The Martin City Melodrama Vaudeville Company usually stages original scripts, but now and then the theatrical pocket of homemade theater in the Metcalf South Shopping Center turns to outside sources.
And so the company this week opens “Completely Hollywood (abridged),” a three-actor romp by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor with additional material by Dominic Conti.
Their names may not ring a bell, but their home theater probably will: the Reduced Shakespeare Company. The outfit had such a hit with its first show, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),” that company members decided to apply the wacky formula to other subjects.
Thus, we’ve had “The Complete History of America (abridged),” “The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged),” “All the Great Books (abridged)” and other shows. They all follow roughly the same pattern: Cram an amazing amount of material into a limited amount of stage time in an over-the-top comedic style.
Martin City founder Jeanne Beechwood said that because the Martin City Jr. would have a children’s show, “Rumpelstiltskin Recycled” running simultaneously with the main stage show, she decided to find an existing script rather than creating a new show from the ground up.
“We have two shows going on at the same time, and we thought if we could find something that was already written that could be done in the style of Martin City, that would be great,” Beechwood said. “And so we bought a copy of the script and read it and thought it over and it seemed like it was just right for our audience. This is the kind of over-the-top humor we do all the time anyway. It’s got a million costume changes and three actors playing multiple roles.”
Beechwood is directing the show and is also performing it alongside Marcus Mull and Nino Casisi. Decades of movie history are crammed into the script (which was first staged in 2005), and some allowances for the changing times have been written into the material.
“You can update it,” said Dan Hall, Beechwood’s husband, who frequently writes the original Martin City shows. “They recognized that some of the movies when they wrote it aren’t going to be as popular now.”
The show is written as a 12-step program for people addicted to movies; it references 187 movies in all. The material requires lightning-quick costume changes by the three actors. Casisi for his part, seems uniquely qualified to perform this show. His personal film library — consisting of both DVDs and VHS cassettes — includes 1,600 titles.
Casisi plays the roles that would have been performed by the late Clint Griffey, a veteran Martin City actor who died in January. Beechwood said Griffey had committed to doing the show before he became ill.
“I’m proud to don a skirt for Clint,” Casisi said.Other news
• Egads Theatre, the alternative theater company that specializes in crazed rock musicals, opens “Zombie Prom” on Friday at Crown Center’s Off Center Theatre. Steven Eubank directs a cast that includes Aurelie Roque, Robert Erik Sobbe, Kenna Hall, Cory Dowman, Katie Meador, Noah Whitmore, Callie Ott, Matthew James McAndrews, Chelsea Anglemyer, Philip Russell Newman, Christiana Coffey, Jacob Bogart, Natalie Baughman and Dustin West. That’s going to be one crowded stage.
The show runs through March 31. Call 816-842-9999 or go towww.egadstheatre.com
• The Coterie Theater gives its production of the musical “Lucky Duck” a trial run at the Folly Theater at 7 tonight before taking the show to New York for two weekends of performances at the New Victory Theatre just off Times Square. The show, which the Coterie first staged in 2010, features music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Bill Russell. The cast includes Seth Golay, Jennie Greenberry, Katie Karel, Greg Krumins, Tosin Morohunfola, Kip Niven, Tim Scott, Emily Shackelford, Julie Shaw and Pancho Villegas.
Call 816-474-6552 or go towww.coterietheatre.org