Review by Brittany Crowell
Lizard Boy, a new musical hot off of its acclaimed runs in Seattle and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is performing through July 1st at Theatre Row on 42nd Street.
The show, running at roughly 90 minutes without an intermission, contains a universal message of self-discovery and self-actualization. Trevor (played by the show’s creator, Justin Heurtas), our protagonist and the “lizard boy,” is afraid to be a part of society. He’s scaly, and last year he was dealt a romantic blow as someone who seemed interested in him ran away when it was revealed that his green hue wasn’t a costume. However, this year, his luck may have turned with the charming and goofy Cary (William A. Williams) – a similarly lonely man looking for connection on grindr. Together, Cary and Trevor embark on an adventure, learning to overcome their fears and insecurities and step up to be the best versions of themselves.
Opposite of Cary, the angel on one shoulder, sits the devil on Trevor’s other – a Siren (Kiki deLohr) that has been singing to Trevor in his dreams. He rushes to see her in concert after discovering her ad in a newspaper at Cary’s apartment. Siren has been dealt a similarly tragic blow to the one rendering Trevor lizard-like in his childhood, however, she is leaning into her anger and resentment at the world, which is turning her into the monster that Trevor fears he may be.
The small cast holds this big show in their hands and voices with ease. The trio performs as both actor and band, playing multiple instruments while simultaneously performing the crisply choreographed staging and singing powerhouse ballads with rock-star quality. Director Brandon Ivie masters split scenes and fight sequences, utilizing theatrical measures to simulate larger-than-life superhero themes. In one particularly magical instance, the characters perform the show’s penultimate fight sequence utilizing instruments as weapons; as guitars and ukuleles choreographically swing, the audience gasps as if real knives are in the mix.
The theater is set by designer Suzu Sakai to simulate the grunge of 80’s-NYC punk venues a la Crocodile Lounge and CBGB. Posters are plastered on the back brick wall and the performers capitalize on space as a storytelling element – rolling road cases across the stage and stomping on platforms or utilizing instrument cases to create the show’s percussion. Trevor’s love of songwriting and doodling is integrated into the design itself via Katherine Freer’s projections of Trevor’s sketches on Sakai’s back wall. Light by Brian Tovar spotlights the comic-book styling and Erik Andor’s costumes simulate superhero garb with colored accents and goofy accouterments.
Struggling with his angel and devil influences, Lizard Boy is a modern fable about self-love and discovering the power that your weirdness can wield. It’s a story that feels simple and child-like in theme, with laugh out loud charmingly awkward moments of adult humor peppered throughout. Lizard Boy is a tour-de-force trio performance, featuring powerful rock songs, magically theatrical staging, and an uplifting, universal message.
Book, music, and lyrics by Justin Heurtas; directed by Brandon Ivie; music direction by Steven Tran
FEATURING – Justin Huertas (Trevor); Kiki deLohr (Siren); & William S. Williams (Cary)
Scenic and environmental design by Susu Sakai; costume design by Erik Andor; lighting design by Brian Tovar; sound design by Kevin HEard; projection design by Katherine Freer; & original production designby L.B. Morse. Presented by Prospect Park Theater Company at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street) thru July 1. http://www.lizardmusical.com/