By John Lyle Belden
“The Big Bang: The Musical,” presented by Actors Theatre of Indiana, has nothing to do with the similarly named sitcom that recently ended its TV run. Instead, picture a cross between “The Producers” and “History of the World, Part 1” — sans Mel Brooks, but still funny.
Written by Jed Feuer and Boyd Graham, who staged it Off-Broadway in 2000, the show is a presentation for potential New York backers (us in the audience) of what Jed (played by Darren Murrell) and Boyd (Jon Vessels) promise will be the next sure-fire musical smash.
Imagine this borrowed Manhattan apartment as a full Broadway stage, and accompanist Albert (Brent Marty) as a full orchestra, as a cast of hundreds (portrayed by our two manic creators) bring to life the entire history of Western Civilization, from Adam and Eve – with their hit number, “Free Food and Frontal Nudity” – to the present. Fortunately, we get just the “highlights” of this extravaganza/trainwreck in a hilarious 90 minutes.
Chock-full of cheesiness, dated references and over-the-top slapstick, Murrell and Vessels still manage to “sell” this show, even if it’s obvious the fictional backers shouldn’t buy in. “The Big Bang” is a satire of creator hubris and naked pandering in the Big Apple, as well as a silly farce that even steals/homages a Carol Burnett gag. The more you like Old Broadway, the more you will love this mock musical, directed by New York-based entertainer Michael Blatt.