Student production of Dr. Horrible: Not horrible!

Dr.Horrible 1
After taking a bow, Klos, Miller and Schulman (along with the rest of the cast and
audience) watched Moist’s surprise webblog encore (performed by first-year Amy
Bernard)..

Originating as an online-only tragicomedy in 2008, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog” hit the Black Box Theatre (BBT) the weekend of Feb. 28 as a stage production. Adapted and directed by second-year and Resident Advisor (RA) Logan Starnes, the play ran for a course of five shows and drew a packed house every time.

“I decided to do “Dr. Horrible” because I thought it was really funny and I enjoyed the music – and people seemed interested in it,” Starnes said. “I asked a few people to be involved on the production team and it just sort of took off from there!”

“Dr. Horrible” revolves around the plot of an ambitious villain (second-year Trevor Miller) who wants to commit an atrocity grand enough to get him inducted into the “Evil League of Evil.” This is thwarted by his nemesis Captain Hammer (first-year Logan Schulman) who not only defeats him with each attempt, but also swoops in on Penny, the girl Dr. Horrible loves (first-year Meaghan Klos). Starnes rewrote the script to include New College jokes as well as allude to other pop culture references.

The production of “Dr. Horrible” had been in the works for two months before its debut Feb. 28, with auditions held in the beginning of December 2013. Starnes remarked that it was a challenge to figure out what trio of actors had enough chemistry to be cast as the main protagonists. From then on, rehearsals were usually held three times a week until the show’s opening night.

“The planning involved rehearsals that fit in with everyone’s schedules, building the set, reserving the BBT, getting or making props and costumes, vocal coaching and rehearsals, lighting design and editing of the recorded sections of the show as well,” Starnes said.

“A lot of the time we would discuss new ideas with each other on ways to make the show funnier or how we could work the play to fit what we could feasibly do, given the source material and location,” Klos said. “We spent a lot of time trying to make each other laugh and I think it really shows in the end. It was a lot of fun to create and put together overall!”

Miller said that while he too looks fondly on the show’s rehearsals, he admits that his character – as well as the play itself – was definitely problematic in some ways. The playbill that was distributed gave trigger and content warnings concerning violence, sexism and other specifics. However it also assured the audience that the people in the play did not condone such views and wanted to make audience members know what they were getting into.

“Playing Dr. Horrible was interesting to say the least,” Miller said. “I’m not really a huge fan of any of the characters in the show because they’re all pretty problematic. Captain Hammer is definitely the worst, but Dr. Horrible has a bad case of ‘nice guy’ syndrome and actively stalks Penny, so that’s pretty messed up. He was fun to play though and Logan [Schulman] and Meaghan [Klos], and I all have great chemistry, so it was awesome getting to work with them.”

Starnes said that this will certainly not be his last theatre endeavor at New College. He aspires to put on another show next spring with what he hopes will be an original script.

Of “Dr. Horrible’”s success, Starnes said, “I think overall the show went really well, I’ve had people tell me they really enjoyed it and others tell me they didn’t get a lot of the jokes or that they missed the New College references.”

Klos shared a similar view of the show. “I’m really glad that I was a part of it and that we had the opportunity to perform for everyone,” she said. “Additionally, thanks to everyone who donated or took the time to help with the making of the show. I’m just really so grateful for everyone who lent a caring hand to help the show happen; we really couldn’t have done it without your support!”

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