|The three protagonists of the new musical|
LIZARD BOY. All photos by Alan Alabastro.
When Seattle Repertory Theatre's Artistic Director Jerry Manning commissioned an original musical piece from Justin Huertas, a talented actor, composer, singer, musician and illustrator, he didn't know what it would be exactly, but Manning and adapter/dramaturg Andrea Allen were willing to bet it would be amazing. Lucky for them and audiences everywhere, that bet paid off in a big way with LIZARD BOY, the most original musical seen onstage since New York Fringe favorite "Urinetown" ten years ago. It's a perfect opening show for the Diversionary's 31st Season, as it exemplifies the artistic vision and boundary-pushing support of the theatre to the LGBTQ community.
|Justin Huertas stars as Trevor|
in LIZARD BOY
At "Monsterfest", the one day of the year in Seattle when everyone dons monster costumes, Trevor feels safe enough to venture out where he blends into the crowd without comment. His newfound confidence enables him to decide to reach out on the gay dating website "Grindr" in search of his first (and last) love. Instead, he hooks up with a charming, goofy musician named Cary (winningly played by William A. Williams) who is new himself to Seattle. Even more than romance, Cary is desperately seeking a connection for friendship and maybe more.
|William A. Williams as Cary and|
Justin Huertas as Trevor in
|Kirsten deLohr Helland as Siren|
in LIZARD BOY
LIZARD BOY owes some of its indie-pedigree to off-Broadway musicals like "Urinetown" also "Brooklynite", which was directed and co-written by Tony-winning "Spring Awakening" director Michael Mayer. Huertas cites "Spring Awakening" as a rich source of inspiration to him, both as a performer and eventually a playwright and composer.
|Justin Huertas as Trevor in|
Huertas is the soul of this musical. Not just because it's his own story at its base, but he makes you feel so much of what's in his heart from the first moment he appears. His multiple talents are perfectly showcased and he reveals the beauty in Trevor, peeling off the layers of protective emotional garb hiding his reptilian appearance.
As Siren, the "dream girl" with a blood red soul, deLohr is a fierce and powerful presence with an amazing vocal range. She can be really scary, but her slightly warped sense of humor and snarky lipped delivery makes her less menacing and somehow more vulnerable. She's a bona fide star in Seattle, having played everyone from Maria Von Trapp to Sally Bowles, winning awards along the way.
Williams has what could have been a supporting role, but he expands Cary's initial "twinkie" persona into a real guy with hidden depth which he slowly reveals to Trevor through songs and gestures. He never gives up on love, and you find yourself rooting for these two to work everything out and defeat that dragon, once and for all.
|Justin Huertas and William A. Williams|
in LIZARD BOY
The script still needs some tweaking here and there (the ambiguous final image), but I have no doubt that the production will be fine-tuned to perfection.
|William A. Williams, Justin Huertas and|
Kirsten deLohr Helland star in LIZARD BOY
LIZARD BOY is at the Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd.in University Heights. It plays Thursday at 7 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm through October 30. Tickets may be purchased online through the Diversionary website.
-- Lisa Lyons