Spooktacular! Spooktacular! frightfully delightful, MileHighGayGuy 11.01.11


Spooktacular! Spooktacular! frightfully delightful

Photos and Review by Toby Click

It's a pity that Halloween can't fall on the weekend every year. Nevertheless, this past Saturday night at the Sherman Street Events Center, the Mile High Freedom Band served up the frightfully delightful 'Spooktacular! Spooktacular!'

There were actually two presentations—a kid-friendly matinée in the afternoon, and a little sassier version for the evening crowd (though children were still quite welcome). We opted for the evening performance.

In the hour or so before showtime, the auditorium was open to the "Bizarre Bazaar", where visitors could buy snacks, browse costume accessories, pose for photos, or (of course) go upstairs to the bar. As the band members took their places, a trio of singers—Dyanna Sacco, Ariel Cagan, and Seth Dean—led the crowd in rehearsal for a special dance number to be done later in the show.

The band started with a pair of cinematic Danny Elfman pieces: the Batman theme, and "This Is Halloween" from 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'. Then, a welcome by the MC of the evening, Ms. Eda Bagel.

The singers, dressed as black cats, slinked around on the stage, singing the kinds of songs you might expect cats to sing, including "Stray Cat Strut" and "Memory." Audience participation was strongly encouraged, as when folks were brought to their feet to dance to Edvard Grieg's raucous "In the Hall of the Mountain King." There were some season-appropriate TV themes—'The Addams Family', 'The Munsters', and 'Bewitched'.

The cats were not playing well with each other, though. As they competed for the audience's attention, the rivalry escalated until they were attacking each other with spray bottles and handheld vacuum cleaners. At one point, a pistol was pulled from a garbage can, and a gunshot caught conductor Rice Majors in the crossfire. As the cats carried his "lifeless" body away, Greg Ginocchio took over as Emergency Guest Conductor.

After intermission, the players returned to stage, now in costume. Devils, witches, Village People, they filed in one by one. And Rice was brought back from the dead to resume his conducting duties, at least to the best of his reanimated ability.

"A Night on Bald Mountain" was followed by a rendition of the "Scooby Doo" theme, where we were treated to a hula hoop dance by Randy VonFeldt dressed as Shaggy. Eda came back to present a raffle prize, with help from a costumed caveman who had spent his birthday helping set everything up for the event. 

A narrative about Dr. Frankenstein gave new depth to the song "If I Only Had A Brain". All three singers came to do a reading of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". The show concluded with a rendition of "Thriller", and the audience members who'd rehearsed earlier were brought back out to do the famous dance.

So 'Spooktacular! Spooktacular!' was a great mix of Halloween-themed TV and movie tunes, pop music, a bit of Broadway, and some highfalutin' classical. If all goes well and this becomes an annual event, Rice has promised that he'll die in increasingly creative ways. And what spooky musical numbers might we hear next year? "Toccata and Fugue"? The Cure's "Lullaby"? "Time Warp"? We'll be shivering with antici... pation!




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