As we approach the end of the epic, multi-year extravaganza of HBO’s Game of Thrones, what fan of the show wouldn’t be intrigued to find a musical parody called Shame of Thrones: The Musical opening at Whitefire Theatre? I certainly was, and booked tickets for the opening performance. Back from a successful run off-Broadway, it is a big show with a cast of seventeen shoehorned into a small venue. The show is a shameless takeoff on all of the major and some minor characters, as well as key scenes from the opening season. It is rude, crude, and loud. The singing is good for the most part, although one performer hit a note so loud and high that I winced, cringing in my seat—twice, while another was difficult to hear. The dancing, well rehearsed and performed, is a hoot. There was even a brief conga line. When was the last time you saw that on a stage?
The show is as presentational as it gets with actors talking directly to the audience, touching them, schmoozing with them, and occasionally surging up the center aisle. George R. R. Martin (Benji Kaufman, a big guy like the writer) appears before the show begins quietly holding station at a desk in the downstage right corner. After a brief intro from the actor playing the dwarf, Tyrion (delightful Brad Simanski), the writer lumbers up to address the audience with sardonic humor. The representation is not kind to the writer, famous for his inability to complete the saga. Martin is mordantly self-effacing and amusing about his work, the HBO series and just about everything else.
Don’t need to detail the plot, which, although thoroughly smashed and trashed, follows the story. The major first season characters are all there and redeeming qualities are rare. Ned Stark (Milo Shearer) sings heroically. Catelyn Stark (Delilah Kujala) is shrewish. Jon Snow (Zach Kanner) is the butt of the whole family’s disregard. Arya (Ariel Barber) is a nasty piece of work and eventually goes post-punk goth. The incestuous Lannister couple, blonde Cersi (Lena DeLoache on the evening I attended) and her brother Jaime (Peter Berube), as might be expected, indulge in a lot of simulated sex, which happens quite a lot throughout, just like all the gratuitously pornographic rutting scenes in the series. Daenerys Targaryen (Mandie Hittleman) and her savage beau, Khai Drogo (Ace Marrero), have their own turn at bumping the uglies. And Stephanie LeHane is delightfully loathsome as that wretched spawn of incest, Joffrey.
Shame of Thrones is energetic and the opening night crowd loved the show, including a nicely got-up older woman eager to chat who sat in the front row. She laughed and loved every bit of it and leapt to her feet to her feet at curtain call. She told us that she always sits in the front row and always tries to be first on her feet.
Book and lyrics of Shame of Thrones: The Musical is by Steven Christopher Parker and Steven Brandon, with additional lyrics by Erin Stegeman. It is produced by Steven Christopher Parker, Erin Stegeman, Ace Marrero, and Steven Brandon, directed by Rachael Stein, and choreographed by Mandie Hittleman, with music direction by Jonny Perl. Credit also goes to Martin Blasick (music arrangements and production) and Peter Fintrup (music writer).
Shame of Thrones: The Musical runs through July 8 playing on Mondays at 8pm at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.