San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 6th, 2009
"Bat-Boy: The Musical" presented by Texas State.

The tabloid stories of Bat Boy inspired the musical presented by Texas State.


The Theatre Center at Texas State will present “Bat Boy: The Musical” Nov. 11-22 at 7:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. The musical, based on a tabloid headline, has a history almost as odd as the story it tells.

The Weekly World News never failed to astonish readers with their bizarre headlines like “Dick Cheney Is A Robot,” and “Statue of Elvis Found on Mars.” One of its most successful story lines was based on a half-bat/half-boy found in a cave in West Virginia and dubbed, not surprisingly, “Bat-Boy.” The completely fabricated creature became a mascot, of sorts, for the tabloid, as the creature had adventures stealing cars or riding on top of a subway car in New York.

Enter Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurance O’Keefe, who take the sensational tabloid fiction and turn it into a dark musical comedy, called, again, not surprisingly, “Bat-Boy: The Musical.”

The musical, premiered at Tim Robbin’s Actors Gang Theatre in Los Angeles in 1997, where its popularity led to successes both off-Broadway and in London.

The story follows Bat Boy’s initial discovery in a cave and his struggles to make it in the world. The musical score is well seasoned with a variety of genres from rock to rap to ballads. The Texas State production is directed by Kaitlin Hopkins.

“You laugh so hard you cry–and if we are doing our jobs well–you will be surprised to find yourself moved to tears by this wacky world too,” said Hopkins. “The music is just a blast and the people of Hope Falls, West Virginia, are characters you want to spend two hours with. This show has heart, soul and a proudly deep, unique comedy style that ultimately blazed a trail for shows that followed.”

Hopkins, head of musical theatre at Texas State, won a Drama Desk Award nomination for her role in the 2001 production of “Bat-Boy” in New York. She said that performing in it has given her a unique perspective as a teacher and a director.

“It is very exciting for me to create the world of Hope Falls as I see it from a directorial perspective instead of just as an actor. But it is my experience as an actor that makes it so fulfilling to work with other actors as a director,” said Hopkins. “I think because of the connection I have to it, it has actually helped me to be more open minded in ways to re-imagine and re-conceive it. I think you have to know something so well that you can let it go, in a way, and then see what comes back to you.”

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students with a valid Texas State ID. To purchase advanced tickets, contact the Texas State Box Office at (512) 245-2204. For a full listing of all evening performances and matinees see the Newstreamz scene calendar.

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