Every year when the SF Sketchfest schedule comes out I spend a long time going through, making a list of everything that has someone I like in it, or is a show/concept I like, then painstakingly narrow it down to one show per time slot per day. At least, that’s the goal. These are the best two and a half weeks in San Francisco and I’m not going to waste them! So in this process, when I saw the name Julie Brown, the late 80’s kid in me had a fangirl spaz and decided this was the show that deserved my attention for the first Saturday night of Sketchfest. Did I know anything Julie Brown did since “Just Say Julie” on MTV and Earth Girls are Easy? No. Of course not! (Well, other than her small role as the Gym Teacher in Clueless) But this is what Sketchfest is about, seeing that great thing you might have lost track of. So off I trekked into the wilds of the Mission District, to the Brava Theater, with no idea what I was in for.
What I was in for was the most bizarre, weird, ridiculous and funny musical I’ve ever seen. “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical” is like the B-movie of musicals. It is campy and cheesy in just the right amounts to make a concoction of joy. There was a random horror plotline, there were lots of sexual references, homoerotisism, and great 80’s songs. The only thing it was missing that would have made it the best B-Movie ever was boobs. I’m sure they can figure that out if there is ever a screen version.
The story takes place in Betty Ford High School on the day of the big homecoming dance and Julie Brown is sure her best friend Debbie is going to be homecoming queen. The story unfolds all in this one day, during school leading up to homecoming in the first act, then the consequences of the homecoming parade/dance/something/I’m not really sure is the second act. All sorts of craziness happens during this: demon possession, gay boyfriends coming out, nerds turning hot, but none of that is really the point of “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical”. The point is that it is fun, and the 80’s are fun and silly, and we all need a good laugh sometimes. Oh, and that classic teen movie moral: that you should accept yourself just the way you are.
The music was a combination of Julie Brown’s own songs and 80’s classics re-written lyrically to fit the plot. There were such gems as “Welcome to Homeroom” to the tune of “Welcome to the Jungle” and “She Won’t Touch This” instead of “U Can’t Touch This” and many more. It was quite clever and fun, my only complaint being that most of the songs were in the first act and after intermission there were only four songs compared to the nine in act one.
Julie Brown herself was fun in the play, breaking the fourth wall often to make faces at the audience, but it was the actor Drew Droege playing her best friend Debbie played that really stole the show. Of course, it was a great part you could do a lot with, so that helped; and the idea of having a man in drag play the homecoming queen is excellent to say the least. All I can say is that I really enjoyed every second that Debbie was on stage. The other actors in the play (Sam Pancake, Natalie Lander, Chris Pudlo, Craig Taggert, Jaci Pund, Beth Crosby, Cole Gerdes, and Marsian De Lillis) were good too, I didn’t feel there were any weak performances, but no one could hold a candle to Debbie.
All in all there were lots of laughs and nostalgia to be had, and some fun music to boot. I even caught the official photographer laughing so hard at one point he had to stop taking pictures. Luckily for me, it’s easier to take notes while laughing.