note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark
Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland
Lighting Design by John Malinowski
Sound Design by A. Stanley Gurzack
Wardrobe Supervisor and Wigs by Liz Fitzpatrick
Stitchers Morell Gardner, Liza Hope, Peg Carbonneau
Dressers Ashley Ayers, Sheilagh Cruikshank, Jeff Kerr
Stage Manager Susan Putnam
Peter.....Peter A. Carey
Neil........Neil A. Casey
Scott......Scott J. Fisher
How do you review a revue?.
"When Pigs Fly" may be the first show they've been connected with where you won't leave the theater whistling Janie E. Howland's set designs (a ruffly-flouncy deep green curtain and some light-strips) or John Malinowski's lights (bang-up-bang-down areas and some follow-spots) --- but you Will be whistling at Howard Crabtree's outlandishly hilarious costumes. Case in point: three stiffly sixteenth-century Frenchmen, in wigs (by Liz Fitzpatrick) as big as battleships strut about in the second-act opener "Wear Your Vanity with Pride" complaining of the pains it takes to dress dazzlingly. When Howland's curtain rises the other two in the cast, dressed as their lady-loves, are sitting in the wells of two dressing-tables, primping in invisible mirrors. For the final chorus these two stand, Wearing those dressing-tables as enormous farthingales! Crabtree's work has to be seen to be believed. And even Then..... ! (That of the Centaur is a horse-laugh and a half!!!)
The show is framed as Howard Crabtree's dream-autobiography --- his in-your-face revenge on the career-counsellor who recommended plumbing, watch-making, chicken-farming or gardening-supplies as his only career choices because he'd be a success in theater only "When Pigs Fly!: Well, even Howard's death from AIDS just days before the 1996 opening of this show cannot dampen the imaginative explosions of giggly gaga imagination that is his legacy to the universe. No one whose work is so fall-on-the-floor funny will ever be dead.
Mark Waldrop's sketches and lyrics set to Dick Gallagher's music keep up with Crabtree's imagination, but just barely. For instance there's a running-gag series of three torch-songs done by Peter Carey as a moony, disconsolate gay man bemoaning his luscious crushes on three famous unrequiting men whose names are --- Newt, Strom, and Rush??? There are three Elvis like-a-looks pierced in different bodily areas by Cupid's "Shaft of Love". There's a series of three mixmastered "Coming Attractions" for a small-time community theater trying to do new musical comedies on familiar themes like "Quasimodo???"
Probably homophobes should stay away from this show --- they'll die trying not to laugh. Anyone whose pacemakers might be thrown by a lot of laughing, clapping and shouting should be cautioned. Otherwise, you'll have to buy tickets quick, so you will know what everyone else at the party means when they say "...but you Said you wanted a big part where you can wear a boa!" and laugh at each other for the next five minutes.
The running time of the show with an audience is about two hours and a quarter. Without the laughs ---28 minutes, tops! And every second of it is astonishing.