Sinclair presents comical, crazy ‘Toxic Avenger’

Get out the green slime.

Librettist Joe DiPietro and composer/Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan’s hilarious and outrageous 2009 off-Broadway musical comedy “The Toxic Avenger” concludes Sinclair Community College’s 2016-2017 mainstage season beginning Friday, April 7, in Blair Hall Theatre.

Based on the 1984 cult horror/comedy of the same name by Lloyd Kaufman, "The Toxic Avenger" tells the story of unlikely hero Melvin Ferd III, a nerdy scientist concerned about an enormous influx of toxic waste destroying Tromaville, N.J. Once Melvin is actually dumped into a barrel of radioactive waste, he transforms into the courageous title character determined to save the world. Along the way he falls in love with blind librarian Sarah while attempting to stop corrupt Mayor Babs Belgoody, who has her sleazy sights set on becoming governor.

"I've always been a fan of B-movies, the films of John Waters, and comic books," said director Chris Harmon, who previously staged musical versions of such cult classics as "Evil Dead" and "Carrie." "I love that kind of storytelling. I guess I'm getting noticed for the schlocky genre as well, but this show is great campy fun. If you haven't seen the movie it's OK. It loosely follows the plot from the movie but is still its own show. For example, in this version the mayor is a woman. But it's just a silly show with a cute environmental, moral lesson. This isn't a show that allows anyone to walk away learning something new. It's just a nice fun romp."

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“I think the ingenious thing about this show is that it wonderfully (uses) comedy to bring a very imperative message to the audience through their most vulnerable and open state,” echoed Sha-Lemar Davis, who portrays the Mayor and recently appeared in Sinclair’s productions of “A Song for Coretta” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “I think the beauty of the show is that it isn’t an escape from the issues we face today. Instead, it’s a really fun way to think about (issues) as if to say yes, they’re real and they’re serious, but there’s so much we can do about it and we can still enjoy life.”

The cast includes Thomas Puckett as Melvin/Toxie, Courtney Kakac (a standout as Stephanie Necrophorus in Beavercreek Community Theatre’s terrific production of “Nine”) as Sarah, and Elisha Chamberlin, Elisa Fuentes and Justin Lampkins as multiple characters humorously ranging from White Dude and Black Dude to Little Old Lady and Shinequa. Harmon’s artistic team includes musical director David McKibben, choreographer Rodney Veal and mask/makeup designer Patrick Allyn Hayes, a Sinclair alumnus.

The pop/rock score features such numbers as “Get the Geek,” “My Big French Boyfriend,” “Hot Toxic Love,” “Choose Me, Oprah!,” “All Men Are Freaks” and “Evil is Hot.”

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“The show sounds like a rock opera from a hair band,” Harmon said. “There are great ‘rocker’ moments in this show with a total hair-band feel. There are contemporary references in the show, but I wanted the look and feel of the show to reflect the ’70s and ’80s just so it has a B-movie feel.”

"This show is so appealing (because) it's nostalgic and has some crazy humor," said Puckett, also seen in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in addition to last season's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." "This show has wonderful humor and well-written songs. It's just great fun to see and be a part of."

In 2010, DiPietro (“Over the River and Through the Woods,” “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It”) and Bryan notably won Tony Awards for their original score for “Memphis.”


What: "The Toxic Avenger"

Where: Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2, Sinclair Community College, 444 W. Third St., Dayton

When: April 7-15; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday

Cost: $15-$18; All seats are $10 on Wednesday and Thursday

Tickets/more info: Call (937) 512-2808 or visit

FYI: Thursday and Sunday performances are American Sign Language Interpreted featuring Lacy C. Bryant Burkett and Charli Malloy. Patrons are advised the show is not suitable for children or "the faint of heart."

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