“Cannibal! The Musical’: Museum fundraiser at Avalon
Lovers of musical theater and history, at least sort of, whose appetites have gone unsated for more than a year now, finally can lick their chops.
Musical theater is returning to downtown Grand Junction, if only for a two-day stand, in the form of “Cannibal! The Musical” at the Avalon Theatre. “Cannibal!” is a fundraiser for the Museum of Western Colorado.
Working with Mesa State College, the museum has led the effort to fill out the story of what happened in the snowy San Juan Mountains when Alferd Packer and five gold-hungry prospectors were trapped in the snow. Packer emerged alone that spring, was tried for murder, beat the rap and eventually was imprisoned for cannibalism, the one crime he never denied.
What happened along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison in the winter of 1874?
“Cannibal! the Musical” doesn’t pretend to clear up any questions, but it does put them to music.
The idea of using the script by Trey Parker of “South Park” fame was first cooked up behind the curtains at the last Packer trial, which was staged at the Cabaret Dinner Theater, actor David Kenworthy said.
The dinner theater closed last February.
The idea of a local production of “Cannibal! The Musical,” though, went to the front burner when Kenworthy ran into David Bailey, curator of history for the museum, who encouraged him to seek out the script.
“I loved that show,” Bailey said.
“I went home and got on the computer that very night,” Kenworthy said, and the plan started to sizzle when The Lost Theater Troupe, a direct reference to the Cabaret closure, was put together for it.
“Cannibal! The Musical” is about done to a T and will be staged Friday and Saturday at the Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.
Billed as a classic Broadway-style musical with show-stopping numbers and fast-paced dialogue, it’s actually even more. The troupe has taken advantage of computer graphics to create some spooky images they’ll project in double homage to the Packer story and to Halloween.
The miners, for instance, will be warned, to no avail, “You’re doomed,” by a disembodied head.
And for the comic part of the comic violence, audiences will see Packer teeing up a head and whaling away, a la Tiger Woods, with a golf club.
For that reason, the museum is recommending the show for mature audiences and encouraging parental discretion.
Along with Kenworthy as Packer, Kristin Murcer will play Polly Pry, the Denver Post reporter who advocated he be pardoned, and the prime roles of the miners will be played by Rich Lyon, Michael Combs, Brent Basham, Robert Dolan and Seth Armour.