There are about a hundred things to love about the Unauthorized Musical Parody of 10 Things I Hate About You. The high school comedy is the latest film to get a hilarious Rockwell stage adaptation. The venue’s past shows have included classic favorites like Clueless and Jurassic Park, and they have struck gold once again with their take on the film that propelled stars like Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger to stardom, heightening the script and infusing it with 90s hits.
The cast is simply outstanding. Stephanie Renee Wall may be a newcomer to the UMPO family, but she makes a truly memorable first impression. Her performance as Katarina grounds the entire wacky show, and her chemistry with AJ Mendoza’s Patrick heats up the stage. The two’s sweet duets of Garbage’s “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” and Aerosmith’s “Crazy” are highlights of the show.
Stella Kim’s Bianca makes for a great counterpart, nailing the role. A particularly funny recurring joke is when she talks to a cardboard cutout of Gabrielle Union, who played Chastity in the movie version. Mathenee Treco is also fantastic as her aggressively overprotective Dr. Stratford.
Rockwell is famous for adding their own unique spin on things, and this show was no different. The decision to gender-swap Cameron, the role originated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, paid off big time. Katie Self’s Cameron is queer, quirky, and irresistibly charming, giving the part fresh energy. Her rendition of “I Want You to Want Me” is showstopping.
Jason Michael Snow and Lesley McKinnell are standout performers of the show. Michael Snow’s over-the-top rendition of the sinister Joey gets gut-busting laughs every time he steps onstage. McKinnell seamlessly does double duty as two very different roles: erotic romance writer Ms. Perky and douche-tastic Joey’s friend. Perhaps the funniest scene of the entire show involves Snow, McKinnell, a cult, and some mattresses…but I’m not going to elaborate on that. You’ll have to go see the show for yourself to understand what I mean.
In addition to the top-notch performances, Rockwell also offers a variety of delicious food and drink options to enjoy during the show. The truffle fries and bread pudding are crowd favorites, and with their extensive wine and cocktail lists, you’re sure to find a spirit to sip on.
You don’t want to miss the Unauthorized Musical Parody of 10 Things I Hate About You. The show runs every Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at noon from now until May 12th.
*image credit: Bryan Carpender