The Lyric Theatre presents ‘Gilligan’s Island: The Musical’
Following the success of 2017’s ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ another 1960s TV classic is coming to Brownwood’s Lyric Theatre, but this time in musical form.
With plans for an over-the-top romp mixing a myriad of live stage effects with 1960s television sensibilities, the cast of has just a few weeks of rehearsals until the Feb. 8 opening of ‘Gilligan’s Island: The Musical.’
“I did ‘M.A.S.H.’ several years ago and last year I did ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ and both of those shows were immensely popular among citizens of the community,” said Larry Mathis, who take on directing duties while playing Thurston Howell III. “’Beverly Hillbillies’ essentially sold out every performance and we had to add a performance or two because it was so successful. The community was saying to us ‘we like this old sitcom kind of things.’”
Mathis said the musical aspect of this production is what sets it apart from others. Instead of a serious tone, Gilligan’s Island will greatly range from somber drama to slapstick shifting from tone at a whirlwind pace. Mathis said throughout the performance audience members have opportunities to interact with cast members while taking in the immersive set design. Before taking their seats theatre-goers will tour a to-scale version of the famed S.S. Minnow and Mathis said that is literally the beginning of their journey.
“It’s difficult to explain. It’s a little ‘Monty Python’, slapstick — romance. You name it and it has it,” Mathis said. “It has a ton of special effects. People are going to get to see things at the Lyric that they’ve never dreamed of seeing.”
With Brownwood being the home of Bob Denver, who portrayed the titular Gilligan, Mathis said expectations for the production are high and believes he has the cast talented enough to meet those expectations. For Jonathan Harvey, who plays The Skipper, he found himself watching old re-runs of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ on Youtube for inspiration and during rehearsals took time to mold the character to meet the demands of a live performance.
“The Skipper is fun. He is over the top. He’s a character and he has a temper, but it’s calmed by Gilligan – his little buddy,” Harvey said. “The songs help create the story. We’re trying to work our way off the island, obviously, but the songs help create and show the panic and the jumble that’s taking place amongst us. I think it’s coming together really well. We’re still getting our music down, but the cast is close and we really play well off one another. It’s fun right now figuring out how we can make these scenes we’ve seen on TV come to life on stage.”
As much of the cast of the ‘Gilligan’s Island: The Musical’ split off to do go over the script and practice musical numbers, cast member and assistant stage manager Cassia Rose and stage manager Kris Henry pick out props and begin the initial phase of what Henry believes will be one of the more technically demanding shows in recent memory for the Lyric.
“They will feel like they know something about it, but those memories are not so fresh that they will walk away disappointed because it’s not the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ the remembered … I think there will definitely be some surprises,” Henry said.
‘Gilligan’s Island: The Musical’ debuts 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 and will have show running through Sunday, Feb. 17. For more information regarding show times and tickets, visit the Lyric Theatre online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com.