‘Tis the Season With Laughs
Written By: Damon Gonzalez
Photographed By: Bryan Carpender Musical Parody of Home Alone
What better way to shake off holiday stress than with food, drink and musical theater. For a night of campy fun set to holiday classics and contemporary pop hits check out “The Unauthorized Musical Parody (UMPO) of Home Alone, ” live at Rockwell: Table & Stage, now through Jan. 1, 2017.
The musical comedy “UMPO Home Alone” playfully pokes fun at the John Hughes ‘80s classic Christmas movie Home Alone. The image of a young Macaulay Culkin splashing on after shave and letting out the loudest scream ever while embracing his adorable face is forever embedded in pop culture memory.
Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, hilariously parodied by Gwen Hollander and Caitlyn Gallog (alternatively) will bring tears to your eyes like a laughing emoji. Kevin portrayed by a high-pitched voiced woman wearing a blond wig and red sweater is equally quirky as the wise-ass kid Culkin. But that adds to “UMPO Home Alone’s” charm and makes the show feel like a playful walk down memory lane.
As the large McCallister family scrambles to catch their flight to Paris for Christmas vacation the interaction between Kevin, his parents and extended family is pure chaos. As an alarm sounds, 12 p.m. is boldly projected on the wall over the band—the McCallister’s are late. You would think someone in the family would have noticed Kevin’s absence. Especially, after a head count. But Kevin is accidentally left home alone.
Kevin sees this as an opportunity to play adult. The room darkens, except for a lone spotlight on stage. This is Kevin’s moment. An opportune time to belt out Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent.” In addition to Kevin being referred to as a “transgendered child, ” it is one of the many winky-eyed moments of the evening.
All seems fine for little Kevin. That is until a couple of thieves try to break into the family’s upper middle class home. As it turns out, the burglars are no match for the quick-witted, pre-pubescent rugrat. Based on their song and dance moves, a career on Broadway would perhaps be more fitting.
A runway through the main dining area adds an in-your-face effect to the whimsical cat and mouse act between Kevin and the wannabe burglars played by Damon Gravina and Spencer Strong Smith. The entire room becomes the stage, with the actors running frantically from corner to corner.
Steady musical numbers like a full cast rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas, ” turns the camp meter to high—a perfect time for the audience to sing along, literally getting into the act. One of the highlights of the evening was an all out dance breakdown of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself, ” accompanied by a strobe light. After a few drinks, I wasn’t sure how this played into the narrative, but it really didn’t matter because it was pure awesomeness.
Die-hard theater and musical lovers will not be disappointed. However, you may want to pack Advil for an unsuspecting guest. The optics of the small room make the 10 minute intermission a welcome pause.
Marla Mindelle is a standout as Kevin’s mom, strutting the classic ‘80s teased hair and shoulder pads. Her passion for performance is strongly noticed among the clinking of silverware.
The cast is backed by an on-point house band lead by Musical Director Gregory Nabours gives the show its vibrant pulse. Audience interaction; bring it. Sing-a-longs, selfies and Instagram videos are encouraged. Texting is not.
The Rockwell makes for an intimate setting as the air fills with familiar smells of burgers and truffle fries. Laugh-out-loud smiles make for a cozy atmosphere.
Tickets are on sale now through Jan. 1, along with additional weekend matinee performances. For more information, call 323.669.1550 or visit www.rockwell-la.com *Suitable for ages 15 and up with parental discretion.
Rockwell Table & Stage
1714 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Rockwell Table & Stage Brings the Laughs Once Again