by Kevin Taft
EDGE Contributor
Tuesday Mar 12, 2013
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Spoofs of popular bad movies or TV shows are nothing new, but they can be hit or miss depending on the cleverness of the writers and cast. Overplay the obvious and it becomes a bit of a dud. Hit the nuances right, however, and you’ve got it nailed. Thankfully, this is the giddy tone of "Invincible, The Legend of Billie Jean -- The Musical" which knows how to make fun of a beloved bad movie and still make it smart and clever.

The ’80s film has become a cult classic due to its nutty story-line, self-serious speeches ("fair is fair!") and random coming-of-age nonsense (the actress who plays the voice of Lisa Simpson gets her period in the back seat of a beat up car.) In reality, the movie is kind of a drag, but it’s the weirdo structure and plot that people love to make fun of.

In short, Billie Jean (Helen Slater) is a hot redneck teenage girl who lives in a trailer park with her loving mother and brother Binx (Christan Slater). Her relationship with her brother is a bit gross as they seem more like sexually frustrated boyfriend and girlfriend then siblings. Anyway, Binx has a motorbike that some roughnecks smash up because Billie Jean won’t give "it" up to them.

Binx gets the bike back, but is beat up in the process. So Billie Jean storms down to the auto repair shop owned by the main bully’s father where she demands the kid (Hubey) pay back the $608 it will cost to fix the bike. Hubey’s dad Mr. Pyatt tries to work out a deal with Billie Jean which would include him forcefully having sex with her. (Sounds logical to me.

This doesn’t sit well with brother Binx who pulls a gun on Mr. Pyatt that he finds in the cash register. Before you can say "what is up with all these crazy names?" the gun accidentally goes off and Mr. Pyatt is shot. The kids dash out and soon enough they are on the lam with two of their friends in tow.

The "legend" of Billie Jean is that their story inexplicably makes national headlines and the rumors about her and her friends being violent delinquents begin to swell. Stranger still, after she videotapes her "we’re innocent and not going to take it anymore" speech that they send to the news outlets, she becomes this hero for a new age and teens across the country become infatuated with her.

Everyone -- from the members of the small ensemble who play multiple roles to Jacquelyn Denning’s Putter (the infamous period-getter) to Sam Pancake’s dude Binx to Matthew Herrmann’s dual role as Hubey and rich boy Lloyd -- is terrific.  Along the way Billie Jean will cut her hair off after seeing two minutes of "Saint Joan," save an abused child, and make her famous speech that includes her nonsensical mantra, "fair is fair." (Seems fairly obvious, no? "Tree is tree!")

Directed by Kurt Koehner, the spoof musical is a loving and hilarious homage to the ludicrousness. You might remember that the only good thing to come out of the film was the theme song called "Invincible" by Pat Benatar. Benatar notoriously hated the film, so it’s only fitting that her music be used "jukebox-musical" style to aid in telling the story.

Oddly enough, the songs fit quite nicely. But it’s really the cast that makes this dizzy confection soar. Everyone -- from the members of the small ensemble who play multiple roles to Jacquelyn Denning’s Putter (the infamous period-getter) to Sam Pancake’s dude Binx to Matthew Herrmann’s dual role as Hubey and rich boy Lloyd -- is terrific.

But as Billie Jean, Jennifer Dohn is the show’s true star. Every winking nuance of the character is played to giggly perfection. She knows how to play the character so straight that it makes it that much more entertaining. Not to mention, the girl has some pipes on her. She’s just a delight to watch and reminded me of a young Kristen Wiig. She’s that good.

Benatar’s music is cleverly dispersed throughout and used in inventive ways. "Shadows of the Night" is particularly amusing when, halfway through, the cast is literally dancing with their "shadows." That said, the show doesn’t make fun of Benatar’s music. In fact, it just displays how awesome it is and how relevant it can still be.

That’s the beauty of it. We’re laughing at the mocking of a film that deserves to be mocked, but then rocking out in our seats to some incredible ’80s classics. What more could you want?

