By Tony Sokol
In the tradition of The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and The Rocky Horror Show comes a new set of alien invaders with campy sensual intent. Wild Women of Planet Wongo, the 60s sci-fi immersive musical comedy from Not Too Fancy Productions, which blasted off in Brooklyn last year, landed at Parkside Lounge in NYC on September 28. It will remain docked until November 16, 2016.
Wild Women Of Planet Wongo was written by Ben Budick, Steve Mackes and Dave Ogrin and directed by David Rigano. Those dance moves were choreographed by Juson Williams.
Wild Women of Planet Wongo is a “a wacky B-movie inspired sci-fi comedy about two astronauts that land on a planet of beautiful warrior women who have never seen men,” according to the press statement.
Wild Women Of Planet Wongo was workshopped at the University of Michigan’s New Works Festival, was originally presented in NYC at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, was a Next Link selection at the New York Musical Theatre (NYMF) and then ran successfully at the Red Barn Theatre in Key West, Florida. The show was a smash with critics when it ran at Brooklyn Fireproof last summer.
DAVE OGRIN (Music/ Lyrics), In his pre-theatre days, Dave worked as a producer, writer, musician and engineer with such talent as The Beastie Boys, Grand Master Flash, Paul Simon, Public Enemy, and Run DMC. Since then, Dave co-wrote (with Ben and Steve) the rock n roll women-in-prison send-up, Hell Hole Honeys, selected for presentation at the Eugene O’Neill Music Theater Conference, awarded the TRU New Voices Award and premiered at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, New York. His musical The Legend Of Julie Taymor Or The Musical That Killed Everybody, co-written with Travis Ferguson, was performed at the Fringe Festival NYC. Dave’s rock opera Mata Hari, co-written with Jay Berkow, was presented at the University of Western Michigan last summer. http://www.daveogrin.com
BEN BUDICK (Lyrics) also co-wrote the lyrics to Hell Hole Honeys, chosen for development at the Eugene O’Neill Music Theater Conference. He is a veteran of over 20 years in the music business. Ben was lead singer-songwriter for a number of groups in the 70’s and 80’s. His first novel, Jake’s Minyan, is awaiting publication. