Actors’ Theatre’s production of “Reefer Madness” is hotter than a hit of Acapulco Gold, wilder than Woodstock and just about as much fun as you can have without breaking the law.
Thursday’s opening-night full house of about 250 thundered their approval throughout the show.
The musical satirizes a 1936 film, which was originated by a church group as a serious warning to parents about the dangers of marijuana. But there’s not a serious second in the musical’s frantic flurry of silly songs and outrageous acting. From the lecturer’s hissing admonitions between the scenes to the placard girl’s snippy warning signs, “Reefer Madness” is pure craziness. Even the wanton orgies are too overly enthusiastic to be considered titillating.
The story revolves around an innocent young couple, Jimmy (Justin Kilduff) and Mary Lane (Molly Jones). Drug pusher Jack (Stephen Grey) lures Jimmy into his Reefer Den where Jimmy meets others hooked on marijuana and embarks on a wild journey of self destruction.
Photo Credit: T.J. Hamilton of the Grand Rapids Press. Over the top: Actors' Theatre will present "Reefer Madness," opening Thursday. Pictured from left, Jordan Hudson portrays Ralph, Sarah LaCroix plays Mae, Justin Kilduff is Jimmy Harper, Stephen Grey is Jack and Sarah LaJoye plays Sally.
GRAND RAPIDS — Have you heard about the menace of marijuana? According to the 1936 film “Reefer Madness,” the deadly drug is “Public Enemy Number One,” a scourge of society. Just one puff causes uncontrollable laughter, followed by emotional breakdown, violence and incurable insanity. No mention of the munchies.
Although written as a serious warning to parents, the film is so overly melodramatic that by the 1970s it had become a cult comedy, inspiring a 2001 musical satire and 2005 movie.
“It is campy, fun entertainment,” said Chris Grooms, who is directing the musical for Actors’ Theatre that opens Thursday. “But it has a history. There are factual references, statements people actually made that show how ridiculous the fears were at that time.”
The plot is similar to “The Rocky Horror Show” in that a pair of young innocents are corrupted, but in “Reefer Madness” the couple are seduced by demon weed instead of a mad scientist.
“People who like ‘Rocky Horror Show’ will like ‘Reefer Madness,’” Grooms said. “It has a similar style. Both shows go over-the-top.”
Check out this great article from On The Town Magazine about our final show of the season, Reefer Madness. Tickets are seeing fast, so if you are interested in seeing this fun, campy musical, be sure and call the box office right away! (To contact the box office, please call (616)234-3946. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 1:00PM until 5:00 PM. The box office will be open from 1PM until show time on the day of performance.)
Pure Madness: Kyle Los, Justin Kilduff, and Molly Jones in 'Reefer Madness.' Photo Credit: Karen Waite
Published: Monday, May 23, 2011, 9:00 AM
The Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids has something completely different up its sleeve. The troupe is currently working on Reefer Madness, an unpretentious musical comedy that is purposefully over-the-top and outrageously goofy.
The musical is a satire of a 1936 film of the same name, which depicted exaggerated dangers of marijuana use in order to warn parents about the drug so they could keep it away from their children. The film Reefer Madness gained significant popularity only when it resurfaced in the 1970s and became a comedic cult film for supporters of the decriminalizing of cannabis. The musical satire premiered off-Broadway in 2001, with book and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and music by Dan Studney. USA Today wrote about the musical, praising it as a “delirious romp, which at its best reaches highs of intoxicating goofiness.”
Butoh, Ritual, and Authentic Movement
With Rachel Finan
At Fountain Street Church on Wednesday, June 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
In this 2-hour workshop, we will explore the fundamentals of Butoh, ritual, and authentic movement. Participants will focus on moving without pre-conditions using visualizations that come from our common humanity and archetypes. Participants will also learn techniques to stimulate and open energetic centers of the body, train the consciousness and the imagination, provoke and allow the natural, primitive impulses, inviting the body to feel and speak in order to create a “personal dance expression.” No previous experience is required and this workshop is open to all!