FANDOM recently visited Rockwell: Table and Stage in Los Angeles to check out their new show, The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park. This is what we saw…
What is an Unauthorized Musical Parody?
These shows have been playing to packed houses in Los Feliz for the last few years. The official spiel claims that they “bring movies to life using popular music and theatrical staging in an immersive parody environment.”
What this really means is that the Unauthorized Musical Parody team — aka UMPO — have taken the basic plot of some of the most popular movies of the last 30 years, and filled them with jokes, songs and dance numbers, as well as a spot of audience participation. All performed by UMPO’s multi-talented team of players.
The result has been hilarious shows based on the likes of Home Alone, Scream, Clueless, Cruel Intentions, Bridesmaids, and now Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic, Jurassic Park, courtesy of writer Kate Pazakis and director Nathan Moore.
Does Jurassic Park Work Onstage?
Being a big-budget action flick filled with CGI dinosaurs, Jurassic Park is the company’s most ambitious endeavour yet. And it’s consistently hilarious from start to finish.
The show follows the film’s plot pretty closely, so paleontologist Alan Grant, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler, and mathematician Ian Malcolm journey to Richard Hammond’s titular park — a couple of kids in tow — to see dinosaurs that have been recreated using dino-DNA. But something goes wrong. The dinosaurs escape. And what follows is an epic action-musical that pits man against prehistoric beast.
Those beasts are brought to life in a bunch of creative — and often absurd — ways that require a combination of imagination and suspension of disbelief. If you’re sitting near the front, expect to get involved.
The story itself plays out via a series of marvellously fitting songs. Hammond sings “Welcome to the Jungle” as the journey into the park begins. Muldoon performs “Maneater” as he pursues a pair of girls dressed as velociraptors. A T-Rex belts out a version of “Immigrant Song” that raises the Rockwell roof. And, predictably, pretty much everyone joins in with “Walk the Dinosaur.”
The jokes also come thick and fast, and frequently reference other iconic characters that the JP actors have played. So Nedry delivers multiple Newman/Seinfeld lines, and Arnold channels Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction. But one in-joke comes to dominate proceedings…
Goldblum Steals the Show
Michael Thomas Grant plays Jeff Goldblum playing Ian Malcolm in the show. And, much like the actor he’s portraying, pretty much steals Jurassic Park. Grant’s delivery is so Goldblum-esque that the other characters refer to him as Goldblum rather than Malcolm throughout.
Much like his celluloid counterpart, Goldblum’s shirt unbuttons as proceedings progress, while he flirts with both his co-stars and the audience in encourageable fashion. Inspired by the real Jeff Goldblum’s own jazz residence at the Rockwell, he also spends much of Jurassic Park promoting said show and handing out fliers.
It’s the silliest aspect of an adaptation that’s consistently ridiculous, and also source of the musical’s most memorable moments. Jurassic Park is at its best when he’s onstage, and Grant’s performance — combined with songs and jokes that manage to be simultaneously terrible and great — make for a mirth-filled night at the theatre in which both life and laughs find a way.
The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park is at the Rockwell until April 28.