By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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So begins the romantic journey of “Freak Like Me,” the musical making its world premiere this week at the Peninsula College campus in Port Angeles on Thursday.
The show, mounted by the college's Drama Department and the Port Angeles Light Opera Association, aka PALOA, is a classic yet wacky story.
It's “boy meets girl; girl meets Bigfoot,” said Richard Stephens, builder of costumes and creatures for the production.
Curtain times in the Little Theater on campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $15, or $12 for seniors; Peninsula College students can enjoy the show for free while other students pay $5.
More details are at www.PenCol.edu.
Rock 'n' roll
Like “The Rocky Horror Show” the college put on two years ago, “Freak Like Me” is a rock 'n' roll musical — but this one flows from the pen of Peninsula College professor and former punk musician Michael Mills.
Cast and crew members are fairly reeling at how catchy the “Freak” songs are.
They include “I'm a Bigfoot Hunter, Baby” and “We've Got Chemistry,” played live by the house band: guitarists Scott Bradley and Rich Crowell, bassist Matt Bailey, drummer Marty Martinez and conductor Kristin Quigley Brye.
When Bigfoot makes his entrance, “there is this really great musical riff,” Brye added.
“The audience is going to associate Bigfoot with this rock riff.”
Bigfoot's entrance, naturally, doesn't happen until we're well into the story of the Nerd, portrayed by Tim Macausland, and the Cheerleader, played by Anna Unger.
They're traipsing through the woods, searching for the Sasquatch while getting to know each other.
The Nerd is attracted to Bigfoot because he feels he, too, is a “freak,” with secrets unknown to his companion.
The Cheerleader, for her part, is after the beast because she wants to become his girlfriend.
Meanwhile, two circus sideshow performers pursue the Nerd, for reasons to be revealed later in the show.
They are the Bearded Lady, played by Sharon French, and the Barker, portrayed by Fred Robinson.
The journey of “Freak Like Me” also has encounters with strange beings: “a whole parade of aliens, mermaids and giant squid trounces across the stage,” Brye said.
There are also Mr. Universe, played by Leif Ellis, and Dan Owino as Bigfoot.
If “Freak Like Me” were a movie, it would be rated PG-13, Brye added. It has its racy moments.
Earlier this week, the creator of all this marveled at a rehearsal.
“The whole thing is so much more intense than I imagined,” Mills said.
“I've never felt so alive as a writer.”
Via their odyssey, the Nerd and the Cheerleader are transformed.
And while this is a rocking, funny show, Brye said it's also an intimate look at how two people discover something better than Bigfoot.
“All of us feel like freaks, secretly,” she said.
“We're looking for a relationship with someone who will accept us as we are.”
“Freak Like Me” has a happy ending, added designer Stephens. Besides, its special effects rock.
“Seeing is believing,” he said.
“We're a small community college putting on a first-time show. But we've got light-up flying saucers and a giant squid.
“If you're looking for something a little bit different, this is a lot of fun.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.