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 PotterÂ 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 GriffinÂ 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 musicÂ – managed to raise over $3,000 for the charityÂ 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 MusicalÂ blows through all four books in less than two hours, smartly spending the most time on Edward and Bella’s burgeoning romance fromÂ TwilightÂ and the cracktastic plot ofÂ 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);Â Colin HanlonÂ (Rent, Wicked)Â and Jared ZirilliÂ (Aida, Rent) upped the kitschiness to mock Edward and Jacob’s snarling feud over Bella.