From the creators of “Full House: The Musical,” “Bayside! The Musical,” “Katdashians” and “Show Girls: The Musical” comes “Beverly Hills 90210: The Musical,” the latest in Bob and Tobly’s line of loveable lampooning. After cutting up New York City’s East Village with its hysterical attack on the entire cast and the characters that ruled the 1990s, the show kicked off this fall’s Broadway In Chicago series with a limited engagement of seven performances.
Time is short to catch Brenda and Kelly wearing the same dress to prom, Dylan boozing his way to oblivion over a deadbeat dad, Emily slipping Brandon some “U4EA” at a rave and tons of fun at the Peach Pit, but for anyone surrounding 60611 who can picture those original occurrences, “Beverly Hills 90210: The Musical” is as mandatory as 7pm on a Wednesday night right up until Y2K came along.
On opening night, longtime fans and their curious (or coaxed) friends were treated to a bonus visit from Christine Elise, who played Emily Valentine on the actual program and assured the packed house it was in for a treat. Though being a regular viewer was clearly a bonus, it wasn’t essential to seeing Ana Marcu (Brenda and Emily), Landon Zwick (Brandon), Alan Trinca (Dylan), Seth Blum (Steve and others), Rob Riordan (David), Alexis Kelley (Kelly) and Caleb Dehne (Tori Spelling) turn in a composite of many memorable scenes and scenarios with a campy, often times completely over the top twist.
For instance, everyone always knew the famous zip code was full of big bucks, but “Beverly Hills 90120: The Musical” makes sure everyone is extra self-absorbed and shallow. Then of course there’s an assessment of the whole gang’s dating, drinking, drug intake and sex lives, which are naturally amplified to be the most dramatic and explicitly described (or depicted by puppets) as possible.
While much of the script centers around the fictional faces, Tori Spelling’s looks were exaggerated in drag and she was signaled out for less seasoned acting, shorter story lines and a nepotistic wink to the fact that her father Aaron Spelling was the producer. Nonetheless, all Donna’s high school pals rally behind her in the “Hamilton”-styled song “Will Tori Spelling Graduate?,” one of the many zingers on a list that also includes “The Ballad Of Andrea Zuckerman” (a high schooler who was inexplicably played by a full-blown adult on TV) and a cheer from “Saved By The Bell” hottie Kelly Kapowski (cheekily referencing actress Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, who appeared in each series).
Granted none of the selections are worthy of a Broadway cast album and it’s not like “90210” had all that much music initially (aside from the occasional appearance by pop stars of the day) but they do just fine filling in the blanks between the spoken comedy. That’s not to say the first curtain was perfect, most glaringly the microphone crackling issues in the second half, though the desk prop that actually broke and the prom sign that refused to stick to a locker actually enhanced the spoof by sheer accident.
In other words, this is an unapologetic, unauthorized parody in the purest sense that may not have the budget of a glossy blockbuster, but fits snuggly beside its peers and other recent visits from the “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy” and “Graeme Of Thrones.” Time is short to catch Brenda and Kelly wearing the same dress to prom, Dylan boozing his way to oblivion over a deadbeat dad, Emily slipping Brandon some “U4EA” at a rave and tons of fun at the Peach Pit, but for anyone surrounding 60611 who can picture those original occurrences, it’s as mandatory as 7pm on a Wednesday night right up until Y2K came along.