Boop! The Musical bows and wows before Broadway

Thu. December 7, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Boop! The Musical opened on December 6, 2023, at CIBC, 18 West Monroe Street in Chicago, with a grand affair and much hoopla. This musical based on a cartoon Jazz Age flapper had a lot to prove on premiere night and Broadway creatives came dressed for the occasion.

Many walked across the red carpet before showtime to discuss their hard work on the new project.

Grammy Award-winning composer David Foster humbly described Boop! as “Jerry Mitchell's vision and we were all guided by him. He is laser beam focused and has put on a good show.”

Foster stated his new favorite song is “She Knocks Me Out” written recently with lyricist Susan Birkenhead, who was also on the red carpet that night.

He went on to say that Phantom of the Opera is his all-time favorite musical, “I have always loved it and seen it about five times. It never lets me down and proves that people don't have always to write uptempo songs!”

His wife and previous American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee came out to support his endeavor, “It's a work in progress, but he's very happy with how it is turning out. He's very excited about the score and I am so proud of him. The costumes look amazing from what I have seen online.”

This talented mother said the holidays and her children are what she has on her mind these days and hopes to return to Chicago when her past Smash co-star Megan Hilty stars in Death Becomes Her in April of 2024 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

This pre-Broadway engagement doesn't feel like a test run but a fully realized show that's ready to go. Jasmine Amy Rogers has the task of making Betty come to life and she has made the icon human in what could have been a caricature performance.

There's not a weak member in the cast with America's Got Talent singer Angelica Hale serving up strong vocals with the Trisha role and Tony Award-winning Best Actress for Guys and Dolls triple threat Faith Prince as Valentina.

Mitchell confessed the biggest challenge for the show currently is “the perception to audiences that it's a family show, even though she's sex, she's not overtly sexy. It's a show about confidence and we need that message out there to everyone. We have Trisha in the story who meets Betty Boop and idolizes her. She teaches Trisha to be herself, so this is a good musical for young people. I had the same problem with Kinky Boots when people thought it was a sex show because of the word kinky. Boop is not about sex either and audiences will see that.”

Out actor Ainsley Anthony Melham does a lot of the heavy lifting as love interest Dwayne and Stephen DeRosa provides just the right amount of camp as Grampy. Pudgy the marionette dog even has time to shine in the middle of memorable showstopping numbers.

Mitchell's choreography is on point from the opening number “A Little Versatility” to the bright “Color of Love” at the end. There are no missteps and pairing tap dancing with this piece was a stroke of genius. He also brought in a fresh youthful energy to one section that paid off and shows he's in tune with the new generation of dancers. The world has changed and everyone needs to evolve including Betty Boop for a brand new era.

Boop-Oop-a-Doop over to before Boop bounces onward to Broadway after December 24, 2023.