"Invincible, The Legend of Billie Jean -- The Musical" runs through March 23 at the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater, Casita Del Campo, 1920 Hyperion Ave, Silverlake, CA. For info or tickets, visit www.cavernclubtheater.com

 
 
Some of the most fun I've had a live event in a long time. As much fun as The Spidey Project and just as clever. If you are a fan of the movie or just enjoy creative theater, you will have a great time!
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



If you like the movie and like Pat Benatar, you will LOVE the play! Campy, intimate fun!! We were so close, I could feel the sweat drip off the actors.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



The creativity surrounding this show is phenomenal. The writers took a "blah" film script from the 80's and turned it into a bonafide musical comedy. How did they see that all of Pat Benatar's hits fit into the plotline? It's uncanny. I haven't seen a cast work so hard in a long time. Truly an ensemble piece. Only 3 actors are not in the main cast of characters, but their work shines equally bright (sometimes more), because they commit to every insane shenanigan the director has put before them! I wish it had a longer run.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW


funny. there is not a dull moment
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



I haven't laughed this much since seeing "Chico's Angels." What's surprising is you apparently don't need to see the film prior as one of my guests hadn't and laughed all the way through. She streamed the film the next day on line and called to tell me she much preferred the play.

It's amazing the level that these actors commit to their characters to make parody come across as hilariously serious. Even the secondary roles grab onto their characters and make them so in your face; you can't help but even love the villains.

If you have not seen this show, put it on your list QUICK. It's a must see. Just make sure you pee before curtain or you may have an unintended accident during the show. You are forewarned.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



Hilarious play! Loved it!!! Face hurt so much cuz I couldn't stop laughing.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



The director and creator of this show has assembled a truly entertaining evening. If you are a kid of the '80's, you will be floored by how much comes back to you. If you are not, you will appreciate and fall in love with the performances, from the main characters to the ensemble.

I felt that it was an evening where the whole audience is into it and the execution of the dance moves on such a limited space stage are rather extraordinary.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



One of the funniest shows I have ever seen! We laughed till we hurt.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW



Invincible made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed during any other play or performance. The intimate space is perfect, as I feel you get a much better experience being able to see every hilarious facial expression. The use of the small set was so incredibly creative; from the hanging bedsheet that depicted a lake, to the projection screen, to the puppet - everything worked perfectly. The actors were SPECTACULAR. Everyone was actually funny and could actually sing! This production surpassed all of my expectations.
GOLDSTAR REVIEW

 
 
“Invincible is a Benatar bonanza!...  Billie Jean is perfect here, but it's got enough going for it that we could see it in a bigger venue too. The movie's motto, may have been "Fair is fair," but at this androgynous '80s-themed spectacle, fair is fierce!”
Lina Lacaro - LA WEEKLY – “Pat Benatar meets “Billie Jean” in a Basement – Invincible Rocks the ‘80s”


“… it WAS AWESOME!! I laughed till my belly ached. Go see it before it's too late!!”
Kris Nicholas - Goldstar Review

“To all of us PAT BENATAR fans far and wide, WE BELONG at this show!  Saw it last night – campy, hilarious FUN.”
Xaque Gruber, Venice Magazine


“What a crazy night! Lots of fun.”
Goldstar Review

“The show was so fricken funny – loved IT!!!!  Fair is Fair!”
Kris Nicholas – Facebook Review

“I saw the show last night and it was awesome!!!!  If you can go, you must.  The story is hilarious and the songs are great!  Can’t recommend it enough.”
Bradley Jacobson – Facebook Review


“Outrageous…  Very camp & fun.”
Alan Trevor - Goldstar Review

“… I was particularly impressed with how successful they were in integrating the PAT BENATAR songs into the storyline. ..I would recommend this musical for its originality and great acting.”
Todd - Goldstar Review

“This show was so awesome!  I want to see it again!”
Tris Beezley – Facebook Review


“The show was hilarious!  Loved it!”
Maile Flanagan – Facebook Review
 
 
It's time again for that fantastic night out in the basement of a Mexican Restaurant.  THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN returns for three weekends only! Don't miss out on this HEARTBREAKER of a show that teaches LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD so just run with THE SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT. HELL IS FOR CHILDREN after all and we will be INVINCIBLE!
 
