This November, the students of Anderson High School are exploring the dark side of comedy with “Bat Boy, the Musical.” This Off-Broadway hit was inspired by a series of infamous tabloid stories about a half boy-half bat creature discovered in a cave near a small town in West Virginia. The musical tells the story of his discovery and his effect on the town.
“‘Bat Boy’ was written in the 90’s, when dark humor was hugely popular,” explains Director Hannah Linser-Wilder. “It invites the audience laugh about crazy tabloid stories, low-budget 40’s horror movies, angst-filled soap operas, but then it also tells a touching and personal story about a family’s destruction. In that way it is like a Greek tragedy. It is one of my favorite shows ever. And these kids are doing some amazing work with it.”
Freshman Stella Scheidler says “This story is very over the top, super dramatic, funny, campy, and super tragic at the same time.” Scheidler plays Sheriff Reynolds, whom she says is comically unwilling to do her job. “Basically, she dumps all of her problems off on everyone else.”
“I see it as sort of a soap opera,” says Junior Elizabeth Thorman, “some of it is so silly. But the humor is also subtle.” As Props Designer, she has had some fun challenges. “Just be ready,” she says, “There’s gonna be some blood. I’m so excited for the bunny and the cow head. I hope they are impressive as I want them to be!” The Directors point to this, and to other elements of the story, to remind parents that the show will be best suited to children aged 12 and up.
Make-up Designer and Sophomore Emma Barnhart is also excited about her designs for the show. “The mom, Meredith, is more of a classic 50’s house wife, with red lips and winged eyeliner. Her daughter Shelley has more eyeshadow to show that she is rebellious.”
The make-up design for Bat Boy himself is a nod to classic horror films, and Director and Costume Consultant Emily Weddle knew his look would be crucial. “The store-bought fangs were difficult to work with,” Weddle says, “But then the wonderful people at Thacker Orthodontics created custom fangs for us. They’re moulded to fit Nick Gundrum, who plays Bat Boy, perfectly, and work like a charm. They look so real!” Dr. Thacker and his team have been long time supporters of Anderson Theatre. “His whole office is fantastic,” says Weddle.
The story’s villain, Dr. Thomas Parker, is played by Junior Ian Baker as what he calls “a classic Jealous Husband. If it will make his wife love him in the end, then murdering people and blaming the Bat Boy is fine with him.”
Many of the cast are eager for audiences to experience the music of the show. Baker says, “I am most excited for ‘Comfort and Joy.’ Parker has lost it, and he launches his plan to ‘get rid of the boy.’ At the same time, his family makes plans to attend a town social event, all the townspeople prepare, and Bat Boy struggles with his hunger for blood and self-control. The interweaving vocal parts and passion throughout the song make it one of the highlights of the show.”
“This show is a must see!” insists Scheidler. “It will make you feel all the feels. We’ve all worked so hard to make it amazing. I hope that everyone has a great time and appreciates the work of art that is Bat Boy!”
Performances of Anderson Theatre’s “Bat Boy, the Musical” will be November 16 and 17 at 7:00 pm and November 18 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.ShowTix4U.com or at the door.