When a pitiful little bug-munching creature was found lurking in the deep, dark caves of West Virginia, the townies of nearby Hope Falls had no idea that the creepy half boy/half bat's tale would become an urban legend.
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The satirical saga, which was splattered across the front pages of the notorious Weekly World News, has amassed a faithful following of "batophiles" who devour the beast baby's every move. According to the inventive tabloid, the so-called Bat Boy has fallen in love with President Bush's daughter Jenna, secretly led U.S. troops to Saddam's hidey hole and inspired an off-Broadway sensation in the Big Apple. This last bat feat, witnessed by real New York audiences, is true.
Now Bat Boy: The Musical is winging its way to Denver's Theatre on Broadway, where it opens this Saturday. After seeing the Gotham production -- the show was written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, with lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe -- local actor Nicholas Sugar decided he had to bring the mutant mammal's chronicles home. "As soon as I saw it, I knew this had to come to our theater," says Sugar, who will play the pointy-eared protagonist. "We really like to do cutting-edge stuff. We want to push the envelope and challenge Denver audiences. Bat Boy was a perfect fit."
Bat Boy: The Musical
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 1, Theatre on Broadway, 13 South Broadway, $25, 303-777-3292 , www.theatregroup.org
Directed by Steven Tangedal, with a musical score that runs from hip-hop to gospel, Bat Boy strives to be more than just a new generation of comic horror. Rather, it's the twisted story of a lonely oddball who struggles to be accepted into the mainstream. Along the way, a moral unfolds that could tempt any critter, winged or otherwise. "The overall message is very powerful -- it's about acceptance," says Sugar. "We, as a community, are afraid of the unknown. We need to face our fears and accept people for their differences."
Like any good bat tale, the play includes blood and gore mixed with morbid laughs. Notes Sugar: "It's a very witty and dark comedy -- with a bite."