Debbie Does Dallas The Musical!

Debbie Does Dallas The Musical!
a kate west review
adapted by Erica Schmidt
conceived by Susan L. Schwartz
music by Andrew Sherman
directed by Troy Heard
at The Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90069, between Doheny and San Vicente
contact (310) 274-5800 or
tickets $35-$55

discounted tix on
running Thursdays through August 30, 2007

The original 1970's film "Debbie Does Dallas," starring Bambi Woods, is a notoriously campy pornographic film that many curious adolescents grew up idolizing. The subsequent mystique and whereabouts of its star only added to its appeal. In fact, its infamy inspired many sequels, spin-offs and even a documentary called "Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered." And in 2001-2, it was converted into an even campier musical, first created and performed off-Broadway by Susan L. Schwartz, performing in various locations, including San Francisco. Now playing at Los Angeles' Key Club, "Debbie Does Dallas The Musical!" continues to titillate modern audiences.

The basic story of both the film and musical is that of Debbie, the high school cheerleader, whose sole ambition is to become a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, which in both versions is called a Cowgirl. In order to make money for her trip to Texas, she and her helpful friends decide they need to do sexual favors for all of their employers in return for some cold, hard cash. This is particularly difficult for Debbie since she's always wanted to save herself for marriage, but the sad reality of achieving cheerleading Mecca forces her to compromise her innocence. Without any other noteworthy skills, what's a girl to do? The musical version follows the porn plot exactly, except without the nudity. It is fairly suggestive though, so no wonder it's playing at a 21-and-over night club (i.e. don't bring the kids!)

Director Troy Heard smoothly maintains campy fun in an endearing satirical take on an already ridiculous set-up. Aurelia Rose plays Debbie, the vivacious cheerleader with a conscience. She's spunky and charismatic, complete with a quirky girlish voice, just like the head cheerleader from your youth. Her cheer squad bumps and grinds their cute little selves into increasingly compromising positions, so to speak. Heather Moody, Angel Reed, Jessica Kiper and Cheryl Texiera round out the troupe and all have a delightful stage presence, with the possible exception of Texiera (also Choreographer), whose aggressive over-the-top delivery would work better if everyone else went to that extreme, but she alone seems fiercely determined to actively hunt for the laugh, rather than allow the absurdly bad original lines to generate the humor. (The audience loved her on opening night, though). Drew Droege, Brett Nelson, Dylan Vox and Eric Pirooz play the goofy men in the girls' lives, from boyfriends to football players to lustful employers. All the boys are adorable. Droege has a particularly fun turn frantically switching between Mr. Biddle and the Spanish teacher SeƱor Bradley, complete with hilarious spontaneous wig changes. And Eric Pirooz does an appropriately sweaty turn as Mr. Greenfelt, who steers Debbie onto a darker path.

There are endless funny takes on the well-known older film scenes, including the decadent carwash scene with two girls wetting each other and a very silly orgy scene in the locker room. We never see Debbie actually in Dallas, but we do see her realize that she is her own person, in spite of what she now does for change. And it's all O.K. The scenes are wildly entertaining, although Rose has one perplexing scene in which she dons a Dallas Cheerleader costume and then appears to break character (?) and turn into an actress in a musical and then back into Debbie. It comes out of nowhere and adds nothing to the production. Everything else flows nicely, however, and given the hooting and hollering from the audience, the whole show is a definite crowd pleaser. Brema Ebbing provides delightfully spirited costumes to match Texiera's Rockette-like Choreography (a tad complicated at times maybe, but awfully fun to watch). Director Heard does a great job of conveying a tongue-in-cheek tribute to all versions of "Debbie" and the actors seem to be having the time of their lives. Andrew Sherman's songs are quite catchy as well and turn blatant parody into an actual memorable musical.

So if you are looking for a wild night out, this is as legally raunchy as you can get, complete with a two-drink minimum. You may even end up wanting to rent the original flick. It's a good date night choice, for sure, and won't it be fun to check out the Hustler store down the street afterwards, for a quick coffee and maybe some Debbie-inspired toys?

The Documentary:
Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered

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