Trust broadway to produce a musical that is about a homosexual,half-lizard/half-human boy who is searching for love. While this sounds like a very strange narrative, it is simply an adaptation of many of the stories we know and love but with a hyper-modern twist. Having an lgbt+ Young person as the main focus of this musical is fantastic for both representation but also truly marks lizard-boy as an outcast as he is not only a lizard but a gay lizard. This makes the character very likeable but does slightly hinder the relatability to the character. On top of this, this show contains many references to online dating which helps make it super modern and relevant to the people who are watching the show. In general, the song in ‘Lizard Boy: the musical’ are more powerful ballads with serious emotional messages rather than flamboyant and over-the-top numbers and so if you enjoy that sort of music then this is absolutely the musical for you! Also, the songs in this show possess a lot of melisma and trills (more than I have ever heard in one musical before) with the words being repeating having very little importance to the story or themes of the show.
This show seems to me like a musical that could excel as an animated musical due to the superhero influences and modern references and I believe that have live-action performers may reduce the supernatural elements. The story follows a young man that after an interaction with a dragon at mount St.Helens (which is a sentence o never thought I would say) Trevor develops superhero-esque powers and abilities while also taking on the appearances of a lizard. Obviously, it would be very difficult to portray this on-stage and think an animated version of the show would really showcase the supernatural elements and play into the superhero influences even more. However, in some senses, I am glad that this is a staged musical as from the pictures I have seen the performers also play instruments in certain song which always impresses me and is an opportunity for the players to showcase their skills/talents.
What is unusual in this musical is the fact that the overture is an actual song titled ‘Trevor’s song’ which fills in the audience as to who’s who and informs them of all the important things they need to know to understand this musical. This is what a musical needs to do and it builds beautifully with the climax being the big reveal that Trevor looks like a lizard (right … yes I know this is obvious from the title but within the story, it’s a big deal.) This song being the overture allows the audience to follow the musical more carefully which is a fantastic inclusion. The following song “4th and vine” is the song in which we truly discover that Trevor is an LGBT youth with him planning a hook-up with a man he met online but this song is so ridiculously shortcoming in at a mere 30 seconds shouldn’t really count as a song in my opinion or it should have been fleshed out a bit to make a full song. One of my favourite songs in this musical is ‘a terrible ride’ sung by the whole cast with solos from Kirsten Delohr Helland among others. This is a beautifully performed song with stunning vocals throughout, this is a song I can imagine transcending the show’s legacy with it being performed at concerts and performances (despite the depressing nature of the song.) As it appears on the soundtrack is fantastic and I can easily imagine many talented performers taking on this show and in turn showcasing Lizard Boy.
The song that followed ‘a terrible ride’ is one of the strangest musical numbers I have heard in recent years. The start was very upbeat and energetic with a ukelele being featured which helped battle the seriousness of the show before but by the end, it turned into a horror-filled chaotic almost chant. This song fused together violent actions and imagery with cheesy musical theatre ideas to create a strange hybrid that actually perfectly encapsulated the idea of the whole show. Obviously, the idea of a half-lizard/half-human boy is a very supernatural occurrence with science fiction based implications and as this is a musical we are listening to I think this song titled ‘Recess’ did everything it needed to and fitted perfectly within the story. The ‘Woah song’ was another great song in this musical with voices all blending together perfectly. The creative team had managed to create a chaotic and overwhelming perspective into not only a young person’s mind but specifically a gay young persons mind which was really great to experience. Finally, the titular song “Lizard boy” is a bed powerful and emotional song that discusses accepting your flaws/being yourself. Obviously, we aren’t all human/animal hybrids but we all have something we try to keep hidden or are ashamed of and this song teaches it’s listeners to embrace what makes you unique. I can imagine this song being performed with the soloist and some sort of interpretive dance done in shadow lightening to trying hammer home the raw emotion of this song.
Overall, this is a musical that explores otherness and acceptance which are very important especially in today’s climate. It contains a lot more slow-moving ballads than I am used to but this show clearly has an emphasis on building emotion characters and their psyche rather than big over the top numbers. It’s very emotionally driven and clearly a passion project by its creators. I would rate this production 3.5 stars out of 5!