"Vulgar, raunchy, sacrilegious, disrespectful and pornographic," are just a few of the epithets that playwright David K. Johnson uses to describe his new musical, Lady Sublime & the Fantesticles. "Hopefully, we are going to shock some people," he says of the comedy, which opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Theatre. Promoted as an "evening of sex in song," the production shines a spotlight on raucous Lady Sublime (played by Denverite Chris Whyde), a drag queen who has set a world record for her number of sexual conquests -- many of whom are in the audience. Johnson has knocked out an evening of rowdy melodies for the indecent diva, changing Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money" into "It Gets Hard in the Morning," and the classic "Oklahoma!" into "Pokahomo!" The ill-mannered musical also features four hot and hunky backup crooners dubbed the Fantesticles, who are required to carry not only a flawless tune, but faultless tush as they appear beside Lady Sublime in various stages of undress.
The wayward score and script are a dramatic departure for veteran funnyman Johnson, who launched his livelihood as a musical director at an evangelical Christian church. "My, how things have changed," he snickers. He describes the show as "in-your-face funny. The sex sizzles and the music is even hotter."
Lady Sublime & the Fantesticles runs through August 14 at the Phoenix, 1124 Santa Fe Drive. Tickets, $20 to $ 25, are available at 303-777-3292 or www.ladysublime.com. -- Kity Ironton
BugJuice! squeezes kids' imaginations
BugJuice! player Jessica Robblee (aka Sleeping Beauty) recently discovered a giant elephant in the dough she was kneading. After the discovery, Beauty and her new pachyderm friend hightailed it to India in disguise. As soon as their plane landed, the careless elephant made an "elephant noise," revealing their identities. Their cover blown, both covert operatives morphed into tasty desserts. The princess-turned-sugary-treat fiasco is not that unusual an adventure for a participant in BugJuice!, the Saturday-morning, kid-geared improv show at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street.
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Like grown-up improv, BugJuice! features games and lots of audience participation. However, as Robblee explains, players "need to be more creative, to think outside the adult-humor box."
To compensate for the potty humor and wordplay precluded by a G-rated narrative, players often tend toward what Robblee calls "fantastical" hypotheticals, such as "We're hunting a unicorn in troll land."
The out-there framework the players create and kid-audience directions like "Then she turned into a frog cookie" make for unique dramas. Thus, "Sleeping Beauty and the Two-Ton Land Mammal" is just one of the endless zany possibilities.
BugJuice! hits the stage at 11 a.m. every Saturday through August 7. Tickets are $5 ($3 per person for groups of ten or more) at the Bug box office. Call 303-477-9984 or visit www.bugtheatre.org. -- Caitlin Smith