Everybody wants to be a star. But is fame worth selling your soul for—literally? Lost in Hollywoodland, or the Slugwoman from Uranus tells the tale of Dex Webster, an aspiring film director who sells his soul to the devil, incarnated as a film producer, in exchange for certain fame and success. His lofty hopes are dimmed, however, by the reality that the giant bug movies he directs are campy schlock whose story lines are stolen from an insect-phobic's diary. While the theme of Hollywood devouring innocent artists is hardly original, the twist of the devil being an actual producer is a new extreme, and Hollywoodland runs with it as far as possible.
The book and lyrics are witty and full of surprising wordplay and entertaining references to popular movies and plays. The upbeat score is fluid and keeps the mood light. The show sets out to remake the traditional Faust story in a manner that is both shamelessly silly and pokes quite a bit of gentle fun at Hollywood and L.A. culture. And just when you think things can't get any zanier, there is an entire song about chicken croquettes.
The cast members possess energy and good voices and generally do credit to the show's composition. Standout performances are given by Molly Alvarez, who deftly manages Daphne's transition from frumpy home economist to sexpot star, and Tamara Zook, who brings a strong stage presence, quirky facial expressions, and perfect comic timing to her role as longtime diva Carlotta.
An effectively diverting experience, Lost in Hollywoodland makes for an entertaining night out, as well as a winning choice to see with visiting relatives.
Note: This production is part of the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival.