THERE'S A HIGH BAR for stage adaptations of beloved movies in Portland—see: Road House and The Lost Boys—but does that bar have an uncomfortably gyrating Nomi Malone dancing atop it? Hell no, it doesn't. So let's welcome to town Showgirls the Musical from A Touch Too Much, with their one-night performance of the best worst movie of all time: the 1995 cult classic about an ambitious Vegas stripper, a film that rung Elizabeth Berkley's bell, dragged Kyle MacLachlan's good name through the mud, and revealed Gina Gershon to be an effervescent jewel.
The production originated as a what-if between two friends. Says John-Ryan Griggs, "[Co-creator Chad D. Comer] and I were hanging out and talking, 'Wouldn't it be hysterical to turn Showgirls into a musical?'" From that lark came a 2012 Kickstarter-funded show in a small cabaret theater in Chicago. "We originally wanted to do two shows, and it sold so well the theater asked if we would do an extended run," Griggs says, "but I was getting ready to move to Portland and we ended on a high note. Long story short, here we are, ready to do it all again, but bigger."
And bigger it will be. Out of a black-box theater and onto the Hollywood's stage, the strippers of the Cheetah and the showgirls of Goddess will be able to really kick up their heels. Along with casting locals like Kristin Barrett (as Nomi), the production's stocked the prop closet with bags of chips, brought in burlesque dancers to "pump up the sexy," and created projections for the theater's large screen. Plus, "the dancing is a lot bigger this time," with choreography by Jamie Langton, who also stars as Cristal Connors. "I was really adamant about using music people know, so it's a jukebox musical. We do a lot of different eras, but we land pretty heavily in the '80s," Griggs says.
The million-dollar question: Will there be a pool scene? You know the one—when Nomi turns into a frenzied, naked shark, beached and writhing on Kyle MacLachlan's scared penis? Griggs says, "Oh my god, that's my favorite. So to do the show and not have a pool scene... not going to happen."
While the musical won't have the film's relentless onslaught of naked boobs, Griggs says they're aiming for the same level of glitzy camp. "Over time the film has proved itself to be... I don't want to say 'a masterpiece,' but it's so good. So to see that on a stage and have people interact with it in this kind of theater experience is really awesome."