Burien Little Theatre's 'Reefer' revels in non P. C. satire

Look out, concerned citizens of America! It will corrupt your children, tear your family apart, endanger innocent civilians, even make you sell your babies! It's Reefer Madness!

Burien Little Theatre celebrates its 30th birthday with a bang with the cult hit "Reefer Madness," a satirical musical romp inspired by the infamous 1936 propaganda film that warned us of the dangers of smoking marijuana.

Written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, "Reefer Madness" stars Brad Walker as Jimmy Harper, the clean-cut All-American 16-year-old kid who is dating the lovely and beautiful Mary Lane (Sophia Federighi). Jimmy and Mary look as though they came straight out of "Happy Days," as they should.

The show opens with a stern warning from the Lecturer (a perfectly cast Russ Kay) about the evils of "Mary Jane" and how it is as big a threat to Americans as socialism. The Lecturer appears periodically throughout the show (sometimes as different characters) and acts as the narrator.

Jimmy is the kind of kid you would be proud to have dating your daughter. He's athletic, smart, and respectful toward everyone he meets. All is well until he meets the mysterious Jack Stone (Johnny Patchamatla,) a drug dealer who operates a shady business at his home, also known as the "Reefer Den."

Jack takes Jimmy back to the Reefer Den where he meets Sally (Amanda Falcone), a hopped up addict who prostitutes herself out for drug money to support herself and her baby; Mae (Michelle Flowers, who sports a bravura singing voice), a fellow user who warns Jimmy to not make the same mistakes she made; and an out-of-control ex-college student named Ralph (an outstanding Nathaniel Jones).

Poor Jimmy then descends into a marijuana-inspired frenzy where he indulges himself in an endless debauchery of sex, drugs, dirty dancing and munchies. Equally poor Mary makes it her mission to rescue Jimmy from this insatiable joy ride.

"Reefer Madness" is at its best when it revels in its religious and social satire with little regard for political correctness. Jesus Christ even makes an appearance, joined by his heavenly hosts of ensemble dancers (Anthony Ascione, Anna Richardson, Jason Pead, and Sara Sorden). Yes, it is that type of show.

Featuring showstopping tunes such as "Down at the Ol' Five and Dime," "Jimmy Takes a Hit," "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy" and "The Brownie Song," "Reefer Madness" throws everything at you except the kitchen sink to make sure you laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

Director Steve Cooper keeps the laughs coming as he orchestrates a highly energetic cast to do what they do best. Using lighting, choreography and movement, Cooper employs all the theatrical tools at his disposal to guide the audience through a reefer-inspired trip that should make everybody leave the theater with a guilty smile on their faces.

Credit must also go to music director Ann Sager, who leads a wonderful band whose rocking jazz tunes lights up the whole auditorium.

It is important to note that "Reefer Madness" contains adult situations, drug use, sexual humor, suggested violence, blood and religious satire that is not appropriate for children under 16. On Oct. 1, parents can leave their children at the Jungle Gym in Burien for Parent's Night Out, for just $25 per child. Contact Jungle Gym at 206-248-3547 for more information.

"Reefer Madness" opened Burien Little Theatre's 2010-2011 season on Sept. 24th and runs till Oct. 31st, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

If you purchase tickets online, first weekend prices are $18 general and $15 for student/senior, middle weekend performances are $19 general and $16 for student/senior, and last weekend is $20 general and $17 for student/senior. Tickets purchased at the box office are $20 general and $17 for student/senior.

Burien Little Theatre is located at 4th Avenue Southwest & Southwest 146th Street. For more information, call 206-242-5180 or visit their website at www.burienlittletheatre.org.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.