Actress Fay Wray, with whom King Kong fell in love in the 1933 classic, is the presiding goddess of Scream Queens. The musical even features a song dedicated to her: "I wanna be like Fay Wray/ the perfect damsel in distress/ clutched in the hands of a big, hairy ape/ wearing not too much of a dress."
Kong's inamorata is often considered the first and perhaps greatest scream queen. So, it's not surprising that six actresses, who all are screamers, should pay her a tribute.
We meet the actresses — Alexis (Kate Abreo), Bianca (Kate Fleming), DeeDee (Heather Leonard), Nadine (Cathie Choppin), Richelle ( J.J. Rodgers) and Tonya (Lindsey Noelle Brown) — at the seventh annual "International GlamaGore ScreamiCon." They all hope to pick up one more role and emote one more bloodcurdling scream before falling victim to a monster or psychopath. Not the height of their careers, maybe, but it's work. "We're shaking our tits and paying the rent," they croon. And the fake blood washes off after the shoot.
Scream Queens is musical entertainment, and the distressed gals sing beautifully and keep you entertained. They sometimes involve the audience, inviting some on stage to audition as screamers.
The cast sings, clowns around and gives insight into their lives, particularly the hard times a curvaceous victim can sink to when the years start to take their toll.
"This little lady's stock has fallen so low, even her stalker has lost interest," one says. Another says she starred in the one and only topless production of Our Town.
We get to know the screamers in a more personal way when they comment on projections on stage. All starlets fall on hard times eventually. Where does an actress go after thrillers like Revenge of the Psycho Bimbos, Slumber Party Massacre and Malibu Vampire Vixens?
Scott Martin wrote the book, music and lyrics for the show. J.J. Rodgers gets a tip of the hat for well-paced directing and inventive choreography. Musical director Jonne Dendinger meets her usual high standards.
Most importantly, the cast brings a lively, poised imbecility to their glamour-gore divas. For film, Wray recorded all her King Kong screams in one afternoon. And for the musical, we aren't talking method acting, just good fun. — Dalt Wonk
Thru Oct. 17
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 2:30 p.m. Sun.
Teatro Wego, 177 Sala Ave., Westwego, 885-2000; www.jpas.org
Tickets $30 general admission, $27 seniors/military ID, $20 students