Inspired by a Real Life Hero
Boy do I have a love of comic books and superheroes I have looked up to over the years. I’ve got a box full of my favorite comic books at home like Batman, Spiderman and Superman. So when a couple of nights ago, the usher at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre handed me a comic book and said, “Don’t open this until after the show.” Excited, I thought to myself, “A play about comics? Now this is something I gotta see.”
So here I am at this brand new musical that my wife and I went to see called Hero. It takes place at a comic book shop. Cast members include Erich Bergen who portrayed Bob Gaudio in the national tour of “Jersey Boys”. Erich plays the title character of Hero wonderfully. In addition to Erich Bergen, Heidi Kettenring, who was a cast member in popular musicals Wicked and the lead in My Fair Lady, nails the role as his former girlfriend.
The play score has a lot of alternative rock sounds. The electric guitars and drums are boldly played more than one might be used to hearing at the Marriott. The key to the story telling is in the songs. So it works. What’s fascinating is that this material is totally original and not adaptations of other songs already out there.
Songwriter, Michael Mahler, has this unique knack for melodies. Perhaps, they are comparable to the clever songs from “Little Shop of Horrors” or even the recent “Muppets” movie. Basically you hear one of his tunes and it sneaks its way into your brain and you just can’t ignore it. I think there’s great potential for this brand new musical.
For me, there was a relatable factor. I found similarities to my own life. I think others will experience that as well. Family and friends are at the center of our lives and the lives of these characters.
This show is all about the actors and it’s imagined through a comic book lens. No tricks or people flying through the air. There are no extravagant stunts and special effects like audiences will witness in the upcoming films, “Spiderman” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Nor was there a cheesy dancing collection of superheroes.
So many similarities exist between a super hero and your average Joe and they can both have trouble defining themselves. Superhero comic books and the fanatics who love them inspire Hero. The musical will inspire you too as a member of the audience.
Realizing what his superpower is, the ability to draw, Hero must find a way to share his talent with the world. I think that’s important for us all. We all have gifts and need to use them. In this musical we seem to be getting to know more about a character like Peter Parker, instead of Spider Man.
We’re dealing with real problems here. It’s about finding your way to bring your fantasies into your real life. It’s the opposite of Superman. It’s more about real life and the quirky characters that make it fun.
Astonishing amounts of compassion was put into this play. The performance has no fear when dealing with feelings. I was emotionally charged from watching this, as was the audience. I learned from this production that we shouldn’t let fear stop us from living. I loved that it’s a little different, contemporary, and does deal with real issues. It’s easy to fall in love with.
In the midst of all these summer blockbusters driven from comic books, Hero arrives at a perfect time to find its way into your heart and inspire us all to become that special person we were born to be.
Originally published in the July, 2012 issue of Desplaines Valley News
Copyright 2012 Christopher Noe. All rights reserved.