The Perfect Monster
by TADA! Youth Theater

What’s a clever kid to do when she’s too shy and down on herself to try to make friends? You just make monsters instead! Monsters that can make up for what you think is missing in yourself. Unfortunately, Sybil’s monsters don’t always work as she intends. But, inspired by the seeming perfection of her popular classmates, Sybil is determined to make her next monster absolutely perfect.

Seventeen-year-old Saleema Josey does a nice job as the shy monster-creating Sybil, her posture and body language hesitant and unsure of herself – except when she’s in her element down in her basement laboratory. This contrasts to her supremely confident and popular friends: Brendan Eapen as the school’s tennis star Preston, Christopher Broughton as the class comedian Charlie with a million memorized jokes for every occasion, and the amusing Maya Park as pretty and stylish Mary who gives a hilarious presentation on how to make a perfect presentation while enthusiastically pointing out her perfect hair, clothing, etc.

But can their easy confidence hold up when faced with Sybil’s perfect monster? “Perfection,” the apt name of the new monster, is played by Jasmine Perez who shines on the stage as she shines in Sybil’s school – a perfection of beauty, athleticism, and humor. Perfection is eager to impress her new classmates and become their new best friend, leaving her friendless creator Sybil just as friendless as before. But one-day-old Perfection has not yet mastered the vagaries of societal interactions. The popular kids are impressed, but not pleased, about having their talents shown up by the unabashedly vain new kid at school.

The rest of the cast includes a mother lode of imperfect monsters created by Sybil. A three-headed monster created in the hope that three heads would be better than one (Gabriela Gross, Sophie Silverstein, and Katie Welles working in unison), a prom date who ended up with four left feet (Adam Mandala), a clock because Sybil wanted more time (Maddy Abrahams), and a host of others that Sybil created, realized they didn’t fit her need, and mostly ignored as she continued her quest for “Perfection.” Those castoffs include a too-buff jock (Jordan Alston-Harmon) and a too-ditzy beauty queen (an amusing Kyra Green) before Perfection is finally achieved. Providing both pre-show and during-show entertainment is the team of Flexi (Tori Green) and the little dog Nyuck, Nyuck (Merce Jessor). All the monsters are greatly enhanced by the creative and eye-catching costumes designed by Cheryl McCarron and Shelley Norton.

TADA! Youth Theater in New York City excels at creating new youth musicals for their talented ensemble of actors. This creation was written by Janine Nina Trevens, the show’s director and the theatre’s artistic director. It’s a fun and fairly entertaining tale that will capture the attention of younger audience members with the quirky monsters. Before it’s over, all the kids are going to be forced to look a little deeper into themselves and each other, though a couple of the characters don’t appear to fully benefit much from the introspection. But alas, nobody’s perfect!

Performed January 18 - February 18, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

~ Humans ~
Sybil: Saleema Josey
Mary: Maya Park
Preston: Brendan Eapen
Charlie: Christopher Broughton

~ Monsters ~
Trio 1: Gabriela Gross
Trio 2: Sophie Silverstein
Trio 3: Katie Welles
Uggo: Casey Wenger-Schulman
Ever Ready: Alec Cohen
Halvzies: Taylor Hogan
Burpo: Rovin Sena
Munch: Toni Madison
Scraps: Megan Nicholson-MacRae
Footsies: Adam Mandala
Blow Top: Jennifer Wais
Tenny Tic: Maddy Abrahams
Hermes: Mary Claire Miskell
Nyuck, Nyuck: Merce Jessor
Flexi: Tori Green
Jocko: Jordan Alston-Harmon
Cutie: Kyra Green
Perfection: Jasmine Perez

Director: Janine Nina Trevens
Choreographer: Joanna Greer
Musical Director: Jim Colleran
Set Designer: Joseph Gourley
Costume Designer: Cheryl McCarron and Shelley Norton
Lighting Designer: Steve O'Shea
Production Stage Manager: Mary Beth Ward


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