thespians as he could.
“I didn’t want to turn anyone away,” he said. “They are all so talented, and I want to give them every chance they can (to experience live theater).”
Though there are five seniors in the cast, most of whom are familiar faces from past LPAHS stage productions, there are also quite a few first-timers, Henderson noted.
“We have some younger actors in larger roles as well,” he said.
“I will be sad to see some of them (the seniors) go, but we have some very good ones in the wings waiting to take their place in future productions.”
For those who are familiar with the cinematic version of “Dr. Horrible,” the plot of the stage version does follow the original pretty closely, Henderson said — with a few minor adjustments to make the PG-13 script “more school appropriate.”
“There were some parts we had to edit out, but nothing plot critical — and we added some other things in,” he explained, noting, “transitioning some things from film to stage was difficult.”
For instance, to help ease the often lightning-fast stage transitions between Dr. Horrible and his decidedly less-evil alter ego, Billy, “we ended up casting them as two different people,” Henderson said.
“Tyler Dahlgren and Tory Haglund will take turns playing Dr. Horrible and Billy,” he said, adding that one of them will play Dr. Horrible in Friday night’s production, and the other will play the villainous role on Saturday.
One key element added to this stage production was a song that had been axed from the original show, “Nobody Wants to Be Moist,” which is all about Dr. Horrible’s evil sidekick, Moist — played by Kyle Svare, who was more than up for the challenge of a featured solo, Henderson said.
“I figured it would be fun for him,” he added.
Laynee Cole, who plays the heroic Captain Hammer, was thrilled to learn she’d get to use “an actual hammer” for her role as Dr. Horrible’s heroic nemesis, Henderson said with a smile.
“She’s a very talented actor,” Henderson said of Cole. “She likes to play roles that have action and exuberance.”
For the role of Penny — the true love of both Dr. Horrible and his decidedly less-evil alter ego, Billy — Henderson chose Nellie Branchaud.
“This is her third play with me,” Henderson said. “She was a perfect fit for the role.
“She has a really good singing voice, and excellent chemistry with both Dr. Horribles and Captain Hammer” — whose attempts to romance Penny away from his arch-nemesis are a key element of the plot, as Henderson pointed out.
One element of the play that won’t change is the ending, he said, even though it’s not a happy one.
“We decided it would defeat the purpose,” Henderson explained.
As for whether the change from straight play to musical for the school’s fall production would be a permanent change, Henderson said no — but they will definitely consider doing more musicals in the future.
“The students have really enjoyed doing this show,” he said. “It may be something we will carry on with in the future.”
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.