Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’ comes to campus
Megan Kozak | Tuesday, March 22, 2011
A freeze ray, the Evil League of Evil and Captain Hammer will be making an appearance on Notre Dame’s campus this weekend as the Notre Dame’s Student Players present Joss Whedon’s Emmy-Award winning online musical sensation “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” at the Washington Hall Lab Theater.
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” is about an aspiring super-villain named Billy, also known as Dr. Horrible, who desperately wants to get into the Evil League of Evil. However, Billy runs into trouble balancing his evil aspirations with his romantic feelings for Penny, a girl he sees regularly at the local laundromat. His nemesis Captain Hammer, the town hero who keeps preventing Billy’s heinous crimes, also has feelings for Penny and vies with Dr. Horrible for Penny’s affection.
The show premiered online in 2008 starring Neil Patrick Harris, of “How I Met Your Mother” fame. It was meant only for online distribution, but due to the great success it achieved on the web many fans wanted to put on their very own show of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” including some Notre Dame students who are fans of the Whedon miniseries.
Last spring, senior computer science major Rachel Witty decided she wanted to direct “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” at Notre Dame for the Student Players when everyone at the “Urinetown” cast party started singing a song from “Dr. Horrible.”
“This is a magical show,” Witty said. “People will really get into this.”
When sophomore Charlie O’Leary, who plays the role of Dr. Horrible, heard about the project he wanted to be involved in anyway possible.
“It’s so different from other staged musicals; it’s faster-paced, with quick, snappy scenes and dialogue,” O’Leary said. “It manages to cover a variety of genres in less than an hour. It’s really funny.”
“It’s a great blend of the nerdy and theatrical,” freshman cast member Kevin McGinn added. “It really sends a message of be cautious of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it,” Witty said. “[Dr. Horrible] does some bad things and it really comes back to kick him later. I think without that it would be just a trivial happy musical. This is something so much more and bigger than that.”
Adapting the show from screen to stage was fairly easy for Witty and the rest of the cast and crew. Only a few changes were made.
“The movie is not something you can bring straight to the stage,” Witty said. “The script is exactly the same. The big differences are in stage direction. We had to change some fantasy sequences.”
“It’s live, we don’t have the budget or the space to fly Austin [the actor who plays Captain Hammer] in from the ceiling onto a moving van,” sophomore Hannah Greggs, who plays Penny, said.
Notre Dame’s production of “Dr. Horrible” also promises to give great live original performances.
“This is not just the Student Players of Notre Dame copying an Internet musical,” senior cast member Ellie Hall said. “The best part of that for me is watching Charlie’s performance as Dr. Horrible. Charlie does something different with it. He really makes the part his own. He’s electrifying to watch.”
Aside from being entertained by what is going on onstage, audiences can also expect to be involved in the show.
“The actors will be right up in their faces playing with them and getting them to interact with the show,” Witty said. We want them to be a part of the show. They’re not just watching, they are actively participating the whole way.”
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will be performed this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in the Washington Hall Lab Theater. On Saturday there will also be a 3:30 p.m. matinee performance in addition to the 6:00 p.m. show, which will be a special audience sing-along performance. This will also be one of the last licensed performances of the show in the country since rights to the show have recently been rescinded.