“Hold your Bat Boy,
Touch your Bat Boy,
No more need to hide.
Know your Bat Boy,
Love your Bat Boy,
Don’t Deny your beast inside.”
“Finale: Hold me, Bat Boy (Reprise)”,
Bat Boy, the Musical
This past weekend, the Bloomsburg Players preformed the hilarious, yet disturbing Bat Boy, the Musical at the Alvina Krause Theatre on Center Street. In case you are wondering, the answer is yes; that is the same Bat Boy from those black and white tabloids you read in line at the supermarket. How anyone got the idea to produce a storyline, let alone a full-scale musical, based off this idea is beyond me, but I can assure you the results were bat-tastic.
For those of you who are unaware, the Bloomsburg Players are made up entirely of theatre arts majors here at Bloomsburg University. I’ll admit Bat Boy was my first opportunity to see these artists in action, however I can assure you it will not be my last. This production had it all. Its difficult enough to combine laugh out loud humor with striking social commentary, but add in the element of horny forest animals, and all bets are off.
Bat Boy the Musical begins with the discovery of Edgar, the Bat Boy (Joe Popson) in a dark and dank cave in rural West Virginia. Out of fright, Edgar attacks one of his discoverers, Ruthie Taylor (Liz Nowrey), which prompts his capture. Unsure of what to do with the mysterious creature, the people of Hope Falls leave him in the hands of the town’s resident veterinarian, the seemingly gentle Dr. Thomas Parker (Richard Nazzaro), and his wife Meredith (Jenna Hyatt).
At first, the two are unsure of what to make of the Bat Boy. He refuses to eat, cannot speak, and frightens their daughter, Shelley (Candyce Musinski). After some TLC, however, Meredith manages to teach the Bat Boy how to speak, and soon Edgar (the name they decide to give him) becomes like a son to the Parkers. And a little bit more to Shelley, though I’ll refrain from explaining that any further.
The love and support shown to Edgar is not received well by the rest of the town, who still blame the Bat Boy for Ruthie’s worsening condition, as well as a number of other problems facing Hope Falls (such as mysterious drop in the cattle population.) The townsfolk want Dr. Parker to kill Edgar. The doc cannot be swayed, however, for his wife has been showing him an increasing amount of love for defending the Bat Boy, love he has not received in ages. As a result, he continues to safeguard Edgar, despite the objections.
Things change, however, when Meredith and Shelley decide that Edgar should have his “coming out” at the upcoming revival meeting, the social event of the year. Dr. Parker does not want Edgar to participate for he knows a dark and terrifying secret about him. This leads to conflict between Meredith and Dr. Parker, who finally realizes that his wife does not truly love him. Devastated by the news, the doctor goes on a killing spree, and frames Edgar for his crimes. The townspeople, already incised with the Bat Boy, immediately begin the hunt, which ends in tragedy.
Standout performances by just about all of the main characters as well as some of the supporting cast (most notably Reverend Billy Hightower, the goat-man who popped up out of the floor, and the turtle) made this rendition of Bat Boy, the Musical certainly one to remember.
And so to end this quasi-review, I encourage everyone who reads this to experience the Bloomsburg Players at least once in the near future, while I anxiously await the next Weekly World News cover story to grace the great stage.