The Hippodrome Theatre Presents "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane"
Start writing a post
Entertainment

The Hippodrome Theatre Presents "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane"

An inside look at the Hippodrome's interpretation of a classic horror film.

41
The Hippodrome Theatre Presents "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane"
Michael Eaddy and the Hippodrome Theatre

With Halloween around the corner, one might be looking for the perfect event that balances laughs with thrills. The Hippodrome Theatre, a company that puts on a Halloween-themed show each season (i.e. “Slasher,” “All-Girl Frankenstein”), just opened the East Coast premiere of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” adapted from the 1962 black-and-white psychological thriller movie by Dale Guzman. This play, first premiering in Canton, Ohio being staged by Gilda Shedstecker productions, is a stage horror parody of the film responsible for relaunching the falling careers of aging actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Director Lauren Warhol Caldwell was excited to work on this show. "We've been waiting for a very, very long time. There's been chatter around the country about an adaptation for the stage of 'Baby Jane,' and, finally, there was one that we thought was pretty good, and we snagged it."

This story takes place over the course of about three decades. Baby Jane Crawford is a famous child star known for her work as an actress and singer- much to the jealousy of her older sister Blanche.

When Blanche gains greater fame in the Hollywood scene, releasing more praiseworthy pictures than her sister as a child, Jane resorts to alcoholism to nurse her inflated ego. Blanche becomes paralyzed from the waist down when Jane allegedly runs over her sister with her car. Jane does everything she can to make Blanche's life miserable and frightening while attempting to make a comeback with her own career.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of the rehearsals and speak with the cast and director of this production.

Caldwell discusses how "Baby Jane" is seen as an aging child star's slow descent into madness. "Sometimes, people are just born with a computer chip that just gives them this ego and hubris...What happens is, [these stars a]re the ones who are earning the buck...[and] the more money she makes, the more famous she becomes, and that ego begins to grow out of proportion...We are catching [Jane] at the brink of this [dissent]."

Whether you constantly read tabloids about the trials and tribulations of former child stars like Lindsey Lohan, Shia LaBeouf, and Macaulay Culkin, or are a student at an academically challenging and high-pressure university coping with the stresses of no longer being the best or brightest in your class, this production can remind us of the very flaws that make us human.

Bryan Mercer, a Hippodrome veteran, who plays Adult Jane and music directs this production, takes on the challenge of portraying the role created by Bette Davis in the film in a believable manner while remaining true to the film. "We aren't trying to reinvent the wheel on it," Mercer says. Despite being a huge Bette Davis fan (even seeing her perform in Daytona Beach as a child), Mercer found his role daunting in a unique way. "When Warhol [Caldwell] talked to me [about the show], it scared me to death because we're riding that fine line of impersonation...but [have] to give [those familiar with the film] enough of what they want, yet take it to the next level."

Mark Chambers, who plays Adult Blanche in this production, has a similar weight placed on his shoulders, by playing the role originated by Joan Crawford. "I can never be Joan Crawford. She was an iconic, gorgeous woman, even in her seventies." When experimenting with Crawford's vocal and physical mannerisms during the rehearsal process, Chambers realized that he had to bring elements of himself into the role of Blanche.

With the gradual addition of props (including a lifelike "Baby Jane" doll), period costumes, makeup (including female aging makeup for the two leading men), lighting, and even projected footage from the original film, this production of "Baby Jane" will be cohesively creepy yet campy.

Whether you are from a generation that knew and loved "Baby Jane" or are completely unfamiliar with the film, Davis, or Crawford, you will be able to gain insight on the world of old Hollywood, think about how young performers of today enter a state of insanity after they are deemed unfit to continue working in the business, and enjoy class act performances that breathe new life into an old film.


The Hippodrome Theatre presents

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

A Stage Horror Parody by Dale Gutzman. An East Coast Premiere.

Directed by Lauren Warhol Caldwell, Costume Design by Jessica Kreitzer, Lighting Design by Bob Robins, Scenic Design by Mihai Ciupe, Sound Design by Amanda Yanes.

Featuring: Mark Chambers*, Jake Lesh, Nial McGinty, Bryan Mercer, Sara Morsey*, Maya Handa Naff*, Ariel Reich, Christie Robinson, Madeline Smyth, Logan Wolfe.

*Member of the Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Opened: October 14, 2016. Closing: November 6, 2016.

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday at 7:00pm; Friday at 8:00pm; Saturday at 5:00pm and 8:30pm; Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm.

For more information, please go to www.thehipp.org.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Politics and Activism

Is Thrift Shopping *Actually* Ethical?

There's been a recent boom in the popularity of vintage style looks and up-cycling thrifted finds to sell at, usually, an outrageous price. Is this ethical? Or does it defeat the whole purpose of thrifting in the first place?

523
Is Thrift Shopping *Actually* Ethical?

One day, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a tweet about upper-middle-class class people thrift shopping. I personally was against the up cycling/re-selling trend because I thought it to be greedy. Then, I began to see more and more tweets, and then stated to see ones about those who buy thrifted, name brand items and sell them for what they're actually worth instead of the very low price they got them for.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Holidays With the Family?

Should retail outlets close on holidays so their employees can be with their families?

1156
Pexels

For the past few years, having stores open on Thanksgiving has become a popular trend. The sales have started earlier on the day known as Gray Thursday. Now, the Mall of America has taken a bold stand and is closing its doors on Thanksgiving. They are very excited in giving the day back to their workers so they can spend time with their family.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Black Friday: Explained

Time to question this unofficial corporate holiday.

4112
Flickr/John Henderson

On a personal level, Black Friday has always confused me. Everyone just ate a ton and spent all day with their families—why would we want to go out and vigorously shop, fighting crowds? I totally see why other people want to go do it, but I’ve never quite understood the concept myself. While I’ve been Black Friday shopping once or twice, I don’t get that excited about it unless it’s an opportunity to spend time with family or friends. Don’t get me wrong; I am the queen of bargains. Still, I never seem to have the energy to go out into the jungle of shoppers early the day after Thanksgiving, or even immediately after Thanksgiving dinner. Many people, though—including my loved ones—are enthusiastic about Black Friday shopping, and it seems most other Americans are the same way. So, it’s worth looking at the reasons for this commercially-driven, unofficial American holiday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

#OptOutside This Black Friday

I am opting to go outside this Black Friday, and I hope you do so as well.

6318
Ross Woodhall

The day after Thanksgiving has always been regarded by many as the beginning of the Christmas season. While not a federal holiday, many people take off work, spend time at home with their families, and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. This Friday off turned into a prime opportunity to begin the never-ending chore of Christmas shopping. Soon it became one of the busiest shopping days a year, which companies capitalized on by bringing the best deals of the year to this day we know as Black Friday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Moments You Only Experience As A Night Owl

Cereal never seemed more appealing than at 10 pm.

7310
7 Moments You Only Experience As A Night Owl

There is almost nothing more annoying in the world than waking up to the sound of an alarm. From the moment you get up until the time you get to bed, you are bombarded with responsibilities. You have to go to work and school, run errands, and do favors. But if you're a night owl then you have an advantage of getting a few more extra hours in the day. Here are seven perks to being a night owl:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments