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REPOST: They, Like, Know the Lines ‘Bayside! The Musical!,’ a Parody From Bob and Tobly McSmith

October 19, 2013

Bayside! The Musical!” offers some familiar humor for fans of the TV series “Saved by the Bell.” Read more in this New York Times article.

Along with a love of Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers and slap bracelets, Gen Y-ers share an almost aggressive nostalgia for the harebrained sitcom “Saved by the Bell.”

So perhaps it was inevitable: “Bayside! The Musical!” — a bawdy, ridiculous, unauthorized parody of the show — is now playing to feverishly enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowds in the East Village.

Attending “Bayside!” can seem like a midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”: there are many inside jokes and familiar call-and-response cues. And plenty of audience members dress up like their favorite characters. (Though the sartorial twinning at “Bayside!” is more likely a result of the ’90s fashion now rocking the racks at Urban Outfitters.)

But unlike “Rocky Horror,” “Bayside!” doesn’t rely on repeat audiences who already know the musical.

Instead, “Bayside!” acts like the sitcom’s second skin, utterly recognizable to every fan of the TV series. (And every audience member seems to have each episode fully memorized.)

Half the humor comes from merely cramming every ludicrous plot twist and trope into a two-hour musical: Zack’s inexplicable ability to stop time; the unlimited number of proms; moneymaking schemes involving spaghetti sauce or beauty pageants; Becky the Duck.

If Zack, spaghetti sauce and Becky the Duck mean nothing to you, fear not: Much of the humor is just good old-fashioned raunch, usually playing up all the horrifying ways to reinterpret a squeaky-clean children’s show.

The cast members are not all strong singers, but most are fabulous physical comedians. April Kidwell is particularly gifted as the high-strung pill-popper Jessie Spano. (This is a second Elizabeth Berkley parody role created for her by the “Bayside!” writing and directing team, Bob and Tobly McSmith; the other role was the lead in a “Showgirls” musical.)

“Saved by the Bell” doesn’t require a whole lot of elaboration — or exaggeration — to produce absurdity in abundance, but thankfully the McSmiths have given Ms. Kidwell a long leash to do some crazy, crazy things all the same.

Are you one of the  Broadway musicals fanatics? Visit this Louis P. Habash Facebook page for more updates in the world of Broadway.

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