If you’re in the Los Angeles area and were watching thrasher flicks in the 90’s, you may have heard that the iconic I Know What You Did Last Summer: The Unauthorized Musical is back after a very successful run of the show last year. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the jukebox musical and let me tell you about it!
Let’s start with the positives! The show heavily features new arrangements of our favorite 90’s tunes. From the almost obligatory “Creep” by Radiohead to every fangirl’s favorite “I Want You Back” by The Backstreet Boys, they had something for every 90’s child. I especially liked their rendition of “Zombie” by The Cranberries. While every song was instantly recognizable, they were given a fresh take with the help of the show’s musical director Ben Stanton, arranger Elmo Zapp, and their tight band. Each song transitioned beautifully into the next and kept the pace of the show flowing. There were scenes where characters would weave their different stories together by singing mashups of a couple of different songs. My favorite of the night was Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” with Imogen Heap’s “Getting Scared”. Both songs instantly transported me back in time and worked with the scene perfectly. I’m a big fan of mashups and loved them in this show—except for one. In one of the most pivotal heart-wrenching scenes every character was singing something different. In this one number, I felt it was too much and created more cacophony than drama. For the most part, however, the music was lively and well thought out. With almost no breaks in music, it felt like a fun nostalgic pop/rock opera!
Every member of the cast had an exceptional voice and brought their A game to the performance. Two of the actors, Alli Miller and Connor Weil, surprised the audience by playing multiple roles. Weil played the Fisherman who had his face covered by a hood for the majority of the time. This allowed him to easily take on more roles. Weil also played the beauty pageant host and other roles. Miller played both Elsa and, my personal favorite, Sunny. I honestly did not know they were played by the same person until afterward when I was researching the actors. Her treatment of Sunny gave me life as she fully invested in the ridiculousness of the character!
As fun as this show is, however, it wasn’t without its pitfalls. As someone who has always been a total weenie when it comes to the horror/slasher films, I had only a very basic understanding of the plot when I stepped into the theater. I have to say, I had about the same level of understanding when I left. There were two main reasons for this. The first reason is roughly half the show takes place in the middle of the audience. The theater is set up with two rows of tables in front and an aisle behind them where much of the story takes place. I was both lucky and unlucky to be seated in the VIP front row section. I was constantly turning around, and the effort did have a negative impact on my personal experience. However, if you sit in the back section, you will have a great view of 85% of the show (there are some parts behind the whole audience).
The second was the mix of the sound. The vocals were too low and were a little buried by the band. Because I Know What You Did Last Summer: The Unauthorized Musical is formatted as more of a rock opera, the music didn’t really stop and give the audience a chance to catch all of what was going on. For a room that size, I think not micing the drum kit would have been better. I experienced more of a song and dance act rather than a plot driven performance because of these reasons. However I am hopeful the house used this preview run to fix the sound issues and give the audience a real treat!
The show will run at The Three Clubs in Hollywood on Fridays and Saturdays until July 13th. You can find tickets here and be sure to do it quick! If last year is any indicator, the show will sell out. (Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for a special voiceover cameo from idobi’s own Mike Fishkin.) Don’t sleep on this opportunity to see the thrasher comedy jukebox musical of your dreams and get your tickets!