Through November 10
THE TOXIC AVENGER Shea’s Smith Theatre/Second Generation Theatre
An amazing number of plays and musicals are commentary on the playwright’s day, pointed, earnest and often incredibly dull.
Some are not only pointed, but entertaining.
The Toxic Avenger is a musical look at two New Jersey constants, government corruption and toxic materials, usually toxic waste.
Think what you see as a plane descends to Newark airport.
Here, book writer and lyricist Joe DiPietro and music writer and lyricist David Bryan tell the story of the mythical but pointed town of Tromaville, just off the New Jersey Turnpike (Exit 13B).
Here, the town is incredibly polluted and no one knows who owns the polluter The Good Earth Company, “Who Will Save New Jersey?”
Local nerd Melvin Ferd the Third (Steve Copps) decides he wants to know who is making the town so awful.
He heads off to the local library, where he’s in love with Sarah the Blind Librarian (Bethany Burrows), to find answers.
One of the running jokes is a blind person running the library, helped along by a wonderful performance from a singing and dancing Burrows.
She does tell Melvin where to find the town records, in a box labeled Ivanka Trump speeches.
Those records show Mayor Babs Belgoody (Jenn Stafford) owns the company and uses her goons to ensure no one argues with the company.
She makes it clear with “Jersey Girl,” accompanied by her thugs (Raphael Santos and Dylan Zalikowski).
They find out Melvin wants to know the secrets he isn’t supposed to know and they finally catch him and toss the advocate into a tank of toxic chemicals.
That’s supposed to solve their problems.
They don’t expect The Toxic Avenger to arise from the chemicals, turned into a creature altered physically by some wonderful mask and suit work from Lindsay Salamone and Jacob Albarella.
“Toxie” remains in love with Sarah, “Thank God She’s Blind.”
She can’t see him and he doesn’t want her to touch his chemically altered body, although there is “Hot Toxic Love” and the future.
This is a story of bad body and good intentions, “A Brand New Day in New Jersey.”
It’s fun and entertaining, carried along by some good performances and some good direction and choreography from Doug Weyand.
He’s working with some of the area’s best stage performers, especially an acrobatic Copps, evil Stafford and wild Burrows.
It’s all a pleasure to sit in the crowd and see what can be done to see to tell a pointed story while entertaining the audience.
That’s why “The Toxic Avenger is a show you should attend.
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