Saturday evening July 2nd, Joan Rivers was spotted in the audience at SILENCE! The Musical, the unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs, at Theatre 80, located at 80 St. Marks Place (between First & Second Ave.) The legendary comedienne/actress was the first to leap to her feet at the end of the performance, leading the standing ovation. Joan chatted with the cast after the show and she even offered some tongue-in-cheek advice to leading lady Jenn Harris regarding her first scene. Jenn replied, "You're an asshole!" The two actresses fell into each others arms dissolved in laughter.
Broadway favorite Brent Barrett and Jenn Harris head the cast of SILENCE! The Musical, with book by Hunter Bell, music & lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan, and direction and choreography by Christopher Gattelli. Performances began Friday, June 24th for a limited engagement through August 13th. Also featured in the cast of SILENCE! The Musical are Callan Bergmann, Stephen Bienskie, Harry Bouvy, Ashlee Dupré, Deidre Goodwin, Jeff Hiller, Howard Kaye, and Lucia Spina. Music Supervisor is Mark Hartman, with orchestrations by Brian J. Nash.
In the Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs, rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to catch the serial killer known only as Buffalo Bill. Clarice must face her own demons and race the clock to unlock Lecter's clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Bill. It's a hair-raising thriller that's kept countless millions on The Edges of their seats and permeated the pop lexicon with delightfully creepy quotes like "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti" and of course "It places the lotion in the basket." And now, at last, this delicate symphony of suspense has been turned on its ear and retold in the only way it can be - as a musical. A singing chorus of floppy eared lambs narrates the action; Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin; and even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he'd like to lead someday outside the prison walls.
Created by Jon and Al Kaplan in 2002, SILENCE! began as a collection of songs on the internet which immediately attracted a staggering number of fans. The Kaplans' subsequent screenplay SILENCE! The Musical was adapted by Hunter Bell into a live stage show, which also featured newly composed songs by the brothers. Fueled by a rabid cult following, SILENCE! shattered every box office record at the 2005 FringeNYC Festival, winning the award for Best Musical. SILENCE! The Musical met with further success in London where it garnered ecstatic reviews at the Above The Stag Theatre.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Silence of the Lambs.
Brent Barrett most recently starred on Broadway as Billy Flynn in Chicago and his other Broadway credits include Annie Get Your Gun (opposite Reba McEntire), Grand Hotel, West Side Story, and Candide. Brent received an Olivier nomination for his performance in the London company of Kiss Me, Kate (filmed for PBS) and he played a two-year stint in the title role of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular. Jenn Harris received a Lucille Lortel Award for her performance in Modern Orthodox. Her other Off-Broadway credits include New Jerusalem and The Understudy, and she is a frequent guest star at Joe's Pub: Our Hit Parade. Stephen Bienskie played Rum Tum Tugger in the final Broadway company of Cats and he received the Helen Hayes Outstanding Lead Actor Award in the American premiere of The Fix. Harry Bouvy played Sir Robin in the Vegas company of Spamalot and Carmen Ghia in the national tour of The Producers. Deidre Goodwin has numerous Broadway credits including A Chorus Line (Sheila), Chicago (Velma Kelly) and Nine (Our Lady of the Spa). Jeff Hiller appeared on Broadway in last season's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and his Off-Broadway credits include Baby Wants Candy and Awesome 80s Prom. Howard Kaye performed in the Broadway company of Miss Saigon and the North American premiere of Mamma Mia! Lucia Spina appeared in the Broadway hits South Pacific, Spelling Bee, Les Miserables, and Legally Blonde.
Bookwriter Hunter Bell co-wrote and starred in the Broadway musical [title of show] (Tony nomination). His other writing credits include Bellobration! (137th Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus), Villains Tonight! (Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment/Disney Cruise Lines) and Now. Here. This. (Vineyard Theatre). He has created and contributed original material for numerous benefits and events including BC/EFA's Easter Bonnet/Gypsy of the Year competitions, Broadway Bares (Wonderland & Click It!) as well as specialty material for the 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards, The Actor's Fund's 125th Anniversary Gala and NYCLU's Broadway Stands Up for Freedom. Hunter is a co-creator of the web series the [title of show] show and recently co-created and wrote the ABC pilot Glass Houses.
Composer/lyricists Jon and Al Kaplan composed the music for two seasons of the animated series Code Monkeys and scored the Syfy Channel film Dinocroc Vs. Supergator. They have also written comedy for the 2009 MTV Movie Awards and the 2011 Academy Awards. The Kaplan brothers recently launched a series of viral internet musicals led by their Arnold Schwarzenegger cycle, featuring Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Commando, and more.
Director/choreographer Christopher Gattelli choreographed the smash hit Broadway revival of South Pacific (Tony nomination), Sunday in the Park With George, 13, The Ritz, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, High Fidelity, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. West End: South Pacific (upcoming), Sunday in the Park With George. Off-Broadway: Altar Boyz (Lortel & Callaway Awards); Bat Boy: The Musical! (Lortel Award); tick, tick... BOOM!; 10 Million Miles; Adrift in Macao. Other favorites: directing the world premiere of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, Hair with Jennifer Hudson, Chess with Josh Groban. TV: Rosie O'Donnell Show (resident choreographer).
SILENCE! The Musical is produced Off-Broadway by Victoria Lang, Rich Affannato and Donna Trinkoff. The playing schedule is Fridays at 8 PM and Saturdays at 8 & 10:30 PM. Tickets are $38 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or through www.SilenceTheMusical.com.
Photo Credit: Ritchard Druther