In 1986, shortly after teen roller derby girl, Staci, is moved to a small town to salvage her future, a parasitic alien race crash lands in the woods and possess her High School's Varsity Cheerleaders. Now it's up to Staci, the town's bad boy, Dean, and their grandparents to save the school, their town, and the world.
A cabaret-style production featuring sexy cheerleaders, rebellious youth, evil aliens,
80s music, cabaret dance numbers and puppets!
The show stars The New Mickey Mouse Club's Tasha Danner as Staci.
Rounding out the cast are local film and stage actors: Greg Skelton, Jaime Langton, Illya Torres, Sean Lamb, Meagan McCarthy, Shannel Williams, Corrinn DeWaard, Dug Martell, Wynee Hu, MaryAnne Glazebrook, Cyndi Rhoads, Ithica Tell and Scott Engdhal.
Written and Directed by: Steve Coker
Poster Art by Scott Roller
Theatre Review by Jay Horton, Willamette Week, April 10th 2013
Varsity Cheerleader Werewolves Live From Outer Space started out as a movie, with a passably professional trailer starring Daniel Baldwin. That surviving video holds almost no trace of the rollicking charms or improvisatory swagger currently thrilling Funhouse Lounge audiences.
By shoehorning a feature-length screenplay into little more than an hour and making the most of an effects budget likely below two digits-laser pointer, Silly String and a moth-eaten cat puppet inventively serving as our cabaret CGI- Steve Coker sidesteps both the deadening rhythms of dated sci-fi pastiche and the high-camp artifice ordinarily infecting modern musical comedy.
With successive blink-and-you'll-miss-them scenes, the continually engaging and mobile performers stick each wry aside and own every cornball bit of exposition.
There's a two-fisted physicality empowering slapstick set pieces and heightening the violent flourish or eroticized assault. Punches connect, stripteases arouse and Bananarama synth riffs impart a genuinely disturbing malevolence.
The project couldn't possibly have achieved such heights as a motion picture, but that doesn't mean a sequel's not deserved.
Okay, it’s the mid-80’s, see, and this giant thing from outer space crashes into the earth, which houses these puppies and they…no, not a good start. Well, then, there’s these cheerleaders from a small town that chance upon this crater and…no, still not right. How about this, there’s this new girl in town who’s shunned by the elites from the school…damn, thought I could do better but the title tells it all. And the story is in perfect sync with all those grand B&W, low-budget, Sci-Fi/Horror flicks from the 50’s.
Probably the most recognizable film homage to this era would be The Faculty by Robert Rodriguez and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first, being a film about a school taken over by aliens, impersonating the students/teachers and the second, a campy musical spoof of that same age. What is nice about these plots is that they are all so familiar and, therefore, you don’t have to think too deeply about it. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
It’s obvious that Mr. Coker understands this, and is a lover of that genre, and the music/lingo from the 80’s. The plot does involve a new girl in town, Stacey (Brooke Totman) and her Dad, Daniel (Jon Ashley Hall); some snooty cheerleaders, who put a new spin on the word “foxy;” and a master race of aliens called the Crimson Order, whose job is to help protect Earth from the baddies. There is also the good-boy, stud-muffin, named Troy (Sean Lamb) who all the cheerleaders devour…I mean, desire. And the bad boy, outcast, Dean (Illya Torres) who eventually scoots off with our heroine.
If, as I said, all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s meant to. The purpose of a tasty spoof is to make sure that homage is also part of the formula. In this production, it is. The cast is also well-versed in this campy style. They are all spot-on, some playing multiple parts but all seeming to have the time of their life and, thus, so did the audience. I did miss an attempt at werewolf make-up but it would have probably been too complicated with this bare-bones setting. But as dancers/cheerleaders these young ladies are a definite—WOW!
Ms. Totman captures perfectly the blonde, teenage newbie and Mr. Hall is also good as her loving father. He had a large role in a local film made here called, Train Master (Train Master 2, and Crackin' The Code) and Ithica Tell is formidable as the lead, alien rescuer. She was recently seen to good advantage as the lead witch in Mile Post 5’s, Macbeth.
The costumes and music are very appropriate for the show. And the skeleton setting actually adds to the enjoyment of the show. I especially liked the puppet-cat named (are you ready for this) Cheshire. And the little hand-puppets as the alien puppies were a howl. This is a fun evening, folks, just leave your serious face at home.
It should be mentioned that this is going to be made into a film. A sample teaser is on their website. Also they do serve drinks and food, which adds to the enjoyment of the evening. I am a lover of this genre and recommend this play. If you go, please tell them Dennis sent you.
TROUBLED TEEN Staci has just moved to a small Washington town to live with her folksy sheriff's deputy of a father—from there, Varsity Cheerleader Werewolves Live from Outer Space dishes out a host of campy tongue-in-cheek tropes that echo Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and '80s B-movie sci-fi romps. This is not high theater, true. The show started off as an enhanced read-through for director Steve Coker's film script that he fleshed out with actors and sound effects, which grew into the cabaret-style production it is now.
The production played to a packed crowd in January at the Rialto's basement bar, the Jack London, and now it's back for a one-off night and a longer run planned for April at the Funhouse Lounge. And basically Varsity Cheerleader is perfect bar theater—it's clumsy and likeable and full of opportunities to drunkenly cheer (I can only assume this since I saw a dress rehearsal at an elementary school, which is a very dissonant place to see cheerleaders in lingerie). The shenanigans are held together by a great straight-faced performance by Brooke Totman as Staci, and there are a lot of shenanigans: stripping cheerleaders, scooter-riding bad boys, hillbillies, a creepy puppet cat, and an Amazonian alien commander. With Varsity Cheerleader's 70 minutes of fun goof, it's way more bang than you'd normally get at a bar for five bucks.