It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s a tabloid crotch shot… it’s an unfortunate cocaine habit… it’s an exclusive luxury inpatient facility… it’s a song about the Higher Super Power… Actually, it’s only the last four of those. More generally: it’s Superhero Celebrity Rehab: The Musical!
This hilarious and original musical comedy, appearing this year in the Capital Fringe Festival, follows Supernova. He’s LA’s most powerful superhero, wielding the power of a thousand suns, but the commissioner gives him an ultimatum: get clean of his cocaine habit or leave crimefighting forever. When Supernova checks in at the luxurious Origins Rehab Center for Superheroes in Malibu, he has a tough time taking advice from Dr. Bonnie, the savvy head therapist.
But Supernova struggles to work the program, along with his fellow residents. There’s The Great Fondue, whose superhuman powers of smell and taste have led him to morbid obesity. There’s The Scarlet Letter—her powers of superseduction can force any man to want her, but she’s developed some seriously unhealthy relationship habits as a result. A young sidekick named Critter depends on heavy doses of placebos to control his anxiety, and no one can quite figure out why Nightmare the Night-Stallion is in rehab at all.
…and meanwhile, back in LA…a wannabe reality TV star snaps and comes the supervillainess Black Hole, who swears to pull Supernova into total darkness.
The show’s dynamic duo of writers, Will Segal and Brendan Snow, first became interested in the topic when they themselves worked with adolescents at an inpatient rehab in Malibu. Snow reports that a non-disclosure agreement prevents them from sharing many specifics, “…But rehab is a completely unique type of community. There’s every bit as much emotional intensity as you’d expect. There’s also more humor than you’d expect.”
Adds Segal: “Before SCR, we had been working on projects, like a rap opera about Hurricane Katrina, where the tone and form were hard to explain. We wanted something that was completely straightforward and fun, but something that would require some art to pull off. A musical about superheroes in rehab fit the bill.”
The show’s talented director and cast are particular points of excitement for Segal and Snow. Brian Sutow, best known as the co-head of No Rules Theatre Company, is at the helm as director. Joshua Morgan, the other co-head of No Rules, is Musical Director and one of the cast members.
Supernova is played by Bill Coyne, a New York-based actor who first played the part in an early workshop of the show. Coyne forwent a (much more lucrative!) offer to play Enjolras in Les Mis in order to come to DC and reprise Supernova.
The show also stars Farrell Parker, Leigh Jameson, Matt Anderson, Vaughn Irving, and Dorea Schmidt. According to the Snow, “the level of talent here is totally striking, and it gives the show a lot to live up to. We like the tone of Spelling Bee, and we love watching Community and Parks and Recreation. It takes a lot of talent in delivery to pull off shows’ styles, so it’s the actors that make the show possible.”
Asked what’s kept them interested in the project, Segal responds, “It’s been wonderful getting to befriend these characters, really wonderful. That, and it’s an interesting challenge to get the tone just right. It’s a musical comedy, and the characters are outrageous. But we care about them, and we have to treat with respect the serious problems they face.”Superhero Celebrity Rehab plays at Gala Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square – 3333 14th St. in Columbia Height, in Washington, DC..
Buy tickets here.
The show’s website.
This production is presented as a part of the 7th Annual Capital Fringe Festival – July 12 to 29, 2012. A program of the Washington, D.C. non-profit Capital Fringe.