University News

'Bat Boy!' comes to SUU

Published: February 04, 2014 | Category: Arts

In a hilarious musical comedy ripped right off the front pages of such “distinguished” publications as the Weekly World News and The National Enquirer!, Southern Utah University’s Department of Theatre Arts & Dance presents Bat Boy: The Musical February 6-8 and 13-15 in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.

Set in rural West Virginia, this award-winning off-Broadway musical inspired by outrageous tabloid headlines centers on Bat Boy, a deformed humanoid creature, who is discovered living in a cave. For Bat Boy’s safety, the local sheriff houses the creature with Dr. Parker, the local veterinarian, and his family. Aided by his wife, Meredith, and daughter, Shelley, the Parkers attempt to assimilate the Bat Boy, whom they have named Edgar, into his new surroundings. However, Edgar being “different” draws the town folk’s fears -- a situation that leads to a series of challenges for the Bat Boy. Content warning: this musical contains adult themes and language.

“I first thought, 'What a completely ridiculous idea'," Brad Carroll, director of the upcoming SUU production, explained of what he thought he'd find in the original Bat Boy 15 years ago. But the wacky and yet heartfelt book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming and vibrant music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe, co-composer and lyricist for Legally Blonde The Musical, won him over.

"What I discovered was a play, admittedly wacky, but full of intelligent wit, and daring to tackle such topics as bullying, prejudice, religious hypocrisy, murder and revenge, all of which ultimately lead to a message of forgiveness, understanding and redemption. It reminds me of the old adage, 'We don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are.' And this, in Bat Boy AND in life, begs the question: Who (or what) is the real beast?”

Carroll, who also serves as the show’s vocal director, is pleased to be working again with choreographer Kirsten Sham who staged the dances for last year’s CHICAGO The Musical. Joining them from SUU’s Department of Music is Dr. Christian Bohnenstengel, who serves as music director for the show. The design team for the production includes set designs by Brian Jude Beacom, costume design by Wendy A. Sanders, lighting design by Daniel Schreckengost, sound design by Nicolas Berti Pinegar and properties design by Shae Nicholas. Blake Louthan is assistant director and Bradley Jay Gowers serves as the stage manager.

The cast is headed by Joshua Durfey (CHICAGO The Musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) as the Bat Boy. The Parker family is portrayed by Brian Cota as Dr. Parker,Holly Barrick (Romeo and Juliet, Women of Lockerbie) as Meredith and Amanda Drayton (CHICAGO The Musical) as Shelley. Grayson Moulton (CHICAGO The Musical, King Lear) plays the well-meaning sheriff. Portraying a cross-section of colorful comic characters from the community, the ensemble features Tiffani Allen, Ian Allred, Tammi Colombo, Josh Hopkins, Sceri Ivers, Luke Johnson, Redge Palmer, Glen Reber, Tatem Trotter, Christopher Whiteside and Jane Wright.

Carroll has previously staged Utah Shakespeare Festival’s highly successful Les Misérables, Anything Goes and SUU’s acclaimed production of CHICAGO The Musical.  

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. for all performances. Tickets are now on sale: $10 General Admission, $8 SUU Faculty/Staff, $5 Youth and free for SUU students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased by phone, (435) 586-7872, at the Centrum Arena box office, or online at This production is also eligible as a CPVA Flex Pass event.

The 2013-2014 Theatre Arts & Dance Series includes the upcoming Journeys: Faculty Dance Concert and, in rotating repertory, the romantic musical The Fantasticks! and Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners An Ideal Husband. Tickets for these productions are also now on sale.

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