Inspired by the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film of the same name, this musical satire tells a tongue-in-cheek tale of the hysteria caused when clean-cut teenagers fall prey to the ‘demon weed’, marijuana.
Composed by Dan Studney and Kevin Murphy (Heathers), Reefer Madness is directed by Stephen Wheat (Avenue Q, Pippin) with musical direction by David Wisken (NINE, Avenue Q) and choreography by Yvette Lee (In The Heights, Moonshadow), guaranteeing a raucous ride of cheeky laughs from start to finish.
When wholesome high school student Jimmy Harper (Ben Adams) falls prey to the intoxicating drug and becomes embroiled in the Reefer Den, he is led on a downward spiral filled with evil jazz music, sex and violence.
The audience witnesses Jimmy transition from good egg to bad apple as he is drawn further into the clutches of the Reefer Den and the denizens that occupy it, despite warnings from his innocent girlfriend Mary Lane (Grace O’Donnell Clancy) – who soon becomes caught up in the marijuana-induced madness too.
“I am so excited to bring this seldom-seen work to Melbourne. It’s a real cult-classic and it’s so rare to find a show that takes parody to the extreme in such an original, fun way,” says producer Ryan Lewis. “The original film may be 100% serious when it tells you that smoking marijuana will turn you into a murderer, but the musical’s flashy numbers featuring Jesus, zombies and an orgy shows how over-the-top this hysterical musical is!”
Reefer Madness premiered in 1999 in Los Angeles, with the original production receiving five Ovation Awards and seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards before transferring to Off-Broadway. The 2005 Movie Musical received an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Music & Lyrics.’
“Like the 1936 film, REEFER MADNESS on stage smells like a cult classic” – Hollywood Reporter
Director: Stephen Wheat Featuring: James Cutler, Jared Bryan, Rosa McCarty, Ben Adams, Grace O’Donnell Clancy, Phoebe Coupe, Stephen McDowell, Priscilla Stavrou, Ed Deganos, Samantha Bruzzese, Seth Drury, Ashlee Noble, Daniel Ridolfi, Tess Branchflower, Alex Thompson Musical Director: David Wisken Choreography: Yvette Lee
Reefer Madness: The Musical
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 25 November – 4 December 2016
Information and Bookings: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au
Image: Mad Mary Lane (supplied)