A Review of Bat Boy: The Musical
By Roy Keeler
I attended my first Muhlenberg College production Friday night, October 23rd, as a reviewer for Bat Boy: The Musical. Unfortunately, I have never attended any events at Muhlenberg before. The campus was easy to find and I had no trouble parking. Directions on the college website were excellent.
I read that the Theatre Arts Department is the number four ranked undergraduate theatre program in the United States by The Princeton Review 2009 so I had certain expectations based on this fact. Otherwise, I was not sure what to expect.
Bat Boy is playing in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion. The Pavilion, from the outside, is modern and impressive. I eagerly made my way to the box office and picked up my ticket. After a brief wait the doors opened and I was able to find my seat. The theatre itself is very nice with comfortable seats, clearly marked rows and seat numbers. The seating is stadium style which allows for unobstructed viewing. My seat was in the orchestra section, row G, seat 15. Dead center stage.
While we waited for the show to begin I browsed through the program and had a chance to look around. I think the set is imaginative and fits the story very well.
The “Sheriff” made a few comments about cell phones and without further delay we began. At the time I didn’t understand who the Sheriff was but that became clear in a few minutes.
The story takes place in Hope Falls, West Virginia, population 500. The time is the present. Without going into too much detail the basic premise of the story is Bat Boy is found by Rick, Ron and Ruthie Taylor in a local cave. Bat Boy is more animal than human at this point in the story and he bites Ruthie when the Taylor kids try to “make friends”. Rick and Ron subdue Bat Boy, take Ruthie to the hospital and turn Bay Boy over to the Sheriff. The Sheriff takes Bat Boy to Dr. Parker, the local vet, to be “put down”.
Bat Boy is put in a cage until Dr. Parker returns home. Mrs. Parker and her daughter have their own ideas about what to do with Bat Boy. Bat Boy starts out as a “pet” and ends up becoming part of the family. The story progresses from there but you will have to go see Bat Boy to find out what happens!
There are two acts with a short intermission. The intermission ends in an unusual way when some of the characters walk back onto the stage and other characters come down the aisle through the audience. There is no formal end to the intermission or beginning of the second act. It is funny and strangely appropriate. Nothing about this production is ordinary
Bat Boy is a horror musical. I was not at all familiar with this production and was not sure what to expect. I was not the only person who felt this way. During intermission several people around me were talking and stated they had similar feelings. After watching the first act they were discussing how the story really draws you in and that the music is “catchy” and something you would be humming for days (I still am).
One of the funniest things about Bat Boy is the use of males to play female characters (think Benny Hill or Monty Python). Several cast members have multiple parts and watching them transition in and out of different characters/genders is hysterical and very well done. Nick Flatto and Gabriel Martinez are absolutely brilliant. While Bat Boy is very funny, it carries a message of tolerance and acceptance that comes through loud and clear.
The lead characters are excellent actors and superb vocalists. Jeramie Mayes as Bat Boy, Denise Ozer as Meredith Parker, Eric Thompson as Dr. Parker and Leah Holleran as Shelly Parker are all to be commended for their outstanding performances.
The minor characters and the ensemble do a fantastic job as well. Erik Fiebiger, as Pan, delivers a powerful vocal performance. I was disappointed he only had one number.
The music is challenging and the cast rises to the occasion. The orchestra is first rate! This is a professional quality production that flows seamlessly from scene to scene. The cast seems to be enjoying themselves which adds to the campy fun.
The costumes, lighting and choreography are excellent. The Directors and Production Staff are all deserving of high praise for the attention to detail that make this production a big success.
I highly recommend this musical as a great way to enjoy the Halloween season and see a quality theatrical production in the Lehigh Valley. Area residents should take advantage of having this gem in their backyard and support the arts at Muhlenberg College. I give Bat Boy thumbs up!
Many thanks to Shawn Proctor, Marketing Director for allowing me to attend and review Bat Boy.
This production is recommended for mature audiences over age 14.
Muhlenberg College is located at 2400 W. Chew Street, Allentown, PA 18104.
For more details: