Review-The North Hennepin Community College Theatre Ensemble-Sasquatched! The Musical

Sasquatched! The Musical

North Hennepin Community College Theatre Ensemble

By Bev Wolfe

Sasquatched! The Musical is a Raucous Romp through the Woods

Bigfoot, reality show news crews, a lost boy and helicopter parents are all front and center in Sasquatched! The Musical which opened this past weekend at North Hennepin Community College Theatre (NHCCT).

Since this is the college’s 50th Anniversary, NHCCT sought out an original work by an alumnus and selected a musical by 1983 graduate Phil Darg. Darg’s musical was entered into the juried competition for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in 2012. It was selected as one of NYMF’s Next Link selections and premiered at the Pearl Theatre in New York City in 2013.

The production at NHCCT is substantially similar to the New York production, with the exception of Darg both adding a new song and deleting one song. Director Mike Ricci also added a hilarious running gag concerning a TV ad about Phil from State Farm.

Under Ricci’s direction, the musical provides a lighthearted look at the public frenzy that occurs when there is a Bigfoot sighting. We learn that the Bigfoot, a polite and gentle soul named Arthur, prefers the term Sasquatch American to Bigfoot. He lives in a national park in Oregon and he is lost. He befriends a 10- year-old boy named Sam who, in escaping from his overprotective parents, has also become lost in the woods.

Joining them in the woods are: a local resident named Bert who first sighted Arthur; a reality show news team seeking to get footage of the Bigfoot; a couple of local bar/motel owners pretending to be Bigfoot to attract more tourists; Sam’s helicopter parents; Pat the Park Ranger; and Chris the Seismologist.

The show is a frantic romp through the woods, with most of the group banding together to protect Arthur from being exposed by the news crew. But in addition to the fun, the show also deals with the series issue of acceptance of those who are different and the ecology.

Under the musical direction of Jill Schendel, the five pit band musicians do a great job of providing just the right amount of musical support for the songs. There are 15 songs in the show and they provide much of the amusement.

One number, “Eight Feet Tall (and Smelled Like a Skunk),” sounds eerily similar to the old gimmick song “One Eyed one Horned Flying Purple People Eater.” My favorite song was “I’m an Eco-Friendly . . . Park Ranger” which was humorously performed by Jenny Reierson-Naumann.

At Saturday’s performance, the actors were a little slow to warm up, but by the fourth song the energy level was high. In addition to Reierson-Naumann’s performance as the park ranger, other stand outs included Jayden Olmstead as the wise young boy, John Naumann as Arthur and the news crew members Roy Richardson, Jr., Heather Bates and Casey Crespo.

It is a family friendly show which adults will enjoy. But more importantly, it is a perfect show for children 5 years and up not only for the frolic on stage, but also for the show’s underlying themes of acceptance and the need to be caretakers of the earth.

*The writer is an adjunct professor at NHCC in the Political Science Department

North Hennepin Community College Theatre Ensemble

7411 85th Avenue North

Brooklyn Park, MN 55445

Phone: (763) 424-0815

Remaining performances:

Thursday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 15th at 7:30 p.m (ASL Interpreted)

Saturday, April 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $10 for adults and $7 for children.

 

 

 

 

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