A fateful trip
Gilligan’s Island: The Musical
What could be more silly, campy and illogical than that lovable 1960s TV show Gilligan’s Island? Well, little buddy, that would be Gilligan’s Island: The Musical, where seven familiar castaways sing and dance through improbable plots.
Producing this nostalgic sail through childhood memories is a new theater group, Black Rabbit Productions, which rightly guessed that nothing brings forth a warm feeling like a familiar TV theme song. The musical gives strange life to Gilligan, the skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann, while remaining true to our memories of a show that has been on the air somewhere for more than 40 years.
The cast and crew have their tongues in their cheeks and their affections in check from the moment you step into the Broadway Playhouse. There are leis and sailor hats for sale in the lobby, 1960s TV theme songs wafting about and a pre-show trivia contest. The audience at a recent matinee fully embraced the experience. Many came in groups, dressed in tropical wear, and giggled and hummed at the first sounds of “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale / a tale of a fateful trip.”
Most of the musical’s fun comes from familiar sights. The costumes are right on: Gilligan’s red-and-white jersey, Mary Ann’s red-checkered shirts, Ginger’s slinky movie-star dress, and Lovey Howell’s parasol. We all recognize the bamboo-and-palm-frond sets, Mary Ann’s coconut-cream pie, Thurston Howell’s teddy bear and poor Gilligan getting belted with the skipper’s hat every time he messes up. The cast is also spot on, with special nods to Troy Thomas as the professor, April Hass as Ginger and Bob DeLucia as Mr. Howell.