The six-member cast belted out songs with lyrics like, “I’m freakin’ Meatloaf,” “Rock, rock the sock” and “It’s in my toes, it’s in my butt, it’s in my head.”
An opera addict and R2-D2 made brief appearances, and a frenzied duel took place between an imaginary cello and a pretend piano.
The not-so-typical musical was a creation of Baby Wants Candy, a Chicago-based improv group who begins their act by asking the audience to name a never-before-seen musical.
Friday night’s audience in Sheslow Auditorium shouted their suggestions and the original musical, “My Best Friend is Meatloaf ” began.
Those who missed it will just have to ask someone who was there, as the group never repeats a show. Every aspect is made up on the spot, and even the piano, guitar and drum players from the band are improvising.
The event was a part of Parent and Family Weekend, and brought in a crowd of over 300 Drake students, parents and faculty.
First-year student Kayli Mermka brought her parents from Fort Dodge, Iowa. Her father, Dennis, had never seen an improv show before, and said he did enjoy it.
“It was better than what I thought,” her mother, Stacy, added.
First-year student Molly Peterson even participated in the event, going onstage as a volunteer at the start of the show. The cast had her describe her day, then proceeded to act out what her dreams that night could be composed of as a result.
“I thought it was great,” she said. “It’s really hard to be impromptu and musical. Ten out of 10.”
During the show, Chris Witaske played a has-been Meatloaf, the musician, who was making a comeback from his motorized scooter (made from a stationary chair being pushed around by fellow cast members).
The story progressed to encompass a family feud between a rock ‘n’ roll loving little boy, Nick Semar, and his classically trained uncle, Nathan Jansen, as well as a love story.
Nothing quite says “romance” like three grown men doing ballet leaps across the stage during the ballad.
Another song where Semar jumped onto Witaske’s lap as they were pushed around on the “scooter” got big laughs from the audience, as did a crack about the Drake Relays. The players garnered more chuckles from the parents by making off-base references to Meatloaf lyrics and songs.
The event opened and closed with performances by Drake student improv group D.I.C.E.Y.
During the show’s final act, Baby Wants Candy invited them onstage for a game of “Freeze” and they all took turns replacing each other in short scenes.
“It was a blast,” said Baby Wants Candy player Aidy Bryant.
“We were glad we could play with them at the end,” added fellow performer John Hartman. “They were really good hosts.”
Photos: Jessica Hamilton