“God Hates Musicals” but Quite Clearly Loves Everyone

Presented by Ministry of Theatre
Book by Joe Creedon
Lyrics by Emily Laverdiere
Composed by Bryan Dunn

Directed by Joe Creedon
Music direction by Steve Sarro
Choreography by Jackie Simon

August 13 – 24, 2014
TheatreLab@855
Boston University
GHM on Facebook

TriggersSlurs, emotional violence, speaking in tongues

Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this musical and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Boston) The men who wrote the Bible (believe what you may, it was Man that compiled and interpreted the word of God) made it pretty clear that God loves us all. Jesus tried his darnedest to teach the masses that God loves us equally. Yet, despite these truths, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) actively refutes this. In fact, they go out of their way to tell anyone who will listen that, unless you repent, they are damned to Hell. The WBC pickets funerals and other events to convey their message. They believe that they spread their core message,“God hates fags,” out of love. Pull the other one.

God Hates Musicals is a parody based on and fed by the legally protected hate speech vomited by the gaping maws of the Phelps family and their supporters. Golden child, David Phelps (Bryan Daley) is questioning his relationship to God and the vicious dogma of the WBC. He meets intrepid but lonely reporter Jonathan Shamban (Brett Johnson) at a picketing of Ben & Jerry’s and his life is turned upside down. While attempting to reconcile his devotion to his family, David is tricked by Steve Drain (Dennis Hurley) into beginning an affair with Jonathan. Musical solos and dance numbers ensue.

It should be made painfully clear that nothing is sacred in God Hates Musicals: slurs of all kinds are used, jokes are cheap and frequently tasteless, the writing is blunt, Liberals and Conservatives get slammed. It’s quite charming in a deeply insulting way.  The audience is compelled to laugh because taking the script seriously, taking offense at the words of WBC would be to give credit to their epic tantrums. No one with the capacity for compassion wants that.

GHM is a parody but the kernels of truth contained are not to be laughed at. The Phelps’ family, like any family, has its ups and downs. By expressing them as people looking for an explanation for why the world is a twisted place, writers Creedon and Laverdiere lend them a dignity easily lost by the “liberal” lamestream media. The WBC is comprised of people who are just as lost and lonely as the rest of us. The main difference being that the majority of us don’t picket the funerals of soldiers to preach their message.

Logistics: It is difficult to hear the cast as the actors are not mic-ed. The balance between the voices and the band is off. Just as one would a concert in order to filter out excess noise, it could be beneficial to wear earplugs.

The focus of God Hates Musicals is on making the audience laugh. This means that at times the execution of other theatrical elements is occasionally sloppy. The artistic intentions of the cast and the creative staff remain clear. To this end, the production is a wild success. Go, laugh, don’t take yourself or the message too seriously and you’ll have a grand time.

 

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