Conceived by/Book by: Susan L. Schwartz
Music by: Andrew Sherman
Additional lyrics by: Tom Kitt and Jonathan Callicutt
Company: Equinox Theatre Company
Venue: The Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, Denver, CO 80211.
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes (includes15 minute intermission).
Date of Performance: Friday, February 27, 2015.
I think it best to begin here with a description of what you will not see at Debbie Does Dallas The Musical (hereafter DDDM):
1. There is no actual sex.
2. There is no nudity.
Although I have not seen the original 1978 adult film of the same name, the two productions share only a title and script elements. If you were hoping that DDDM would be a pornographic recreation of the original, I have one piece of advice for you: rent or download the film. DDDM is not what you’re looking for.
The original film was a highly successful if controversial “adult” full length feature that generated a lot of sequels. Ticket sales numbers are hard to come by (pun intended) for the adult industry, but Debbie Does Dallas is said to be in the top 5 highest grossing films of the genre.
As mentioned above, DDDM and the film share plot elements, but one must keep in mind that plots in adult films are best considered as a means to string together erotic encounters. Few fans are ever drawn into adult feature length films by the plot intrigue; I’m told that’s what the Fast Forward button is for on your VHS device. That said, here’s a brief description of the plot of DDDM (no spoilers here).
1. High school girl cheerleader (Debbie) gets accepted to join the squad of the Texas Cowgirl Cheerleaders, but she needs bus fare to Dallas.
2. Debbie and her cheerleader girl friends get jobs to chip in for the bus fare.
3. The girls learn that they can make a LOT of money quickly without doing much actual work.
And that’s it. Seriously.
Given that DDDM has no actual sex acts nor any nudity, you should expect a lot of strutting, preening, and teasing. If you’re looking sexy cheerleader outfits, DDDM is for you. If you might enjoy tastefully staged simulations of intimate encounters, DDDM is definitely for you. If you are looking for a fun, raunchy, campy send up of a porn classic, do not miss DDDM. If you’re looking for a musical like Mary Poppins, keep looking. DDDM is NOT for you.
Deb Flomberg directs here, and that’s important. She has put together a sexy show that values the cheerleaders as much as the male fantasies the film focused on. These girls are naive, but they’re not the empty headed sex objects of classic porn. They have dreams, and they have attitude. DDDM in the hands of a male director would probably have looked different; Flomberg, to her credit, gives us DDDM tease without all the sleaze.
|Valerie Igoe (center) as Debby.|
Valerie Igoe does Debbie here, and she’s a capable, convincing teen cheerleader with a big dream. She cleverly moves from naive to naughty in the tune $10.00 Closer (as in $10 closer to her dream), discovering the power she has to separate men from their money. Danielle Hawkins (Donna) has a hilarious scene where she takes money to spank her boss. It seems weird to her at first, but after about 30 seconds of figuring it out, she becomes a dominatrix before our eyes, punishing her naughty boy with gusto.
|Danielle Hawkins (Donna), Joseph Graves (Biddle). "You want me to do what?"|
The music in DDDM substitutes for graphic sex, and with titles like Wick Dippin, The Locker Room Orgy, and The Banana Blow, I found the music a good tradeoff. Imagination is usually much more interesting than the graphic reality. Christian Munck’s choreography is spot on, both for the cheerleading squad and for the dance numbers.
DDDM is NOT for everybody; it's strictly entertainment for adults. It doesn’t pretend to be high brow, although there is a reference to Hester Prynne, for all you fans of 19th century American literature. The music is catchy, the humor is naughty, and the plot is silly. In other words, DDDM is all fun with no pretense. The goal here is campy, raunchy adult entertainment. Equinox Theatre Company hits that goal, and hits it hard (again…pun intended). DDDM delivers a guilty pleasure, but with minimum guilt and maximum pleasure. Even your mother might enjoy it.
|Debbie. Good girl gone naughty, with Devin Bustamante, Joseph Graves, Chris Arneson.|
This script is, in its entirety, an adult situation. Equinox Theatre Company welcomes adults, ages 18 and up, to Debbie Does Dallas The Musical.
There is ample parking at the theater in the surface lot at 37th and Navajo, as well as on surrounding streets (no parking meters).
I considered watching the original film as research for this post, but decided against it. DDDM stands on its own two feet, needing no support from its cinematic predecessor. There is another benefit to that decision, as no husbands were harmed in the writing of this review.
This production closes on March 7, 2015.
Pre or Post Show Dining Suggestion:
There are several Italian restaurants near the Bug Theater, but we decided to stop at one further west. Amici’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, 4300 Wadsworth Boulevard, Wheatridge, is a family owned favorite on the west side. It’s about a 15 minute drive from The Bug in good weather and traffic.
The house salad is simple; chilled iceberg lettuce with shredded cheese and pepperoni. Try it with the House Italian dressing. Reasonably priced, with big portions, Amici’s is winner every time.
PHOTO CREDITS: EquinoxTheatre Company.
Director: Deb Flomberg
Assistant Director/Choreograph: Christian Munck
Music Director: Colin Roybal
Set/Light Design: Colin Roybal
Sound Design: Robert Harbour
Costume Design: Valerye Jeffries
Stage Manager: Christian Munck
Debbie: Valerie Igoe
Lisa: Terra Leann Salazar
Roberta: Stephanie Hesse
Donna: Danielle Hawkins
Tammy: Kerri Emswiller
Rick/Hamilton: Chris Arneson
Kevin/Mr. Biddle: Joseph Graves
Johnny/Mr. Bradley/Ashley/Nick/Tim: Devin Bustamante
Mr. Greenfelt/Chester: David Ballew
Mr. Hardwick/Roustabout: Eddie Schumacher