Review: Band Geeks: A Halftime Musical

Geeks get their freak on

Matthew Winer, Staff writer

The current production of Band Geeks: A Halftime Musical is a remounting of a comedy hit from last summer. This new production features a new ending as well as other surprises.

Set in Elyria, Ohio in 1989, the show opens as the band geeks are boarding the bus for band camp. One by one, we are introduced to the freaks, jocks and high school personnel (former freaks and jocks) that make up the diverse cast of this up-beat musical.

Beginning at 11:30 p.m., Band Geeks is everything late-night theater should be: big, loud, funny and wildly inappropriate. Drawing from a pool of Chicago Improv veterans, Band Geeks keeps the laughs coming throughout in this fast paced show.

In addition to up tempo musical numbers, the show features choreographed, precision marching to 80s classics like “Mr. Roboto” and “Blister in the Sun,” as well as two hilarious ballads. “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” is a humorous ode to what might have been, delivered with the perfect balance of ridiculousness and poiniency, by Chicago theater veteran, Ross Foti as the band’s director, Mr. Bradford.

The second ballad is delivered by the show’s unofficial star, Joseph Cranford. Cranford plays drum major, Joey Cranford and performs an oddly touching duet with his ailing grandmother, one of two cross-dressing roles played to silly perfection by Ed Jones.

Other noteworthy performences are put in by the shows co-writer’s Amy Patterson as the Amish girl, and Becky Eldrige as the band’s pregnant drum majorette. Writing from what they know, Eldrige and Patterson attended high school in Elyria and even use the actual Elyria band uniforms in the show.

Band Geeks follows the simple formula of triumph over adversity as the small-town marching band struggles for attention with the overpowering force that is Elyria high school football. When a cut in arts funding threatens to shut down the band, they only have one chance to prove themselves in the form of a televised half-time spot during a Cleveland Brown’s game on Monday night football.

Will Joey catch the baton?, Will Grandma make it to Graduation?, Will the drum major ever make it to New York with her new baby and its football playing father?, Will Joey and the goth girl ever hook up? These questions and more are answered in Band Geeks: A Halftime Musical.

Band Geeks runs at a fast pace with no intermission, and audience members are encouraged to purchase beverages and bring them into the theater. The theater bar features a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and some snacks, at standard theater prices.

Band Geeks: A Halftime Musical is playing at the Theater Building, 1225 W. Belmont, Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 with open seating. Call 773-327-5252 for reservations.