Past Reviews

Off Broadway Reviews

Lizard Boy

Theatre Review by Howard Miller - June 14, 2023

Photo Caption: Kiki deLohr, William A. Williams,
and Justin Huertas

Photo by Billy Bustamante
'Twas back in 1980 when the stratovolcano known as Mount St. Helens, located 100 miles south of Seattle, erupted, spewing a deadly mix of lava, smoke, mud, and ash that rose some 80,000 feet into the atmosphere, killing 52 people and thousands of animals and darkening the skies across 11 states. If you are too young to remember it, this much you can learn via a quick internet search. But what you may not know is that something else was released in the explosion: the Mount St. Helens Monster, a mighty dragon!

What? You say don't believe in dragons? Well, maybe Trevor, the eponymous "Lizard Boy" of the indie-rock musical that bears that title, will be able to convince you otherwise. Trevor (Justin Huertas, who wrote and book, music, and lyrics), and his two companions, Cary (William A. Williams) and Siren (Kiki deLohr), are currently ensconced for a run of Lizard Boy at Theatre Row, presented by Prospect Theater Company. And given that all three have been connected on-and-off with various productions of the 95-minute show ever since its initial launch in Seattle in 2015, they have perfected their every interaction, including wonderful musicianship all around.

The plot of Lizard Boy draws its inspiration from the world of superhero mythology, especially from the X-Men stories, and is a salute to nerd-heroes everywhere. When we first meet up with Trevor, he is your quintessential sensitive and lonely young man who mostly stays inside his apartment writing sensitive and lonely songs about being sensitive and lonely. There is one factor that sets him apart from others of that ilk, however. That would be his green and scaly lizard-like skin, a "gift" from his encounter with the dragon.

Trevor's only major excursion during the year is to attend Monster Fest, which he describes as a local "second Halloween," but one that commemorates that fateful day when the dragon first appeared on the scene. On this particular Monster Fest eve, he works up the courage to post his profile on Grindr, hoping for at least a temporary break when he will be able to fit in with the costumed celebrants. And who should come into his life but Cary, who is at least as sweetly dorky as Trevor. Their initial meeting is decidedly awkward, but who knows? Could this be the one?

Later that same evening, Trevor and Cary decide to go to a rock concert at The Crocodile, where they encounter Siren, the night's headliner. Trevor finds there is something very familiar about Siren, and it turns out that they do know one another from that fateful day when his life was changed forever. Against a burgeoning apocalyptic nightmare, with both the gentle Cary and the menacing Siren laying claim to him, Trevor is in for a wild ride.

Staged as if the entire story were taking place at the club (road cases and a variety of musical instruments fill the set), and performed with minimal makeup and costumes, Lizard Boy really is a showcase for the trio of performers. Among them they play quite adeptly on ukulele, piano, guitar, glockenspiel, melodica, kazoo, cello, and a variety of percussion instruments, with William A. Williams contributing some skillful beatboxing along the way. The set list of 16 of Justin Huertas's original songs composed for the show are designed to support the storytelling and to allow the threesome to charm the socks off the audience. Which, to judge by the reaction of those at the performance I attended, they do in spades. Surrender to the premise of the tale, along with its message of love and acceptance, and you are in for a delightful time.

Lizard Boy
Prospect Theater Company
Through July 1, 2023
Theater Row Theatres, Theater Three, 410 West 42nd Street, New York NY
Tickets online and current performance schedule: