I can happily state that 50% of Perez Hilton Saves the Universe (or at least the greater Los Angeles area): The Musical is quite funny. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for the other half of the show because it was inaudible. Too often, the instruments drown out the singers, detracting from the jokes and, at some points, the plot. From what I heard, the musical was an amusing blend of sass, melodrama, and ridiculousness. Don’t expect depth or realistic scenarios here. The show is like Hilton’s trademark pink hair: it’s tacky fluff, but it’s fun. This is quite appropriate considering the focus on celebrity culture. For those who aren’t familiar with the real Hilton: he’s a blogger who covers the juiciest tidbits of Hollywood.
As Hilton, Randy Blair is a delightfully catty diva, wringing humor out of every biting quip. While drawing hearts on picures of Zac Efron’s abs and bashing Amy Winehouse is a full-time job, the show adds a new target for Hilton to tackle: terrorism. Since the world avidly reads “what Perez sez,” two terrorists have decided to hijack his site in order to lure a large crowd to one place and bomb them. A bit far out? Did I mention it’s the day of Britney Spears’s funeral, the terrorists intend to use an explosive made of plutonium and kitty litter, and Hilton has fallen for one of them?
Fortunately, the actors have a knack for treating ridiculous plotlines with sincerity. One of the best moments is when Hilton receives anti-terrorism training and realizes he must defeat his new crush. In the song that follows, he repeatedly cries out “you want me to shoot my lover all over his face.”
You might be asking: what’s a play about celebrities without any? Well, the musical includes “visits” from Winehouse, Efron, and Paris Hilton. However, in cramming as many celeb cameos as possible, some of these scenes verge on being pointless and could’ve been cut (the show is 2 hours, after all). When the cast nails it, though, it’s fabulous. Laura Jordan’s Kathy Griffin and Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s Tom Cruise are alone worth the price of admission.
In the finale, the cast sings “whenever you’re down…rag on someone else, you’ll feel really great.” This seems quite true for the performers, who appear to be having a ball.
Perez Hilton Saves the Universe is part of the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival.