A high energy musical premiere blasts onto the stage in the FrederickTowne Players production of Loserville. Excellently directed by Matt J. Bannister, with rocking musical direction from Matthew Dohm, and crisp choreography from Laurie Newton, Loserville is a West End musical with book, music and lyrics by Elliot Davis and James Bourne, a somewhat new brand of the youthful, power rallying revolution cry of Newsies and the message of solidarity and social strength combined through technology in Dear Evan Hansen.
Loserville takes a look at the lives of several self-proclaimed “dorks” in 1971 who are much more comfortable coding computers and quoting Star Trek than talking to girls. Michael Dork and Lucas Lloyd are working on the revolutionary concept of sending an electronic message or “email,” between two computers. When a new girl, Holly, comes to school and joins their computer lab group, friendships and loyalties are tested as the students in the 70s all fight to find their ticket out of “Loserville.”
Our main nerd protagonist, Michael Dork played by Jake Schwartz, is lovable and charming as he grows into his strength and confidence through the run of the show. Schwartz is very down to earth with some hysterically wry deliveries and excellent comedic timing.
As a strong and independent fellow computer nerd, Delaney White gives a feisty performance as Holly, Dork‘s love interest. White showcases powerhouse vocals and an incredible empathy and humor in her solos “Little Things” and “Long Run.” Schwartz and White also display some exceptionally sweet chemistry in their charmingly awkward love ballad “We’re Not Alone.”
In a very nuanced and conflicted performance, Alyx Greer is exceptional as Dork‘s best friend, Lucas. Whether spouting eventual Star Wars creation ideas in one of the hysterical running jokes of the evening or confessing his pain and loneliness in his solo “Holly I’m the One” while his friends move onto romantic relationships and leave him behind, Greer is outstanding.
Noah Haren is adorably dorky as fellow nerd Marvin, and Justin Patterson steals every scene he is in as a wannabe ladies’ man with his hilarious mannerisms and wonderfully awful nerdy pick up lines.
Summer Grove as Leia Dawkins gives an impressively sympathetic performance as the spoiled, popular school princess, especially in the quartet “Brains and Looks.” Charlotte Cooper and Sanchi Pandey are hysterical and individually bring neurotic and adorable quirks and character development to Elaine and Samantha, the other members of the school’s Mean Girls popular clique.
However, the most impressive performance in Loserville is actually not from the loveable dorks at the heart of the story, but from the story’s villain, James Downing as Eddie Arch. Downing gives an exceptional performance as the popular, successful jock in school who just oozes with charm and charisma while bullying and blackmailing the main characters, making him the villain you just love to hate.
Loserville showcases many high energy, full-cast dance numbers and an impressively large cast featuring Kody Ball, Zephyr Handerson-Copeland, Alexandra Gude, Sierra Prell, Tori Shemer, Zoe Alexandratos, Shelby Gibb, Kerala Bannister, Joe Lawton, Eva Mason, Samantha Rearick, Ethan Downs, Charlotte Gularson, Loraine Hamlett, Adelaide King, and Matthew Dohm.
Lighting design by Lindsey McCormick is a crisp and sleek design of neon colors and pulsing changes to highlight the emotional changes of the characters, especially in the powerfully staged number “Sick.” Costumes by Stephanie Hyder celebrate the delightful patterns and styles of the 70s with many obvious nods to the sci-fi culture our main characters are engulfed in.
For an infectious mix of 70s nostalgia and humorously ironic pop culture predictions in a musical celebrating how great it is to be both a geek and true to yourself, don’t miss Loserville with the FrederickTowne Players.
Loserville plays through February 9, 2020, with The FrederickTowne Players, performing at The Jack B. Kussmaul Theater at Frederick Community College, 7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD. Call for tickets at (240) 315-3855 or buy tickets online.