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Live Dr. Horrible Promises to be Exciting Premiere Performace

By Elizabeth Agresta '11
On February 17, 2009

As an avid T.V. watcher, I have to say I was pretty bummed out by last year's Writers' Guild of America strike, and I wasn't the only one. However, not everyone in the entertainment biz sat back and followed the moratorium on new scripts. Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly), his brothers Zack (a writer), and Jed (a composer), as well as Jed's fiancée, actress Maurissa Tancharoen, wrote and created a 43-minute musical, primarily for internet distribution. The three-act musical was released in parts, each released two days apart from one another, and gained a huge following with the online crowd.

Several members of said crowd reside here at Trinity, so it's no surprise that we'll be seeing it this weekend at Austin Arts Center, where it will be performed Thursday, Feb. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 21. The production, directed by Bryce Snarski-Pierce '09, with accompaniment by Professor of Music Gerald Moshell, features a small cast of talented actors: Sophomores Brad DeBiase and Ben Cooper as arch-rivals Dr. Horrible/Billy and Captain Hammer, Dani Warly '12 as Penny, their mutual love interest, and David Kimball-Stanley '09 as Moist, Dr. Horrible's henchman (whose name pretty much says everything).

The plot follows the exploits of Dr. Horrible, the alter ego of a young man named Billy, who wants to take over the world (and blogs about his doings throughout the show - hence its title). He falls in love with Penny, a charitable young woman who works with the homeless and "doesn't eat meat" (as the song "So They Say" informs us). Unfortunately, the strong-but-stupid superhero Captain Hammer falls in love with her, too, much to Dr. Horrible's chagrin. The two nemeses spend the rest of the show fighting over Penny, with some hilarious consequences (and some sad ones).

I think the strongest aspect of this show is going to be its cast. The story alone is hilarious, but it wouldn't be anything without the talented cast behind it. Even the minor parts, like the Bad Horse Chorus (Corey Stein '10, Peter Kempson '10, and David Caffrey '11) and the groupies and homeless people (Erica DeLano '11, Zoe Nageotte '12, Elliot Faust '12, and Tierney Nolen '11) are acted and sung well, and the main cast manages to blend the perfect amount of humor, musical talent, and acting skill. I was particularly impressed with DeBiase and Kimball-Stanley, who make up the evil portion of the cast. DeBiase manages to be completely adorable and endearing as Billy, and yet kind of creepy (and maybe a little sad) as Dr. Horrible. Kimball-Stanley really makes up a lot of the blatant comic relief during the show, what with his sweatiness - and that's without his similarity to Prince Herbert from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (at least in regards to his vocal talents . and his relationship with Snarski-Pierce).

Even though there are still a few days of rehearsals to go for the Dr. Horrible cast and crew, this definitely looks like a promising musical - especially considering it's the first live performance ever produced. Seats are limited, as there are only about 50 in Garmany Hall. Get there early - it would be horrible to miss out!

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