Nilo Cruz does Gabriel García Márquez! The Cuban-American, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright adapted Márquez's short story for a kids' production at the Playground Theatre, where sets are large and psychedelic and the old movie house is transformed, weekend after weekend, into a light- and music-filled wonderland of endless possibilities. In A Very Old ManWith Enormous Wings, a couple happens upon a winged man who has seemingly crash-landed in their yard. They keep him locked up in a chicken coop and charge curious spectators to see him. Some folks come seeking miracles from the apparent angel; others come for wisdom. All are disappointed, and none can say for sure the significance of the wings, save the old man, and he's not talking.
Ripped from the headlines of America's greatest newspaper, the Weekly World News, Bat Boy: The Musical tells the story of the battish boy-child known by London audiences as Edgar. His story deviates somewhat from that reported in WWN. Onstage, he never endorses Al Gore for president, never fights in Iraq, and never discovers Saddam Hussein living in a spider hole. Rather, he is adopted by a kindly lady in small-town America and dies an untimely death when he is unable to assimilate. It's a sad and lovely tale.
This is a luxe dinner theater experience. Just don't get the wasabi-crusted salmon. (Do, by all means, try the sea bass.) It takes about 90 minutes for the show to begin, and when it does, you realize the people who've been waiting on you all night are, in fact, actors, who take the stage with a gaggle of golden voices, Plasticine faces, and razor-shop songs that'll make you snort up most of what you've just eaten. Especially wonderful are "The Minneapolis Airport Men's Room Getting to Know You Soft-Show," which transforms Larry Craig's fateful, failed bathroom liaison into a dance craze, and "Burka Medley," which imagines fully covered Afghan Sunnis dancing around as closeted Broadway babies. Wrong and hilarious.