The Toxic Avenger (musical)

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The Toxic Avenger
Toxic avenger.jpg
Show poster
Music David Bryan
Lyrics Joe DiPietro
David Bryan
Book Joe DiPietro
Basis 1984 film The Toxic Avenger
Productions 2008 New Jersey
2009 Off-Broadway
2009 Toronto
2010 Tour
2012 Texas
2013 Hawaii
Awards Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical

The Toxic Avenger is a rock musical that is based on Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman's 1984 film of the same name. The book of the musical was written by Joe DiPietro, its music by David Bryan, and both wrote the lyrics.[1]

Productions[edit]

The musical was first produced under the direction of John Rando at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey and opened after previews officially on October 10, 2008. The title role of Melvin Ferd the Third/The Toxic Avenger went to Nick Cordero. Audra Blaser played Sarah, and Nancy Opel played Mayor Babs Belgoody and Ma Ferd. It received a generally favorable press.[2][3]

The New York premiere opened at New World Stages on April 6, 2009. The New York Times called the production "exuberantly silly", while New York Post called it "hilariously funny". The show opening night cast included Sara Chase, Nick Cordero, Demond Green, Matthew Saldivar and Nancy Opel. Erin Leigh Peck and Nicholas Rodriguez are the original understudies. The musical closed on January 2, 2010 after over 300 performances, in which the production left for a tour across North America.[4]

Time–Life and the cast recorded and released the Original Cast Recording on April 6 in the New World Venue and nationwide on May 5, 2009.

Under Rando's direction, a Toronto production of the musical premiered on October 31, 2009 at the Danforth Music Hall. The show was produced by Dancap Productions. It starred Evan Alexander Smith as Toxie, Brittany Gray as Sarah, Louise Pitre as Mayor Babs Belgoody and Ma Ferd, Jamie McKnight as White Dude, and Daren A. Herbert as Black Dude. Peter Deiwick was the male swing and Cara Leslie was the female swing.

A production opened in January 2012 at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. The cast included Constantine Maroulis, Nancy Opel and Mara Davi.[5]

The show was brought to Oahu, Hawaii were it was shown at Manoa Valley Theater in September 2013. It was extended for two weeks into October 2013.[6]

Plot[edit]

Lights up on the most traditional of all musical settings - a toxic waste dump off the New Jersey Turnpike. As the citizens of Tromaville cry for help ("Who Will Save New Jersey?") Melvin Ferd the Third, an aspiring earth scientist, vows to clean up the state. Everyone is skeptical.

At the Tromaville Library, Melvin visits Sarah, the town's beautiful, blind librarian. Barely able to contain his unrequited love, Melvin informs her that horrible vats of toxic goo have appeared all over Tromaville and he is determined to find out who's responsible and put a stop to them. Sarah, turned on by his environmental heroism, asks to feel his face. He reluctantly allows her and Sarah quickly realizes that she is not attracted to him one bit. She points him to the official town records, where Melvin makes a shocking discovery. At Tromaville City Hall, Mayor Babs Belgoody expresses her unbridled ambition to become New Jersey's governor ("Jersey Girl"). But Melvin enters with evidence that will defer her dream - he has discovered that the kick-back happy Mayor is the person who is allowing Tromaville to be overrun by toxic waste. Thinking quick, the Mayor promises to change her evil ways and make Melvin her deputy. When Melvin leaves, she immediately orders her two goons, Sluggo and Bozo, to "Get the Geek".

The goons toss Melvin into a drum of toxic waste, leaving him for dead. In an incredible coincidence, Sarah happens to walk by on her way home. Never ones to pass up the opportunity to sexually harass someone, the goons taunt Sarah, who immediately faints. As she does, a large, terrifying roar shakes the air. And up from the smoking green slime emerges The Toxic Avenger, a large, green mutant with a hideously deformed face and a ripped, superhero body. The Toxic Avenger sees the unconscious Sarah and informs the goons that they're in deep trouble ("Kick Your Ass"). He then proceeds to rip them to shreds. The Toxic Avenger scoops Sarah up and carries her off to her pattern-challenged apartment. When she awakens, the mutant confesses that he's toxic. She assumes that that's a French name and she decided to nickname him Toxie. He is delighted until she asks to touch his face. He refuses, stating that he has horrible acne. Sarah then invites him back for brunch tomorrow, and after he leaves she phones her two best friends to brag about her smokin' hunk of a hero ("My Big French Boyfriend").

