|Kurt Koehler Productions||
1985 was a big year for me. I was on the verge of being able to read, and I could almost tie my shoes! I already knew I was going to be a famous actress, but I've always had a psychic streak in me. This headshot is from later in the 80's when my Mom finally wised up and stopped getting me headshots at the passport photo center. My first ever headshot (not this one) was for my role as Young Florence in "Chess" and it featured my frizzy hair, my gap-toothed smile and stars in the background. I really stood out in the playbill. Being both a fan of "The Little Mermaid" and "LaVerne & Shirley," I couldn't believe I got cast in "Chess" alongside Jodi Benson and Eddie Mekka. Talk about a dream come true! But that was 1989. In 1985...honestly, I don't have many memories from 1985. I ate by myself in preschool and spent most days plotting how I was going to grab a trike from one of the five-year old guys who always hogged them, then speed off campus and not stop 'til I got to Mexico! I guess I had a little Billie Jean in me, come to think of it. I was blonde like Billie Jean, too. Just kidding. I look jaundiced when I'm blonde..which is why I need to stop writing this blog entry and get back to tanning my yellowish-white Irish skin for the show. See ya at the Cavern Club, y'all!Fair is Fair!
The first half of 1985 I was an intern at a theatre in Memphis, TN. We were housed in a run down pre-Civil War mansion that was falling apart. To spice that up a bit, an eccentric actor from the original DARK SHADOWS TV show would walk around the house in the middle of the night dressed in a tuxedo. Apparently he...well, thought he was a vampire. The 2nd half of the year I lived in Mobile, AL and toured in a musical about Wild Pecos Bill. But hold on to your spurs because, I was the pistol toting title character. LA folks under estimate my butchness. I didn’t get to the movies much that year but I had a boom box and I remember loving Pat Benatar’s INVINCIBLE...though for a long while I thought it was INVISIBLE, but I blame that on the cheap batteries. My thanks to Kurt Koehler and James Quinn for casting me in 13 roles in this production. I really don’t mind that I spend most of the show standing in my underwear backstage wondering what to put on next because that’s sort of what I do at home.
“Pat Benatar meets “Billie Jean” in a Basement – Invincible Rocks the ‘80s”
“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
“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
“The show was hilarious! Loved it!”
Maile Flanagan – Facebook Review
The first time I ever heard about “The Legend of Billie Jean” was from Kurt when he asked me to attend a reading. It had never crossed my radar screen. When it opened in 1985 and subsequently played thousands of times on MTV, I was living in Europe. I don’t remember if it ever reached European markets, but if it did, it probably played better because of dubbing or subtitles, the Europeans way of ‘fixing it in post.’ It took me three sessions to sit and watch the whole thing. All I could think of was how much cocaine, that ubiquitous show biz drug of the 80s, must have been on the set to come up with this vigilante movie. Visuals of children lining the walls of warehouses? And all of this over a scooter? I repeat, all of this over a scooter? Huh? I guess Billie Jean was never taught to pick her battles.
I love working on this show because, let’s face it, with such talented people, it really isn’t work. Being the ‘older’ person on stage (i.e., the one without hair coloring), I am not required to do much but make the 30/40 year olds look like teenagers by comparison and feed them straight lines, the few in the show. It is a joy to see what people do with the actual lines from the movie. It is so ripe with possibility. And of course, when everyone is laughing in rehearsal, you know the audience will as well.
Looking for THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN on DVD? I know it's been hard to find, since it's release on VHS in the 80's. Thanks to the Warner Brother's Archives you can now purchase the DVD (not sold in stores). Warner Archives releases sought after films on their web site www.wbshop.com. Sony and MGM have some missing gems that can also be found there.
Click the picture to be taken right to the site!
In 1985, I had my first apartment in Chicago. It was a 2BR, 2B for $425 - that I split with a roommate! I also had a cool boyfriend who was into punk music and John Mellencamp (who back then went by John Cougar). Trivia: We split up in 1986, but dated again in 2003 in Los Angeles.
A few years earlier I was in a cover band. We always opened with Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker". In the 2nd set we did "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", and still squeezed in Pat's version of John Cougar's "I Need A Lover". She was definitely the queen of rock at the time. Trivia: I still have the band's demo.
I was attending a theatre conservatory in 1985 and most of us girls sported a "Flashdance" look including myself. I'd shop at Amvets or the Salvation Army where I'd buy t-shirts just to cut them up. That summer I got my first pair of pink Jellies. Trivia: I use both my original '80's eyeglass frames and legwarmers in the show!
