Friday, January 16, 2009

Plan 9 from Outer Space: The Musical!

Sometime in the fall of 2003, I took a young lady to see this original musical during its debut (and, to my knowledge, only) run at the Box Theater in Fort Worth. The performance was held on the second story of the Ridglea Theater in an old broom closet with a thrust stage and a dozen seats shoved in it. An all death metal lineup had sold out the huge house downstairs, and the thin walls and ceilings of the complex permitted us to experience both shows simultaneously.

Unique to the cast, the narrator could match pitch, which was a welcome relief. The part of Bela Lugosi was played by a cardboard cutout of him as Dracula stolen from the window display of a Hollywood gift shop - when his character died, they pushed it over. One of the two male singing and dancing cops was actually female, and did a hero's work trying to sing her part in the written octave.

Flying saucer sightings were illustrated by a model spaceship, which was hooked to a laundry line about 7' above the front of the stage and launched across by an awkward, semi-visible stage hand. Except when the saucer got stuck in the sag stage center and the stagehand had to run out and push it the rest of the way. There were no blackouts - the cast just sat around for while when each scene ended, then picked up their props and shuffled off. Perhaps most impressively, they were able to accurately recreate Ed Wood's exact cockpit set.

Anyway, I saw the movie earlier tonight, and was wondering if anyone else had put on the musical and filmed any of it, so I looked it up online. Turns out the Box Theater filmed the first two nights of their production and put the whole thing on youtube! Go the Box Theater! I can only assume that I saw it much later in the run, after multiple talent and set modifications, because this video does not entirely line up with the above recollections, but it is still fantastic.

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