What musical combines plot-relevant songs, clever lyrics, a perfectly loveable anti-hero and Neil Patrick Harris? If you guessed the online cultural phenomenon Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, you would be absolutely correct
Dr. Horrible takes over the stage
What musical combines plot-relevant songs, clever lyrics, a perfectly loveable anti-hero and Neil Patrick Harris? If you guessed the online cultural phenomenon Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, you would be absolutely correct—and you should be very excited to know that there is an onstage version playing in Portland this weekend at the Pacific Crest Community School.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog came out as a three-part online mini-series during the 2008 writer’s strike. The goal of the production was to create something that modern audiences would enjoy without spending too much money and—on top of that—to do it well. With the amount of awards the mini-series has won, including seven Streamys, an Emmy and a Hugo, it’s pretty evident that they succeeded.
The filming is divided between what seems to be a web cam and a traditional camera set up. This makes for an interesting viewing experience—one that would be hard to replicate on the stage—but the characters have no problem at all making the transition.
Dr. Horrible himself is so incredibly vivid that, even if viewers can’t see his face in the theater, his words and actions will speak volumes if played by the right actor. Even the seemingly one-dimensional Captain Hammer seems to be made for the stage (originally played by Nathan Fillion of Firefly) this character is crying out for his own dance number in the mini-series, and with the space that a large stage can provide, there is nothing this narcissistic “corporate tool” can’t do.
Dr. Horrible (originally played by Neil Patrick Harris) is an aspiring super villain who is in the process of applying for a position in the Evil League of Evil, run by Bad Horse, the evilest of evil villains ever to antagonize the populous.
The audience discovers during the first blog entry that Captain Hammer is Dr. Horrible’s nemesis and, of course, that the beautiful Penny is his love interest. Despite his evil aspirations, he can barely get up the courage to speak to her when he sees her at the laundromat.
His life starts to spiral downward during the heist that should have sealed his application to the League. Not only does Captain Hammer intervene with the van, causing the car to veer out of control, but the van almost hits Penny. It is thanks to Dr. Horrible that Penny is saved, but Captain Hammer somehow manages to steal his spotlight again—this time along with the girl.
Dr. Horrible manages to walk away with the Wonderflonium for his freeze ray, but he does so with full knowledge that Penny is now in love with Captain Hammer and that he now must find a new despicable deed to submit to the League. The results of this disastrous heist lead to an eventual tragedy of Shakespearian proportions that somehow satisfies whilst being utterly depressing.