Theater and Concert Reviews.
'The Big Bang Theory'
by ROBERT MASSIMI about a year ago in ENTERTAINMENTA Big Bang BustParodies can be fun—a lot of fun—especially when it's about one of the best shows on TV. The Big Bang Theory has been on major TV for 12 seasons and has some of the highest ratings of all time—not to mention local time slots as well as cable programming. The show attracts all audiences, from nerds to people who like comedy. Unlike some sitcoms that attract mostly women, while others that attract men, The Big Bang Theory targets all audiences, with over eight million viewers a week during there primetime slot.
To spoof the nerds of The Big Bang Theory should be really easy. From Howard's mother, Sheldon, Penny, Raj, and Bernadette, they are all easy targets. Add in a pop rock musical parody and you could have the next Pop Punk High that performs at La Poisson Rouge, or another Friends that was off Broadway at St Lukes Church last year. Both of the aforementioned musicals had energy, people who could act as well as sing and dance, and kept that great energy up the entire performance. Really good staging made these both worthy of the praise that they received.
Unfortunately, The Bing Bang Theory was nowhere in the league of a good comedy spoof. Dreadful acting, staging, singing, and dancing. The plot was just horrible and left many of the audience asking for refunds at intermission. The only actor that was any good was Sheldon (John McGowan). McGowan had the Sheldon down pat—his actions, his mannerisms, and his accent were entertaining. The poor writing of this play, however, never let us enjoy the job he was doing onstage.
Instead of having a good story, we got Q from Star Trek taking us on It's A Beautiful Life, adventure, and having Raj with a secret crush on Howard. What was worse than the storyline were the songs that were written for the show. Horrible songs that had absolutely no meaning or coherence with the book. Jokes went thud, singing was off key only to be usurped by the horrible dancing.
The lighting for this musical tried to be uplifting, but when your witnessing something that is so bad, the lighting is fruitless.
The costumes made no sense at all. Sure, Penny's outfits were good, but when you see her throw her wig to an outstretched hand offstage, you get the feeling that you're at a grade school play. I still do not know how Betty McCall got her role of Penny; she could not sing, dance, nor act. McCall had no imitative features of the Penny who is on the show.
Leonard's role was almost nonexistent, as he had very limited roles in this show. Leonard on the TV show is one of the driving forces in the sitcom. Here, Kevin Stevens acts the part with Leonard's movements and impressions, but he is nonexistent in the poor direction of this play.
Issac Calvin, who plays Howard, is just awful. He has no comedic timing, and was nothing like the Howard that we see weekly on TV. His costume is nothing like that on the sitcom either. It was a cross between the 60s and 70s—lost in space. It's like costume designer Teara Gilbert just threw this together without any thought whatsoever.
Director Tristan J. Schuler had no concept, nor any idea, of where this show should go. She had absolutely no direction on comedic timing or performance structure.
Book by Karlan Judd was one of the worst I have seen in the last three years, only to be upstaged by the music direction of Rich Silverstein. Silverstein's music left the audience looking at their watches wondering how much longer till the agony ends.
What is most mind-boggling is how CNK Theatricals could produce such garbage with actors who have no talent whatsoever, songs that are flat and tasteless, and a book that is plain horrendous.
In Friends, we saw every characters' actions down to a tee. The actors had great energy and the story line was solid. Songs were attractive and went along with the story. In The Big Bang Theory, nothing made sense.
What could have been a great spoof was, instead, an insipid piece of rubbish that will go down as one of the worst shows this year. It is something that never should have been produced.
Big Bang Theory, Penny, Tristan Schuler, off Broadway, Jerry Orbach, Howard, Leonard.