Ahhh, I want my MTV! Remember Martha Quinn? Remember music videos? In the early days music videos didn't need to make sense. Throw in some smoke and a horse, now close up in the horse's eye ball. We definitely had the best of MTV in the 80's. My favorite show was JUST SAY JULIE with Julie Brown making fun of music videos, which reminds me, when are those coming out on DVD.
Sometimes music videos had a story. in LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD Pat Benatar showed us that the hardship of running away from home meant becoming a private dancer and working for an evil pimp. Then over throw that pimp but having all girls gang up on him with fantastic and memorable dance moves. A dance that would become so memorable that only Michael Jackson's THRILLER could top it. And you if need a reminder of how absurd 80's music videos can be, just check out CAPTAIN EO at the Disney parks. At one time, that video was considered "totally awesome".
I was just a wee lad in the 8th grade in 1985. My high school combined middle school (7th and 8th grades) with the rest of the high school population, so you were reminded everyday just how small you really are. Having an older brother as a senior that year really helped, because all the older girls wanted to be my friend, which helped tremendously with getting beer.
I remember THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN with a great fondness, and because it played on cable over and over again I could recite parts of the movie. "Fair is fair" "She's everywhere" and of course singing "WE WILL BE INVINCIBLE". We had so much to angry about at that age, being pushed around because we're "just a bunch of kids". THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN taught us to cut our hair like Joan of Arc (which was so totally in) and stand up to the powers that be and we could do anything. REVOLUTION! Isn't that what's so exciting about THE HUNGER GAMES right now? Did I just compare BILLIE JEAN with the HUNGER GAMES? Yes I did. Mainly to get some google traffic, but also to say we love a female underdog story.
We're back with your favorite Pat Benatar tribute rock musical INVICIBLE: THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN. An adaptation of the film from 1985 that made you cut your hair short, sing Pat Benatar's INVINCIBLE, and yell "FAIR IS FAIR!"
Fair is fair!” That is the rebel-rousing cry of sultry 18 year-old Billie Jean Davy (Jennifer Dohn) and her band of teenage misfits; on the run from the law and in search of truth, justice and a kick-ass haircut! It’s the summer of 1985, Corpus Christi, Texas. Local bully, rich-kid, Hubie Pyatt (John Cantwell), has maliciously vandalized the brand new Honda Scooter belonging to dirt poor Binx Davey (Sam Pancake): a purchase made by the 16 year-old trailer park resident with insurance money left to him by his dead father. (Are you in tears yet?!) It’s up to big sis, Billie, to convince Hubie’s sleazeoid father to cough up the $608 for repairs. Fair is fair, after all!
But things don’t go as planned. After several sweaty moments in Mr. Pyatt’s (Hutchins Foster) back room, a gunshot, and a charge of armed robbery; Billie and Binx are furiously fleeing the state with fellow trailer park comrades in tow: 16 year-old, boy-crazy, Ophelia Bray (Beth Leckbee), and precocious tomboy, 14 year-old, Putter Jacks (Jacquelyn Denning); as well as a more than willing hostage: 17 year-old cutie, Lloyd Muldaur (also John Cantwell), son of District Attorney, Maria Muldaur (Doreen Calderon). They’re dodging the law, fighting for their rights, saving abused children, and creating eye-popping fashion statements wherever they go! This is the setup of the 1985 cult hit film “The Legend of Billie Jean.” Through in a Detective (Brian Dyer) and some 80's crazed Billie Jean Fans (Nora Miller and Terry Ray) and you've got a story and plot. We think?
A tribute musical to rock goddess Pat Benatar, you're gonna love this outrageous brand new workshop production of “Invincible, The Legend of Billie Jean!” Brought to the Cavern Club Celebrity Theatre by the director/co-creator of the hit, comedic, camp-classic “Chico’s Angels, Kurt Koehler.”
If you were a kid of the 80’s, then you remember how much you loved it. If not, then you’ll want to find out what has everyone all fired up! So grab your heels, your legwarmers, and your best acid wash jeans, and join us… Relive the legend!
It had to happen sooner or later. Closing weekend is upon us. The show really hit it's stride on Opening and Last Saturday and will prove to go out with a BANG this Friday and Saturday night. If you haven't purchased tickets, I suggest you make plans now and get them while they last.
So far there is no plan to return the show, but if the response proves worthy this weekend, we may concider it. Kurt has already returned to rehearsals for CHICO'S ANGELS LOVE BOAT CHICAS, which re-opens July 14 and is already selling out the first two weekends. He's also busy with his editor editing the last two music videos for CHICO'S ANGELS. Check out the third online www.chicosangels.com