“Bat Boy: The Musical:” UVM’s latest production takes flight


Photo Courtesy of Linsday Raymondjack

UVM’s theater program presented “Bat Boy: The Musical” at the Royall Tyler Theatre March 29 through April 2.

Starting Thursday, March 29, and running through Sunday, April 2, the University of Vermont’s theater program presented “Bat Boy: The Musical” at the Royall Tyler Theatre. 

As the show’s program clarifies, the plot of “Bat Boy: The Musical” does not concern itself with either Batman’s little brother or baseball. 

The musical explores the experience of a creature that is half-bat-half-boy who is found in a cave and brought into civilization in the town of Hope Falls, West Virginia, according to the show’s program. 

Bat Boy is taken in by Dr. Parker, his wife Meredith and their daughter Shelley. Bat Boy’s existence creates shock waves in their small town when Dr. Parker refuses to euthanize him. 

The rest of the musical follows Bat Boy’s acclimation into civilization and the town’s struggles with accepting him, complete with several plot twists. 

The show includes themes of bestiality, incest, religion, racism and Southern social dynamics. The plot leans heavily into its absurdity and the program included a long list of content warnings. 

First year Sarah Andrews described the show as a remarkable story of marginalized identity and acceptance told through an absurdist take on bats, murder and the Bible Belt.

“It rendered me absolutely speechless,” Andrews said. 

The UVM Program in Theater and Dance’s interpretation of this off-Broadway show was written by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O’Keefe, according to the show’s program. 

The small cast of 16 actors were incredibly talented and dedicated, Andrews said.

Additionally, according to the program, some of the actors even played two parts.

A particularly unique scene is the animal sex scene, when the entire cast, dressed in animal heads, performs suggestive choreography as Pan, played by senior Samantha Paquette, serenades them. 

Pan, a faun and ancient Greek god, is a character who makes a sudden appearance for solely the scene involving the animals. 

The score was performed by a live band, giving a special touch that added to the performance. 

An intricate set, complete with cobwebs, cages, caves and a stained glass cross, were part of the plot’s setting. 

The costumes conveyed the Southern, rural Appalachian setting of the musical. Many of the characters wore multiple outfits throughout the course of the show. 

Stars of the show included Bat Boy, who was played by first-year Dylan Scopetski; Dr. Parker, who was played by junior Marty Gnidula; and Parker’s wife, Meredith, who was played by senior Emma Stanganelli. The Parkers’ daughter, Shelley, was played by sophomore Alyssa Cahill. 

“[Bat Boy: The Musical] was the smallest cast I’ve ever been a part of; it was only 16 people,” Scopetski said. 

However, Scopetski really enjoyed the smaller feel and close-knit cast, he said. 

Portraying a half-bat-half-boy was not an easy feat, especially when the show contained a lot of music and dialogue to memorize, Scopeteski said.

“It was definitely the hardest role I’ve ever played,” he said. “A lot of the rehearsals were three or four hours.” 

Scopetski’s favorite part of the musical is the “Thing or Two” scene, when Bat Boy’s foster mother finally gets through to him and manages to teach him English. 

“I liked that scene because it posed a challenge with learning it since we had to present so many phases of Bat Boy’s life in a five-minute song,” Scopetski said. 

The song served its purpose, portraying Bat Boy’s progression from nonverbal to an eloquent speaker. 

“Bat Boy: The Musical” ended its debut at Royall Tyler Theatre with a matinee show April 2.