Our Favorite Troop Leader, Phyllis Nefler, is Back!
Written By: Kevin Perry Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills
Photographed By: Bryan Carpender
The year 1989 saw the rise of Milli Vanilli, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and perhaps most destructive of all: the release of Troop Beverly Hills. It was a cinematic stain on pop culture that bombed harder than a B-17 on D-Day. From the ashes of its despair, however, rose an ember of inspiration. The Unauthorized Musical Parody was born. Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills
This wildly entertaining stage adaptation adheres (somewhat) to the narrative of the film, telling the story of shopaholic-turned-scoutmaster Phyllis Nefler, played with razor sharp ditz overload by Marla Mindelle. She goes toe-to-toe (or Louboutin-to-combat boot, as the case may be) with her nemesis Velda Plendor for status within the shockingly competitive ranks of the Wilderness Girls organization.
But, let’s face it: TBH fans (oops, I just coined a new phrase) aren’t necessarily sticklers for plot. It’s all about the ‘tude, and The Unauthorized Parody sticks its tongue firmly in cheek to skewer the source material and elevate the proceedings into musical manna. Classic pop throwbacks abound, populating the score with hits such as “Material Girl”, “Let’s Get Physical”, and mash-ups of “Kumbaya/I Will Survive” and “We Are Family/Fudge You” (a sugary spin on CeeLo Green’s NSFW chart-topper).
The aforementioned character of Velda is inhabited by (let me not overstate this) comedy dynamo and national treasure Drew Droege. If you’ve never seen his take on Chloe Sevigny, do yourself a favor and scoot over to YouTube. Don’t worry, we can wait… Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills
Droege tears into the role, at one point bemoaning the fact that the town of Barstow only bought 100 “baxes” of cookies. “Apparently, Tagalongs don’t mix well with meth!” Nothing can deter him from his assault on the audience’s funny bone—not even the audience itself. When a patron accidentally dropped his butter knife loudly during one performance, Droege aimed his riding crop at the offender and barked, “Fail!” like a righteous drill sergeant clad in sunflower gear. Don’t mess with Velda. Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills
But this isn’t a one wo/man show; the cast is an embarrassment of comedic and vocal riches. Lindsay Pearce and Gwen Hollander honor Heart’s “Alone” as a lesbian ballad for the ages. In the climactic courtroom scene, Mindelle and Constantine Rousouli turn “I Will Always Love You” into a sparring showcase of melodic flourishes. And Katherine Tokarz “dabbling with bulimia” as Annie Herman even had her fellow castmates cracking up at this particular show. Musical Parody of Troop Beverly Hills
Perhaps the biggest standout of the night was Lana McKissack in the dual roles of Rosa and Lily Tso. From the moment she piped up in the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” sequence, the crowd took note. This girl can sing, we all thought. Then, when McKissack announced that she was playing an Asian role because the casting director had never actually met a Chinese person, we all thought, This girl is funny, too!
Humor, harmony, heart—the hallmarks of great (and alliterative) musical theater. To experience the new (and vastly improved) Troop Beverly Hills for yourself, march on over to Rockwell soon!
Rockwell Table & Stage
1714 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Troop Beverly Hills is Back—With a New Look