“Lizard Boy” at Seattle Rep

One of the most multi-talented performer/artists in town is the not-yet-30 Justin Huertas. He’s a cellist, guitar player, actor, singer, dancer, artist, composer, and now playwright. This, his first musical theatre piece, “Lizard Boy” now playing at Seattle Rep under the direction of Brandon Ivie has been gestating for almost five years.

Its evolution began when the Rep’s artistic director, Jerry Manning, recognized Justin’s talent and wanted to stimulate its development. At that time Justin was touring with “Spring Awakening” but both Manning and the Rep’s Education Director Andrea Allen encouraged him, “Keep diaries of your experiences; write about your life.” Over the years Manning and Allen continued their encouragement until tragically both died, but not the spark they lit within Justin, and from it came “Lizard Boy,” a story of an unlikely hero with the green, scaly skin of a lizard.

Lizard boy is an ambitious, bright, talented, very lonely, gay guy, like so many others. Summoning up all his nerve, he goes to a gay dating web site and arranges a hook up.

All the awkwardness and hesitations of a first date are exaggerated by the fact that he has that lizard-like skin. But in some strange way the date works. Two somewhat awkward and somewhat shy men go out and have themselves a late night experience where the music soars, the theatre rocks, and Lizard Boy is on his way, helped along by his date Cary (William A. Williams) and a gorgeous but dangerous blonde named Siren (Kirsten deLohr Helland).

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Kirsten deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas and William A. Williams. Photo: Alabastro Photography.

All three are musicians as well as actors. Huertas announced that he wanted the music to feel like it’s coming from a garage band that’s having a really good time. And it does that and more. His fellow actor/musicians both play piano, guitar and other instruments, and together the trio causes the theatre to vibrate.

The backdrop is a series of Huertas’ manga-like cartoons that follow the action. The drop-dead costume that is Siren’s body suit leaves nothing to the imagination. Or, should I say it encourages all types of imagination among male audience members?

You don’t come here for the plot. I’m still trying to get all the comic book parts in order, and I don’t think either Huertas or the Rep have quite figured that out yet. What you get instead is a happening! A stage experience that is an explosion of young talent, one of those presentations that reminds you of what a splendid theatre community Seattle is. Oh, and if money is tight, you can get front row seats to every performance for $5.00 in person. Available one-hour before performance (subject to availability) at the box office.

Through April 26 at Seattle Rep, 155 Mercer St., Seattle Center, (206 443-2222 or seattlerep.org).

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