Review by Erin Winebark
O HAI. IN CASE U WUZ NOT AWAREZ, KATS, ESPECIALLY LOLCATS, LUV CHEEZBURGERS. SRSLY. THEY LUV CHEEZBURGERS MOAR THAN HOOMANZ. IN DIS MUSICAL, LOLCAT (Seth Grugle) GETS SUCKD INTO TEH INTERWEBS AND TRAVULS FAR AN WIDE FAR 2 FIND CHEEZBURGER, AN HE ENCOUNTERS LOTZ DA THINGS, LIEK AN EVIL CHEEZ KAT NAMED MR. WRONG (Clint Carter) AN SAD LOLRUS (Vincent DiGeronimo) HOO LOST HIS BUKKIT. ALONG TEH WAI, LOLCAT MEETS JODIE (Carly Zein), MOUSE HOO OWNS CHEEZBURGER BUSINES. SHE IZ NICE, BUT NOT AS NICE AS CHEEZBURGERS. NO RLY. HE GETS TRICKD, BUT DEN HE REALIZEZ DAT TEH JOURNEY IZ MOAR IMPORTANT THAN TEH TASTE OV CHEEZBURGERS AN DEN LOLCAT REALIZEZ DAT IT DOESN’T MATTR WUT TEH CHEEZBURGER TASTEZ LIEK, CUZ EVRYBODY HAS THEIR OWN CHEEZBURGER DREAMS.
If the above paragraph doesn’t make sense to you, then you might be a bit confused by I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL! now playing at the Cherry Lane Theater as part of FringeNYC 2009. If, however, you are a gigantic nerd like me (and most of the audience, it seemed), you should run to get tickets--and I do mean run, because a large crowd of latecomers were turned away at the door. That said, even those unfamiliar with lolspeak can enjoy the campy entertainment Cheezburger provides, and with a handy gLOLssary included in the program, n00bs will quickly learn the difference between Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat.
Full of non-sequitors, the show itself feels a bit like an episode of "Family Guy." The only scenery is a white drop onto which images are projected. These images consist of well-timed lolcats straight from the website icanhascheezburger.com or scenic visuals to suggest setting. The book, written by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg, is exceptionally witty, laden with pop-culture references and jokes which irreverently parody modern musical theater. The simple orchestrations, also by Pomranz and Steinberg, allow the talented voices of the cast and the hilarious lyrics to shine. A few memorable tunes include "Someone to Eat Cheese With," "Bucket of Love," "Ur Doin’ It Wrong" and "Tasty Taste of Love." Karina Bennett’s direction is presentational, with moments of audience interaction and plenty of sight gags (if you’re simply listening, you’ll miss a lot of the humor). She brings the best out of the cast and fully uses the space to create interesting focal points despite the lack of set. Though the entire ensemble is strong, Carter (as Mr. Wrong) and Bryan Welnicki (Drop) give especially entertaining performances, and Welnicki, in particular is a scene-stealer, waiting for “the cheese to drop.” Erin Strutland’s choreography is the stuff of stereotypical high school musicals (and thus, perfect for this show’s humor); jazz hands, grapevines, and box steps abound.
All said and done, I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL! is incredibly entertaining, and has real potential to be a stand-alone off-Broadway musical (with a few tweaks and reworks, of course). The final musical number and accompanying photo montage had me literally laughing out loud…er, LOL-ing…and by the end, I had to wipe tears of laughter from my face. DIS HOOMAN THINKZ DAT Cheezburger IS FTW!!! KTHXBAI.
I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg
Directed by Karina Bennett
Additional Music by Mike Gillespie
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Caroline O’Connor
Choreography by Erin Strutland
Produced by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg
Costume Design by Matthew Wilson and Cathy Carrey-Aquino
Lighting Design by Paul Sawyier
Featuring: Seth Grugle (Lolcat), Vincent DiGeronimo (Lolrus), Clint Carter (Mr. Wrong), Carly Zein (Jodie), Lauren Kampf (Sumz), Danielle Ryan (Epic Win), Melissa Bayern (Epic Fail), Bryan Welnicki (Drop), and Liana Jessop (Orly Owl)
Cherry Lane Theater
38 Commerce St.
Friday, August 14 at 9:30 PM
Saturday, August 15 at 12:00 PM
Tuesday, August 18 at 6:15 PM
Wednesday, August 26 at 9:15 PM
Friday, August 28 at 4:45 PM
Visit FringeNYC for more information.