In a town that's a cross between Footloose and Urinetown where stalking avoids the human touch that causes love, a stranger sets the land a-blaze when he teaches of love. In the absurd little musical comedy Stalker the Musical, with book and lyrics by David Russell and Alex Giles and music by Andy Peterson, the people in this is neighborhood, shoved away in another dimension, only know about admiring from afar because love hurts when it’s too close. Stalker the Musical brings the funny. Stalking, as a practice, is extremely taboo yet when you break down the “art”, it’s quite hilarious. And creepy, of course. With a smart concept to play on, Stalker seems to borrow many themes and ideas from well-known musicals, though rarely acknowledging them. The musical is no doubt campy and over-the-top but it suffers from too much plot. To begin, The Stranger stumbles into the stalker town. His memory is limited but what he does remember is love. And then two stories veer off. First is The Stranger telling Jay Cloudstreet of this sensation of love to discover that Jay has been in love with his favorite stalkee Ava. They end up falling in love but the rules of the town prevent them from actually being in love so they are banished to a mysterious place called New York City via a portal by the Mayor and Henrietta Pleasureberry, the lady who runs the local peep show. We then watch Jay and Ava struggle to be in love in the real world. The second story follows the Stranger as he discovers he is falling for the meek Fanny, a local girl. To prove the dangers in love, Pleasureberry sets a deal with the Stranger a la Pygmalion. The pair ends up falling in love while inspiring the rest of the locals to find the love inside them. Sound like a lot? It is. The dual plots are excessive. And once we are in NYC, things just get too crazy and unnecessary. Trimming the fluff and reducing the subplots will be key. The music of the show is that contemporary Broadway pop sound. It’s fun and catchy filled with zingers. But there are numbers that could easily be eliminated or given to other characters to assist in the more important arcs.
It’s hard to say what Stalker the Musical would have been like as a full production. From what was offered, director Benita De Wit certainly allowed the tone of the piece to come through. The staging was a bit manic but again, the techless show could be to blame. The true hero of the production was Andy Peterson. While the actors had moments to go off stage and hydrate, Peterson stayed at his piano and sweat through the music. What we do for love!
Stalker the Musical is campy and fun. And with the heat of the day as an accidental assistant, it probably knows it needs to sweat away a few pounds of excess material. Regardless of the product, you have to reward this company for their passion to share their story.