Katherine Bethell thinks too many people take the music created by the writers of South Park for granted.
So much so, she's directing a cast of 10 in A Shpadoinkle Musical: A Tribute to the Music of Matt Stone and Trey Parker at the Backstage Lounge, May 7. Presented by Bethell's company Rock Theatre Co., the concert features 12 songs from Stone and Parker's film and stage collaborations, including Cannibal! the Musical, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Team America and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon.
"'La Resistance' [from the South Park movie], when you hear the layers of that song, it's so incredible. Every time we sing it, I get goosebumps," Bethell said. "The cast is always like, 'Oh it's like Les Miz.'"
The songwriting is actually critically acclaimed. "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2000 Academy Awards but lost to Phil Collins' song in the animated Disney film Tarzan.
The self-described wannabe musical theatre nerd suspects Stone and Parker are musical theatre nerds, deep down.
"Because a lot of times the songs just come off as being musical theatre sarcastic but I think that's because they really like it," Bethell said.
The tribute sprung from Bethell's "obsession" with "Up There," which is sung by Satan, who yearns for a reprieve from hell, in the South Park movie.
"It's just super catchy, I always get it in my head, I have it in my head right now, actually, and I just think it's hilarious," she said.
The woman who works as the rental manager for the Arts Club Theatre Company by day says 50 performers showed up to her auditions a couple of months back. Ninety per cent of the cast hails from the theatre department at Capilano University.
"Those guys really pump out quality musical theatre stars," said Bethell, who studied theatre at the University of Victoria and lived in Toronto, where she worked for Second City as a server and group sales manager and started EBD Productions with a friend, which morphed into Rock Theatre Co.
"I got a really good turnout with auditions because of the music," she added. "They probably have never gotten an opportunity to sing songs from the South Park movie or Team America because it's not an existing musical theatre production."
The show's named for the theme song that describes a "shpadoinkle day" in Cannibal! The Musical, Parker and Stone's first feature-length film. It includes the line: "The sun's as warm as a baked potato."
The performance will also include "You and Me (But Mostly Me)" from The Book of Mormon, "Everyone has AIDS" and "I'm So Ronery" sung by the character of Kim Jong-il in Team America.
"The song title's are even offensive," Bethell conceded. "...It's funny when you break some of these songs down and you're singing them out of context how offensive they can really be."
Tickets for The Shpadoinkle Musical are $10 at vancouvertix.com or by calling 604629-8849. The show starts at 10: 30 p.m.
Friday's print edition of the Courier mistakenly stated that Carmen Aguirre's onewoman show Blue Box runs at The Cultch until May 6. It actually runs until May 12.
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