by Charles Strouse 
and Lee Adams

A Musical Comedy!
Last summer Off the Wall Theatre had such a hit with their production of The Rocky Horror Show, that they decided to present another fun filled musical pastiche in a similar vein.  They assembled the same cast to present  the Broadway musical IT’S A BIRD…IT’S A PLANE…IT’S SUPERMAN. This fast, funny, show was written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the same team who created  BYE BYE BIRDIE, and it combines what the critics have called one of the best scores ever for a Broadway show with clever, sometimes caustic humor.  The show abounds with pop songs, dance numbers, even an extensive choreographed fight sequence during which Superman takes on a hoard of tumbling Ninjas. 

Our hero, disguised at meek and mild Clark Kent, faced super sized problems in the show. Dr. Abner Sedgewick, a mad scientist has decided to break Superman both mentally and physically. He used: a Chinese acrobatic team; a futuristic computer; Max Menkin a sleezy ambitious news reporter; and even a mysterious nuclear device to stop the man of steel.  Lois Lane found herself hanging upside down, singing while hanging over a shark infested tank, and all Metropolis was in danger. 

And talk about special effects!  The tiny intimate Off the Wall Theatre  pulled out all the stops. A subway car crashed through the Metropolis pavement, a computer blew up and spewed soap suds into the audience, Superman crashed through walls and stoped a bank robbery, and did it while singing to boot!  The audience was encouraged to cheer the hero and boo the villain and contribute to the show at various key moments. 

And what about that Rocky Horror show cast? How were they employed in Superman?  Well Superman himself was played by Joseph Fransee, who played Brad in TRHS. Lois Lane was Sharon Rise who played Janet last summer. Robert Hirschi, who was Riff Raff, here played Dr. Abner Sedgewick. And Karl Miller who played Frankenfurter, played the singing, dancing, crooked Newspaper reporter, Max Menkin. Kristin Pagenkopf who stunned everyone last year as Columbine, here stole the show as Sidney, the devoted secretary singing and dancing the show stopping “YOU’VE GOT POSSIBILITIES.”

Director Dale Gutzman added his personal Off The Wall touch to this very funny show, and musical Director Chris Wszalek  put together a top notch band. Set designer David Roper built a marvelous folding cartoon set that included, offices, street scenes, a science lab, and tons of gimmicks, not mention the necessary phone booth. 

The entire Rocky gang was back with another laugh a minute totally environmental  production. 

July/August 2005