Review "STARSHIP": Phenomenal Phenomena!

StarKid Productions presents

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STARSHIP
At the Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted
Book by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, Brian Holden, Joseph Walker
Music and lyrics by Darren Criss
Directed by Matt Lang
Nightly performance at 7pm
*No performance February 16th
Thru February 23rd
SOLD OUT with day of ticket availability
Running Time:  Three hours and thirty minutes with a fifteen minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

 Wannabee Starship Ranger rescues girl from alien invasion.  Instead of planting the egg, he plants the seed for romance. Following the impregnation liberation, she is blinded with gratitude and a mucus mask.  Their match-made-in-space may survive her being a dumb blonde but he's a pest.  Seriously,  dude is a bug.  StarKid Productions presents the world premiere musical STARSHIP.  In a galaxy far, far away, Bug has spent his entire life pouring over space exploration propaganda from a starship's wreckage.   Unlike the other hive creepy-crawlers, Bug wants something more than the Overqueen's life sentence for him.  When humans return to the planet, Bug seizes the day to 'kick it up a notch.'  Bug joins the Starship Rangers.  When his comrades are threatened by man-eating vermin, an alienation-focused robot and evil Rangers, it takes a Bug to man up!  STARSHIP is a high-energy, sci-fi musical with plenty of action, laughter and most of all heart.

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Even before blast-off, the electric-magnetic atmosphere indicates there is a lot of life on THIS planet.  Through a savvy internet presence, StarKids Productions has already secured a cult following.   56 million views on YouTube!  Filling a 150-seat theatre with an inkling of fans is effortless.  And these fans are fanatics!  This next generation of trekkie-types generate a vibe of adoration for space exploration.  Because these StarKid-Rockers fell in love online, company memorabilia is a hot commodity.  Some of the mostly 16-24 year olds even sport handmade t-shirts with homage to the StarKids.  During the performance, each company member's first appearance on stage is greeted with thunderous applause and cheers.  Throughout the 3.5 hour show, StarKid-Rockers continue to enthusiastically respond.  Evil reveals prompt loud auditory gasps.  Love declarations initiate an 'awwwwww' chorus.   The appeal is contagious.  The colorful puppet pageantry combined with larvae infestation jokes are scientifically-proven to entertain the masses.  To keep it less 'High School Musical' and more 'Rocky Horror Picture Show,' STARSHIP goes PG-13 with a little weed and bug-muff diving humor.         

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Imagine 'Aliens,' 'Avatar,' and 'Bug' beamed to Chicago.  During the re-materialization process, they coagulate in a Glee-ified mass.  Spoofing multiple science fiction flicks, the STARSHIP writing team writes the book on lampoon musical.  And THIS book is huge!  The four writers entertain with their creative fusion of numerous secondary storylines.  The writing is cohesive and hilarious but it's long.  The foursome needs to space-pack it into a shorter show.  Losing anything that doesn't have gravity to the primary plot will provide the support system to sustain alien life...for a long time.  Director Matt Lang smoothly paces the marathon with plenty of dazzling musical numbers.   The music composed by Darren Criss, KidStar company and 'Glee' cast member, is pure lively pop.  The multi-talented ensemble wrangles the audience into their well-built nest.  They bug it up, dance it off, and slapstick it on.  I don't know if it's the saliva or the excreta, the sensation is mind-numbing pleasure.  Sure in 3.5 hours, the cast hits some flat notes and insect shticks over-buzz but overall this STARSHIP is a phenomenal phenomena!

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Enamored by the makings and the fixings, Joshua Volkers describes the show with 'brilliant but long.'

Production Photography courtsey of Chris Dzombak.

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