Fringe 2019 Review: 'A Showgirls Musical'

Johnnie Maier and Eddie Gomez, the producing pair behind the hit Fringe musicals S#IT and ThanksKilling, have gone diving in the discount DVD bin again, and this year they’ve dug up a doozy: A Showgirls Musical, based on the infamously awful 1995 Paul Verhoeven film. Fringe favorite Jillian Gizzi lights up the stage as Elizabeth Berkley’s career-killing character Nomi, a fresh-faced dancer moves to Las Vegas with dreams of someday starring in a show where spectators don’t spooge on her.

Nomi's road to Strip stardom is studded with synth-pop songs about being “a shiny slutty jewel,” as she struts around insisting to all that she’s “not a whore.” Much like the movie, the musical’s highlight (or low point, depending on how you look at it) is Nomi’s absurd swimming pool sex with a skeevy show director (Tripp Karrh), complete with dancing fabric water and inflatable palm trees. But that silly sequence proves the exception in a production that (at least during the press preview) is hampered by slow pacing, forgettable music and unpolished performances.

Joe Eszterhas’ original screenplay wasn’t big on subtext, but this adaptation by David Cerda and Jeff Thomson simply ticks off plot points while laying out all the innuendo spread eagle-style, seasoned with a gratuitous sprinkling of the C-word. Director-choreographer Michelle Alagna fills the stage with formations fit for Caesars Palace, but despite some strong dancers in the company, the musical numbers never feel fully in sync, with pitchy vocals and inconsistent timing.

JMEG Theatrical’s previous parodies were knee-slappers for both those in the know and the uninitiated. Unfortunately, aside from a handful of meta gags (like a showstopping Saved by the Bell reference), there isn’t much meat to their mocking of Showgirls. The original movie is only memorable because the people making it honestly thought they were making an epic big-budget drama; by stripping the story down to its schlocky skivvies in a sea of obvious laughs, A Showgirls Musical somehow manages to make ta-tas tedious.

A Showgirls Musical

JMEG Theatrical
Winter Garden FL
Ages 18 and up
60 minutes
Friday, May 17th 10:00 PM
Saturday, May 18th 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 19th 10:30 PM
Thursday, May 23rd 8:15 PM
Saturday, May 25th 6:30 PM
Sunday, May 26th 10:15 PM  
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