Who Is Dr. Horrible …and Why Should We Care? — Cabaret Lives on The Upper West Side

Review by Melody Breyer-Grell ~

The West End Lounge on West 107th Street is a cool bar that happens to feature a back room performance space, a rarity in those parts. And they serve food, which is a nice option for the teetotalers or the non-thirsty members of the audience.

Dr. Horrible is a bit more like a musical play than a “classic” cabaret act, which was quite all right with this viewer. Horrible, originally created by sci-fi television and movie writer icon, Joss Whedon (just a few of his achievements being Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly—it seems that he has written everything) has known many incarnations.

So, what do you uninformed readers need to know that thousands of internet fans are already aware of? This unapologetic satire of the “brilliant loner” vs. the “evil world” shows us that the geeks are winning. Or are they? Well, at least they are helping the motion picture business stay afloat. Spider-Man 20 anyone? It might just happen.

And now to our show. Dr. Horrible (J.Lawrence Kenny) has a mission in life. He must expose the oligarchy and get the girl (Elizabeth Scher as Penny) —the nerdy princess of his dreams. He needs to create and refine a deadly weapon, “Freeze Ray—Death Ray,” to make all this come true. Dr. Horrible is not as boilerplate as it might seem on paper. Be prepared to be quite surprised as things twist and turn in this charming little super-hero musical.

The physically, vocally imposing, and multitasking Tony Patryn serves as director, producer, co-writer and most importantly plays the corporate tool, Captain Hammer. He does battle with the surprisingly waif-like Dr. Horrible while the town’s people serve as a chorus, both literally and figuratively, as they comment on the battle between the two men.

As events melodically transpire, the cast members are all offered juicy bits of business. Scott Martineck, the Anchorman, is someone to look out for. His singing is Broadway-ready and his comic instincts are impeccable. This writer hopes he keeps at it!

The women in the cast use their voices to a good effect, with Scher sweetly warbling and Larissa McCoy as the Anchorwoman taking it up a notch with her bluesy belting.

A special treat is Jack Quint as Moist. He plays Hammer’s pathetically drenched yes-man with a deft creepiness, yet portrays an endearing quality that makes you feel sorry for the put-upon victim.

Do take a gander at the West End Lounge’s schedule (http://thewestendlounge.com), as this uptown (955 West End Avenue) room serves as a welcome addition to the neighborhood. And, be sure to watch some episodes of Dr. Horrible on Youtube, where you’ll see stars like Neil Patrick Harris as well as possibly catch some future stars in the making. Dr. Horrible will be back!