 

THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN The Musical Re-opens!

May 25th - June 2nd! Two weekends only! Save $5 for discount code FAIR IS FAIR.  This rock-n-roll musical featuring the hits of Pat Benetar has taken LA by storm.  Show must close on June 2nd so don't miss your chance to see this 80's experience.
 
 
"One of the funniest shows I have ever seen! We laughed till we hurt."
Marc - Goldstar.com





"funny. there is not a dull moment",
Goldstar Member





"I haven't laughed this much since seeing "Chico's Angels." What's surprising is you apparently don't need to see the film prior as one of my guests hadn't and laughed all the way through. She streamed the film the next day on line and called to tell me she much preferred the play.

It's amazing the level that these actors commit to their characters to make parody come across as hilariously serious. Even the secondary roles grab onto their characters and make them so in your face; you can't help but even love the villains.

If you have not seen this show, put it on your list QUICK. It's a must see. Just make sure you pee before curtain or you may have an unintended accident during the show. You are forewarned."
Peter Fields - Goldstar.com


 
 
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Oh 1985, you were a very good year.   My family ran a dirt bike race track in Odessa Texas called “Roadrunner ” and we were there most weekends.  We had an all-female team called “the BMX Darlings”. HOT!!  I was a force to be reckoned with on those dirt whoop-dee-dos, anthills and hairpin turns… believe it!   One of my favorite memories is watching my mom win a Mother’s Day bike race just months after she had given birth.   Now that is girl POWER!  We were not allowed to go see “The Legend of Billie Jean” because my mom thought it looked smutty.  I think she noticed that Helen Slater wasn’t wearing a bra and that put the movie in the forbidden category.  I loved Pat Benetar and watched the video for Invincible a million times which included clips from the movie (suck it Mom).  I loved the Goonies too and imagined riding my bike with my brothers and sisters to find buried treasure (I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers so we were our own version of the Goonies).  I was a mini-feminist even back then and loved the power that the women of the 80s were bringing.  Thank you Lauper, Harry, Jett, Benetar and all you other 80’s ladies for inspiring me and so many others! We will be INVINCIBLE.  

 
 
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Oh, Summer of 1985, I remember you well! Crawling around on the ground, eating bugs out of the window sill, screaming to have my diapers changed... yes, it was my first summer living away from home at the beach!  My friend Chris McCauley and I rented a house in Virginia Beach, VA between semesters (OF GRADE SCHOOL,OF COURSE), and scored jobs right by the shore. He became a waiter at a "fancy" hotel restaurant, and I, being too shy to be a server--I've since blossomed, in case you haven't noticed-- snagged a gig at a surf shop/T-shirt emporium.  I recall living on a fairly steady diet of home-made banana daiquiris and Hardee's biscuits; slathering myself in Panama Jack tanning oil (FUCK SUNSCREEN) while sporting the latest Billabong or Quicksilver board shorts, and  listening to Talking Heads and The B-52's non-stop.  It was also the first, and last, summer I tried to learn to surf -- umm, that shit is HARD. ( I also had a mini-breakdown in August brought on by lack of nutrition and pent-up sexual frustration, and almost had to be hospitalized, but that's a story for another day.  Come on, it wouldn't be The South if I didn't have a Blanche DuBois moment or three!) AND, OH, the movies!! We went to the movies constantly, and what a summer it was for flicks: Back to the Future, Cocoon, Prizzi's Honor, The Goonies, Weird Science, A View to a Kill, Return to Oz, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Clue, Jewel of the Nile and St. Elmo's Fire, just to name a few. Two very distinct  movie memories I have from that summer include driving to Norfolk to see Blood Simple in the art house theatre there BY MYSELF--a first! -- and seeing (for the first of hundreds of times) one of my all time faves Pee Wee's Big Adventure with a high school wrestler co-worker buddy and an entire bottle of rum sneaked into the theatre in my Jams...that was quite a night. BUT somehow...I missed "The Legend of Billie Jean"! I was probably passed out behind the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster at Busch Gardens or somesuch when my friends hit that one. I did, of course see it years later, and even later than that, Christian Slater was coincidentally one of the first celebrities I met when I moved to Los Angeles. AND NOW Helen Slater and I have the same agent! For realz! Dreams come true, not free. Oh, Hollywood! Oh, one more thing: I was always a huge Pat Benatar fan, and was OBSESSED with the song "Invincible." I even remember saying to my loving, but very strait-laced grandmother that year at some point, as she was complaining about how "bold and wild kids were these days": "But, Grandmother, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BE INNOCENT." Thank you, Pat and Billie!

