In 2014, Austin's Doctuh Mistuh staged the first local production of Silence! The Musical, the award-winning musical parody of the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs. The show was a big hit with audiences -- as a parody of such a popular film, Silence! drew in theater fans, comedy fans, and movie fans. "We drew a lot of audience members in who weren't regular theatergoing audiences," says director Michael McKelvey. It was also a big hit with critics -- it didn't win quite as many B. Iden Payne awards as Silence of the Lambs won Oscars, but it came close.
In the time since, there's been interest from audience members (and from the cast as crew as well) in staging the show again. When some space opened up in Austin Playhouse's August schedule, the time was right.
"It's just a show [where] we all really enjoyed the experience, which is scary to say with this show," McKelvey laughs, "but we had a blast with it, so we said 'Let's do it again."
Silence! is a parody, not an official musical version of the film, but it's an affectionate (and surprisingly faithful) parody. "Yeah, the parody's there, but it's done with love," says McKelvey.
Half the cast is returning for this incarnation of the show (including principals Amy Downing, Huck Huckaby, David Ponton, and Libby Dees-Detling. "We have the core back," says McKelvey, "and we've added some great people."
For McKelvey, revisitng Silence! is an abrupt change of pace from his more recent theater works. "I had just finished a production of Big River in New Orleans...so I was in a very warm place..and then I roll back in here and [there's] lots of profanity and sexual innuendo,"he says. "It's a dark place. It's a dark, filthy, humorous place."
McKelvey's hoping to see some existing fans come back for this remount, but he's also hoping to draw some new audience members to the show. "I really want to expose it to as many possible as possible," he says.