Burn, baby, burn. That’s what happens when you sell your soul to the devil. Especially when you do it at the height of the disco era. Thus is the setting of Disco Inferno, the jukebox musical filled with disco hits good and bad, an update to the Faust story that playwright Anastasia Serdsev clearly made a deal with the devil to get published. But hey, can a night of live disco music, 70s clothing, and a lit-up disco dance floor ever be that bad?

Nyack High School, who last spring became one of the first schools in the country to perform Phantom of the Opera, this spring went for something a little lighter and sillier and discoer. And if you don’t pay too much attention to the dialogue and plot line and character development, it’s a fun, groovy show.

The setting is the summer of 1976 in London. Jack (Christian Rulon) is a bartender hoping to get his chance on stage so he can become “the next David Cassidy.” But who could make sure Jack’s sky-high dream comes true? Enter a Hot Stuff demon named Lady Marmalade, with sister soul Daisy Krikun bringing it all with vocals and attitude and fiery red dress. It becomes even harder not to root for the devils over the foolish mortals when we’re later introduced to her boss Nick Diablo, a gaily dapper boogieman all dressed up in a pink suit, gold platform shoes, a fur wrap, and a white kitty sitting in his lap like the prototypical James Bond villain. James Greenberg makes for a hilarious character as he talks about pop, pop, Pop Muzic (while the heads of other stars on Nick’s wall of captured souls pop out of their pictures to sing the pop, pop, pop muzic chorus).

The foolish mortals include Jack’s girlfriend Jane, with Georgette Vaillancourt getting one of the biggest ovations for her rendition of I Will Survive. Best friend Tom (Charles Caster-Dudzick) smoothly delivers most of the more amusing lines as far as the mortals are concerned. Nice that he can keep his sense of humor after dating Maggie (Veronica Torres) six years without so much as a kiss. Matthew Glover is Jack’s moody and bitter rival Heathcliff, a personality combination that makes it tough to be his girlfriend, with Edy Modica starring as All Out of Love Kathy who finds it easy to dump him when it appears someone nicer may have a better chance becoming a star. Ben Birkeland is Duke, the club owner, who wistfully remembers the Crocodile Rock days when rock was young and he and Suzie had so much fun (performed with some diverting choreography as he’s joined by his three-man chorus).

Greg Baccarini had a lot of fun with the choreography throughout the show, adding much to many of the scenes with humor and a variety of 70s-inspired dancing, though not much variety for Jack’s devil girl backup singers the Fallen Angels who seem doomed to perform the same movement throughout the show. Greg also designed a number of great period wigs that, with Costume Designer Liz Prince's creative help, transport us back to the days of Saturday Night Fever. And if all that weren’t enough to transport you, there’s always Andrew Gmoser’s fantastic lighting, from the disco floor to the disco ball to the very depths of disco hell. The entire cast adds laughter and great dancing to many scenes, which is especially impressive when they’re doing it on platform shoes on a slanted disco floor. Some standout scenes include the amusing Some Girls sung in a guys’ urinal, Instant Replay, Ballroom Blitz, Boogie Wonderland, and the opening and closing numbers that include a big Celebration and, of course, a towering Disco Inferno.

Performed March 6 - 14, 2009.

Rob Hopper
Executive Director
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Jack: Christian Rulon
Jane: Georgette Vaillancourt
Tom: Charles Caster-Dudzick
Maggie: Veronica Torres
Heathcliffe: Matthew Glover
Kathy: Edy Modica
Terry: Chris Guardaro
Duke: Ben Birkeland
Lady Marmalade: Daisy Krikun
Nick Diablo: James Greenberg
Dick Clark: Martin Reinhardsen
Priest: Tyler Moson
Photographer/Producer: Alec Biello
Fallen Angels:
Raina Gonzalez
Emily McCloskey
Brittany Petronella
Naima Aguayo-Pohl
Alexander Baehr
Alec Biello
Talia Bosley
Alana Brolly
Colin Brophy
Olivia Chanyungco
Caroline Cummings
Kim Edelsberg
Christina Farrugia
Tyler Forrest
Jeremy Gottfried
Justin Green
Tamar MacCallan-Finkelman
Tyler Moson
Brittany Raglin
Martin Reinhardsen
Anastasia Serdsev
Hannah Towers

Director: Joseph J. Egan
Associate Director/Choreographer: Greg Baccarini
Musical Director/Conductor: Kurt Kelley
Set Design: Joseph J. Egan
Sound Design: Bryan McPartlan
Lighting Design: Andrew Gmoser
Costume Design: Liz Prince
Wig Design: Greg Bacarini


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