 
 
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1985. My freshman year at Castle High School in the one-traffic-light town of Newburgh, IN. Hair spray, sweater dresses, pep rallies,  Swatch watches and braces. Good lord, I was a hot mess. I was in a singing group called "Broadway Babies" - we performed all over the city at such high-profile venues as the McCurdy Retirement Center and the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Schnucks grocery store off highway 66. "85 was the year I joined the thespian club and sang in my best cockney accent in MY FAIR LADY, dated a punk-rocker, and became a woman. Yep, I said it. Just like PUTTER. Hey, I was a year younger than my classmates and a late bloomer.   I was far too dorky and straight-laced to sport the edgy Pat Benatar look that took schools by storm. Let's face it, I was a lot more like PUTTER... minus the child abuse, trailer park and juvenile delinquency. But no doubt, had BILLIE JEAN asked me to go on the run for justice, I would have.... I just would have called my mom & dad first.  

 
 
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I really loved Pat Benatar - I was first and foremost a Debbie Harry/Blondie freak but Pat was on the same label (Chrysalis) as Blondie and also had the same producer for a lot of her stuff, Mike Chapman.   I loved the Blondie sound and I, of course, loved the Pat Benatar sound - Pat really had the voice and was even tinier than Debbie.  Amazing the power her voice had and still has although, to be snarky, Debbie's has aged much better.  And Debbie actually wore the blazer over one-piece swim suit thing long before Pat, even though Pat worked that look more.  And Pat didn't wear a black & white cut-out swim suit under her jacket - she wore a leotard straight out of, like, the Danskin store at the mall - and that, kids, is what makes one a punk and not just your run of the mill rock star.   Not that I'm knocking Pat - again, she's one of my very faves and I'm loving singing all the songs that I know by heart that all these other kids in the cast have never heard of.  How sad.  You all know that "We Live For Love" was written about Linda Blair - Neil "Spider" Geraldo's girlfriend before marrying Pat.  Linda rocked a lot of rock stars - but this show is all about Pat.  Billie Jean is even wearing little Pat Benatar boots in the show - and that my friend is one of the things that Pat owns over any other pop/rock star - Pat Benatar Boots.  They're not ankle boots or half boots or Catherine Deneuve in "The Hunger" opening scene boots - they're Pat Benatar Boots - and like her music they will rock forever!!!!!  "Yeah-eah, ooh-ooh"  One more thing for the kids - Pat was the Whitney Houston before Whitney came out about the time Pat's career waned - what is unique about Pat is that she just sang the notes and that was enough.  Post Whitney Houston female power house singers (Ann Wilson not including) just sang AROUND the notes i.e. Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and all them ho's trying out for American Idol & other shit shows.  That's annoying.  If you're a really compelling singer (like Pat) you can get away with anything  musically by just singing what's written and bringing your essence through your vocal tone - not by acrobatics.  Ok, I'm done.