In the streets of Tromaville, Toxie pines for his love ("Thank God She's Blind"). When Toxie arrives home, Ma Ferd comes upon her transformed son and expresses her lifelong disappointment in him. Desperate for help, he goes to their primary care HMO physician ("Big Green Freak"), who sends him to Tromaville's leading ethical mad-scientist, Professor Ken, who reveals that the only thing that can kill Toxie is household bleach. Back in her apartment, Sarah is dictating a fantastic idea for a best- selling memoir ("Choose Me, Oprah!"). Toxie visits but tells her he can't stay long because he's on a mission to single-handedly remove every vile vat of toxic waste from Tromaville. As Sarah tries to seduce Toxie, he confesses that he's never actually been on a date with a girl. Turned on by his virginity, Sarah joins Toxie in expressing their newfound feelings ("Hot Toxic Love").

Down at the Tromaville docks, the Mayor supervises the unloading of a huge shipment of toxic waste. But Toxie foils her plan, and he reveals that he's actually Melvin Ferd the Third. Not one to let a superhero mutant freak get the better of her, the Mayor vows to destroy him. But to her dismay, Toxie quickly becomes a folk hero to the people of Tromaville ("The Legend of the Toxic Avenger"). The Mayor barges into Professor Ken's lab, insisting he tell her how to kill the mutant. Professor Ken refuses, but the Mayor overwhelms him with her incredible sex appeal ("Evil is Hot"). At Tromaville Beauty Salon, Melvin's beleaguered mother is informed by her two hairdressers - Lorenzo and Lamas - that her childhood enemy, none other than the Mayor, is coming to see her. Determined to find the whereabouts of Melvin, the Mayor corners Ma and the two women brawl ("Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore"). Back at her apartment, Sarah grows increasingly frustrated with her fruitless attempts to seduce Toxie. But with the Mayor closing in, Toxie tells Sarah he must leave Tromaville. Before he goes, he reveals his true identity. Sarah is flabbergasted but vows to love him anyway - that is until she touches his face, at which point she tearfully suggests that they both start seeing other handicapped people. Hurt and angry, Toxie takes to the street ("Everybody Dies!") and brutally kills an adorable senior citizen, Edna Ferbert. But the heartbroken Toxie cannot sustain the beast within ("You Tore My Heart Out"). At the library, Ma Ferd finds Sarah crying, but Ma convinces the sobbing librarian that her mutant son isn't that much different from other men. In an inspiring and beautiful moment of human understanding, they reflect of how "All Men Are Freaks".

On the steps of City Hall, the Mayor rallies both citizens of Tromaville to form a drunken, frenzied lynch mob. The chase ensues, encompassing everyone in Tromaville, until Toxie is cornered. But just as the Mayor is about to extinguish him with bleach, Sarah rushes in and fires several gunshots, every one of them missing the Mayor. Fortunately, one shot eventually hits the Mayor, but not before Toxie has been hit with bleach. Toxie crumples and dies in Sarah's arms. As the librarian weeps, Ma Ferd rushes in with the one thing that can save him- the most vile, disgusting liquid on Earth- a glass of water from the Hudson River. As Tromaville reacts with unmitigated joy, Toxie comes to and vows to kill all polluters and end global warming. And one year later on election night, Ma Ferd introduces the new first family of New Jersey- Governor Toxie Ferd the Third, his beautiful wife Sarah, and their adorable blind, green baby, Toxie Jr. All look ahead to a glorious future for their beloved state ("A Brand New Day in New Jersey").

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "Who Will Save New Jersey?" - Melvin, Company
  2. "Jersey Girl" - Mayor, Waste Management Executives
  3. "Get the Geek" - Mayor, Sluggo, Bozo
  4. "Kick Your Ass" - Toxie
  5. "My Big French Boyfriend" - Sarah, Shinequa, Diane
  6. "Thank God She's Blind" - Toxie
  7. "Big Green Freak" - Little Old Lady, Dr. Fishbein, Mayor, Professor Ken, Toxie
  8. "Choose Me, Oprah!" - Sarah, Shinequa, Diane
  9. "Hot Toxic Love" - Toxie, Sarah
  10. "The Legend of the Toxic Avenger" - Folk Singer, Toxie
  11. "Evil is Hot" - Mayor, Professor Ken
  12. "Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore" - Mayor, Ma Ferd
  13. "Everybody Dies!" - Toxie
  14. "You Tore My Heart Out" - Toxie
  15. "All Men Are Freaks" - Ma Ferd, Sarah, Shinequa, Diane
  16. "The Chase" - Company
  17. "Hot Toxic Love (Reprise)" - Sarah
  18. "A Brand New Day in New Jersey" - Toxie, Sarah, Company

Casts[edit]

Original New York[edit]