What could be harder then to have to choose between true love and rock stardom? Both opportunities only come once in a lifetime.
Producer and director Shakina Nayfack takes you on a journey into making difficult or bad decisions in life and the consequences from them.
Seven years in the making, “Junk, A Rock Opera” is slightly different in that the Swedish band Brainpool developed the soundtrack and lyrics first. Nayfack then adapted the music into a 14-person show.
“It is part social satire, part love story and part existential allegory,” says Nayfack.
Nayfack, Zachary Provost, the musical director, Ramie Becker, the choreographer and Brainpool did a wonderful job of blending music, dance and singing together in this amazing performance.
It will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that is enjoyable, enticing and you will not be able to help yourself for feeling compassion, joy, sadness and anger for the characters.
It follows the lives of six people struggling with the conflicts of superiority, fame and humanity. Junk, Inc. is a huge corporation that has taken over the world. They even own the only nightclub in the world called Junkyard. The show is set within the Junk, Inc. offices and the nightclub.
Kioko, played by Aldo Jose Puccini, is a cult hero performance artist by night. Sad and discontent with life, she decides to commit suicide in the backyard of Junkyard where she works.
Played by Natalya Oliver, Anna is given a chance to play with her band, the Metrojets, at the club. The club, owned by Anna’s boss Ernie, played by Michael Edwin Stuart, is also known as the man. He is a ruthless person who is the CEO of Junk and owns just about everything else in the world.
Hannes, played by Kam Talbert, is suffering from a quarter life crisis and Martina, played by Niketa Calame, decides that she is going to climb her way to the top without the help of anyone, especially Hannes.
The office garbage man, Max, played by Daniel Guzman, decides to profess his love to Anna. The two admit to being in love and decide to run away together after the Metrojets make it big.
Anna feeling overwhelmed by her newly made plans, retreats to the bathroom where she bares her fears and her boss hears. Her fame will not come free, she will have to sleep with the man. Anna eventually succumbs to his seduction for stardom, but not without a heavy price. Max witnesses the whole sex act in the restroom.
Hannes and Martina decide to sell their souls over to Junk, Inc. to learn the secrets of the man and gain the same power.
Anna arrives at her performance destination full of remorse and anger while Max devises a plan to kill the man for seducing his one true love.
All the club-goers are welcomed by Martina, singing the anthem of the era, “World Going Wrong.” Anna gets her few moments of fame, but is rudely interrupted by the man’s need for the spotlight. She is outraged.
Kioko reappears as a ghost, trying to warn Ernie and Anna of the upcoming danger, but to no avail, Max bursts in and shoots Ernie in the back.
Ernie lies dead while Martina realizes that she had loved him all along and not his power. Martina takes the gun from Max to kill him, but causes an electrical fire with stray bullets. Max dies in the flames. The crowd at the club is ecstatic, because they think this is the end of the Junk, Inc. reign, until Hannes becomes the new man. The vicious cycle continues. Anna’s world will never be the same. All has been lost.
From the beginning to the end, this musical is both marvelous and unique. Every cast member is phenomenal in their part displaying the appropriate emotions in all of the scenes. The dancers were extraordinary as well and each singer had a wonderful voice.
The melodic music score which is performed live by Brainpool will have you dancing in your seat. The songs are satirical, joyful and sad with titles and lyrics such as; “How to Find a Decent Sushi Bar,” “Cottage Cheese,” “Very Nice,” “No Sunny Days,” and “What Have I Done and Why Did I Do It.”
This show will leave you thinking about what is most important in life and love. It is extremely funny, ironic and emotionally touching. At the end, you will be wanting more than just 90 minutes worth.
Junk, A Rock Opera is playing at the Lyric Theatre until Sept. 30 and is located on 520 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles 90036. Show times are from Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the theatre at (323) 939-9220 or by visiting their website.
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