There are many reasons to see “Bat Boy: The Musical” at Las Cruces Community Theatre, and one of the best is the performance of Christian Nieves. He is beyond outstanding in this challenging lead role.
As the bat, as the boy – the animal and the human – Nieves captures the essence of the musical: the overwhelming need to be loved and understood. His work is powerful and subtle, intense and vulnerable. Crawling on hands and knees in almost no clothing, snarling and hissing, he transforms into an elegant young man in a three-piece suit who sings and dances with grace and fluidity and has a tongue as sharp as his ears and teeth.
And what an all-star supporting cast this show has.
Eric Drummond and Shari Drummond as Dr. and Mrs. Parker add such a rich flavor to this story with their characters’ secrets and the wounds they carry. Shari Drummond’s duet with Nieves in the first act, before Bat Boy can talk, is one of my favorite moments in this show.
Alyssa Gose (many great performances, including Blank Conversations Theatre Company’s 2022 production of “The Complete History of America abridged”), Biance Marie Castro (so memorable as Miss Honey in LCCT’s “Matilda” earlier this year), Peyton Womble (amazing most recently in NMSU’s “Godspell”), Jose Luis Solorzano (I loved the total commitment to Mrs. Taylor), Hugo De Billie V (his performance in “Spelling Bee” at NMSU in 2020 is one of my all-time favorites), John Kulpa (electric as Rev. Hightower), Eva Cullen (also outstanding in “Godspell”), Katie Mayers, Peggy Flores, Melissa Muñoz-Chavez (a great mayor), Kacie Bauer, Tanya Camargo and Gabriella Azollini.
Credit co-directors Brandon Brown and Sage Drake (also the scenic designer, special effects master and makeup and hair designer) for putting together an incredible cast and giving them the space to bring these amazing characters to life.
And their crew is no less outstanding: stage manager Crystal Milvo and assistant Isaac Cramer, choreographer Luis Castro, costume designer and prop master Lennie Brown, costume assistant Dylan Giles, lighting and sound designer Dan Robillard, technician Mikjl “Jaguar” Blue, and booth technician Jessie Montoya Ortega.
Doug Robey, cast and crew members and volunteers also get kudos for an incredible set.
We cannot forget the band (The Cavemen), who are on stage for the entire show: Christopher Martinez and Marco Jimenez on keyboards; Brian Theodorson, percussion; James Gier, guitar; and Brody Vervon, bass.
“Bat Boy,” which was written by Brian Flemming, Keythe Farley and Laurence O’Keefe, continues two more weekends at LCCT, 313 N. Main St. Remaining performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Aug. 18-19 and 25-26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 and 27.
Tickets are $15-$20 and available online at www.lcctnm.org and at the door.