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Review

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman
by San Diego Junior Theatre
 

THE SHOW:  

Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Lee Adams, Book by David Newman & Robert Benton, Based on the comic strip by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster. Broadway debut in 1966.  

In this 1960s musical comedy spoof of the popular television series, Superman is a nice guy who always does good with his nifty powers, subduing evil bad guys that sometimes require a POW!, BAM!, or ZONK!. He drinks in the adoration of happy humans who marvel over his goodness with out-of-control cheesiness. But such a sparkly good image can attract the attention of evil psychopaths, in this case the crazed nuclear scientist Dr. Sedgwick who was driven mad by being the Nobel Prizeís version of Susan Lucci. When destruction occurs that Superman didnít prevent because of a civic celebration honoring Supermanís goodness, Superman falls into despair. Pile on the fact that Lois Lane, bored with her Superman relationship that seems to consist only of him repeatedly saving her life, becomes romantically interested in the scientistís assistant Jim. Together itís a double-whammy that leaves our hero despondent in his unkempt apartment strewn with empty cartons from his bender on wholesome milk.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

San Diego Junior Theatre offers theatergoers a rare glimpse of this supremely cheesy musical spoof, and in their hands itís a rare treat. Director James Saba along with his cast and design team all have a keen feel for the showís humor. The visuals include Jay Heisermanís stylized Manhattan/Metropolis skyline, good Sixties outfits by Sparks Rejent-Moeller and the orchestra up in the background rather than down in the pit looking more like a swank Manhattan nightclub of yesteryear.  

The super-talented cast members are all on the same page, fully embracing the cheesy spoof with an innate feel for the characters and characterizations they are spoofing. As Superman, Connor Marsh has a phenomenal speaking and singing voice while also comically poses while flashing his toothy smile, winking to his admirers, glowing in the praise of the adoring citizens of Metropolis, being somewhat baffled by the theory of romance, and falling into melodramatic despair when his streak of successful heroism comes to an end. Isabelle Pickering is a consummate 60-ish play on Lois Lane also with a perfect singing and speaking style as well as a steady demeanor no matter the situation, reacting to the warning of imminent global nuclear destruction with the same ďOh, my goodnessĒ that she absentmindedly might give to a child who tells her that a kitten is stuck in a tree.    

Sheís also great reacting to the lack of romance from Superman, unwanted office romance from cocky coworker Max, and eventual interest in the cynical Jim. Sam Brogadir is super smooth and amusing as the full-of-himself Max who is determined to figure out Supermanís alter ego while both making time to string his ditzy girlfriend Sydney along and constantly trying to slick his way into Loisís love life. Garrett Hoff entertains as Jim, trying to irritate Lois with his dismissal of women and humans in general with We Donít Matter At All but simultaneously becoming intrigued with her. Casey Purlia Johnson is hilarious with expressions, body language, and voice as the ditzy floosy Sydney constantly frustrated with bad boyfriend Max (Ooh, Do You Love You) and making an unforgettable play for a clueless Clark Kent in the musicalís hit number Youíve Got Possibilities.  

Johnathon Michel is diabolically nerdy as mad scientist Sedgwick obsessed with destroying Superman. He cons his way into watching The Daily Planetís public service announcement film on the origins of Superman, although on opening night the audio worked but the video didnít, leading to a few funny adlibs, some shadow puppetry on the screen, and added emphasis on lines like Lois indicating that Superman is very concerned with his image and Sedgwick referring to ďthe man on the screen.Ē Sophia Oberg stars as Sedgwickís sub-contractor in crime as Madame Ling, an amusingly bitter head of the out-of-work Flying Lings who blames the flying Superman for their unemployment (whoís going to pay to see the Flying Lings when they can see Superman fly for free?). While the ensemble of Metropolis adults and children bring the city fully to life with effervescent charisma, wonder, great vocals, and unrestrained glee over their local superhero.

Performed April 24 - May 10, 2015

Photos by Ken Jacques

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 
 

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Clark/Superman: Connor Marsh 
Lois: Isabelle Pickering
Max: Sam Brogadir
Sydney: Casey Purlia Johnson
Sedgwick: John Michel
Jim: Garret Hoff
Mme. Ling: Sophia Oberg
Perry White/Ensemble: Nick Asaro
Officer Henderson/Ensemble: Michaela Griffin
Ensemble:
Zoe Seely
Nicole Gustafson
Emily Ince
Gianna Merghart
Sofia Bourche
Erin Longerbone
Fiona Beyerle
Sophia Valenti
Francesca DíAmico
Alexandra Adsit
Liana Robin
Lorelei Howe
Yoyo Yang
Annabelle Foster
Luis Sherlinee
 Diego Zepeda
Giovanni Cozic
Brandon Saldivar
CJ Rabine
Jake Goldfarb (Cop)

Director: James Saba
Music Director: Richard Morrison
Choreographer: April Henry
Set Design: Jay Heiserman
Lighting Design: Michael Barahura
Sound Design: Brian Perez
Costume Design: Sparks Rejent-Moeller
Hair and Make-up Design: Francia Cohen

 

 



   

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