The show follows the adventures of a gaggle of geeks through the San Diego Comic Book/Sci-Fi Convention. Geek boy, Jordan, is on the search for Batman issue #92, but stumbles upon Kerry, the geek girl of his dreams.
In the meantime, his best friend and Doctor Who fanatic, Chip, offers to distract Kerry’s friend, Emerson, a man with impossibly high standards. But a series of miscommunications has Jordan believing that Kerry was stolen from him by his childhood hero, Mel Tyler, a has-been sci-fi actor.
Meanwhile, Audrina the Goth girl and her best friend Trey attempt to sell their avant-garde comic. All this while they geek, sing and dance to such songs as “Geek to Geek”, “Woman in Sci-Fi”, “Bi Guy” and “Who’s Who of Dr. Who”.
Directed by Patrick Gates and Lizzie Morse, making their directorial debuts, and with musical direction by Brandon Sherman, GEEKS features Lorina Alfaro, James B. Darvas, Franklin DeBerg, Pete Hoban, Ed Hollingsworth, Devon Hollingsworth, Sarah LeClaire, M. Keala Milles & Dakota Ringer
I had no idea how delightful this musical would be. I was invited to attend by a friend, and for the price, I couldn’t turn it down. Plus it was a great way to wrap up the whole Comic-Con experience. When I arrived at the tiny BLKBOX theater in Hillcrest, my expectations were tempered even further. I attended with my friend and our two 14-year-old daughters, my daughter, a self-proclaimed Whovian, in her beloved Doctor Who TARDIS T-shirt. It was a toss-up between that and her Thor shirt, but she chose wisely.
We arrived about 15 minutes before show time, but the small venue was already full and four seats next to each other was not possible. In fact, even two seats next to each other weren’t to be had. So the theater staff pulled up folding chairs and set them on the floor mere feet from the stage. We had front row seats to one of the most surprisingly fun musicals I’ve experienced in a long time.
The story follows a group of geeky convention attendees through four days of San Diego Comic-Con. Each main character has their own arc that plays out over the convention as they each seek something — a rare comic book, a set of Doctor Who plates, a publisher, recaptured glory, the love of a best friend — all with hilarious results. There are some adult themes and strong language, but it’s suitable for ages 12 and up.
The characters are what really make this show what it is. The story isn’t much without the brilliant characters and the actors who bring them to life. While there is some stereotyping, I mean, come on, we’re talking about the king of nerdom here, those stereotypes are played out to comic perfection. But even with some superficial characterization, each charter had enough depth to transcend their archetype and develop over the 90-minute musical.
The music was fun. Sure, it’s not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but it so perfectly fit the theme, I can’t really fault it. The lyrics were witty and the singing was strong. I think my favorite was Woman in Sci-Fi and the way it pokes fun of the male-to-female ratio of convention attendees and the awkwardness of nerdy boys when presented with a female. When budgets allow, what would take this to the next level would be live musical accompaniment instead of canned music, but that’s my only complaint.
The acting was just flat-out phenomenal. I never once questioned that these characters were who they presented themselves to be. Although I’m sure it’s partly due to his top-notch material, I have to give the local Tony to James P. Darvis for his portrayal of Emerson, the less-than tolerant fashion critic and reluctant best friend to Kerry.
The sets were probably the weakest part of the production, but I didn’t find that it impacted my enjoyment any. Probably just one more thing they can invest in when this lovely little production takes off.
They were brilliant. Geeky T-shirts, 70’s comic book hero, tights and all, the fourth Doctor’s scarf, Goth girl. The costumes were exactly what you’d expect to see and I love that they often changed shirts at least, as convention goers tend to do (some more than others).
The production has ended for the year, but when this theater darling comes around again next year, it’s not to be missed. If you’re coming to San Diego in 2015 for Comic-Con, take the short trip up to HIllcrest for this show. It’ll be the best hour and a half of your weekend that won’t be spent at a panel.
Title: Geeks the Musical
Book & Lyrics: Thomas J. Misuraca
Music: Ruth Judkowitz
Co-Directors: Patrick Gates and Lizzie Morse
Musical Direction: Brandon Sherman
Scenic Design: Ron Logan
Production Stage Manager: Grace S. Penaranda
Rehearsal Stage Manager: Lance Rosenberger
Music Director: Brandon Sherman
Costumes: Mary Summerday
Links: Geeks The Musical