Earlier this week, we got to attend the staged reading of Twilight: The Musical, a fan-run parody of Stephenie Meyer‘s worldwide phenomenon. The project, which has been several years in the making, doesn’t just poke fun at the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle, but it also brings in Harry Potter characters for a commentary on popular YA books and what makes a compelling heroine.
Let me start by saying that this is a sharp, funny show populated with talented singers and dancers. Writer Ashley Griffin and her collaborators obviously know the series backwards and forwards, as the dialogue and songs especially are peppered with sly puns and references to obscure moments from the books. Yet it strikes the right balance by not alienating newbies… although let’s face it, nearly everyone at the reading must have been a genuine fan.
The musical was a success financially, as well: The one-night performance — plus the after party at Bar West End Grille with DJ Twist overseeing music – managed to raise over $3,000 for the charity Blessings In A Backpack!
We learned that while this musical has been in the works for several years, some of what we were seeing was completely new material thought up in the prior 24 hours of rehearsal. In addition to the eight actors — who winningly endured costume and wig changes to portray three times as many characters — there were five dancers showing samples of future choreography.
Twilight: The Musical blows through all four books in less than two hours, smartly spending the most time on Edward and Bella’s burgeoning romance from Twilight and the cracktastic plot of Breaking Dawn. Not surprisingly, the three leads were snappy and charismatic, yet they could also play the awkwardness of their characters for laughs. It’s exciting to see an actually strong Bella (played by Meghann Fahy, who made her Broadway debut in Next to Normal); Colin Hanlon (Rent, Wicked) and Jared Zirilli (Aida, Rent) upped the kitschiness to mock Edward and Jacob’s snarling feud over Bella.