Dave Dawson was in a line in New York City, waiting for bargain tickets to see a Broadway show.
A woman suggested he see Bat Boy: The Musical, and after establishing that this particular play was not about baseball, but actually something much zanier, Dawson decided to bite.
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It was 2001, and that off-Broadway production about a half-boy, half-bat found living in a cave in a small West Virginian town, made an impression on Dawson.
“It was one of those things where you just stumble upon a show that speaks to you for some reason. I like a show if I like its politics, and for me there was so much about how we treat each other as humans and what’s important when dealing with an outsider,” explains Dawson.
“I never imagined I would do it myself.”
But when it came time for Sock ’N’ Buskin theatre to plan its musical production this year, Dawson pitched the idea of Bat Boy.
Perhaps it was the blood, interspecies copulation or surprisingly catchy songs in every style from opera to rap. Whatever the reason, the company loved it and casting began in December.
Though Dawson has directed more than 30 productions, this is his first musical. And despite its intrinsically campy nature, he says the key was to approach it as seriously as any other play.
“I think you have to let the comedy happen. These are ridiculous characters in ridiculous situations, but what they face is real decisions about life, and if you play it up too much it won’t work.”
Dawson says he’s confident most people will recognize the surface “ha has” and the subtext of the play.
“It’s a fun and silly musical. The humour is broad, but it’s the serious issues under the surface that really make it an interesting piece of theatre, and I think the audience will see that.”
After covering hard news for a few years, Kim discovered her real passion – writing about the wonderful world of music, theatre, visual arts and literature.