Last night, I attended the world premiere of Creep, the staged reading of a musical about Jack the Ripper written and composed by local actor Donald Fowler. (I previewed the piece in the current issue of the Voice, here.) I told Fowler that I would not be attending with my “critic hat on,” but that was kinda a lie. I mean, you attend something, even as a civilian, you have an opinion.
I won’t go into detail about my thoughts here to keep my word a little bit, but the sell-out performance was, but general consensus, a hit. There are parts of the script that need work (which Fowler ‘fessed up to) and the amount of fog required by the book would probably lead to a worldwide dry ice shortage, but the songs — very Sondheim-esque, especially Into the Woods and bits of Sweeney Todd, plus a style evocative of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Phantom and Jekyll & Hyde — were gems, the orchestrations impressive, the thematic unity exceptional. For one local man to do all of this by himself on his first effort staggers me. (One theater vet approached me last night and said he can’t believe someone he knew personally could accomplish so much. He was floored.)
So, Donald, no “review.” Just a congratulations on a job well-done and best wishes that Creep has legs. I haven’t had so much hope for the future of musical theater since I saw Spring Awakening.
UPDATE: Although they are published on an open Web site for Out of the Loop and without any limitations specified (certainly I didn’t sign any releases authorizing the use of my image and several people have put up their pictures on Facebook), the editor of another Web site accused me of “bogarting” the photo of Fowler, so it has been removed.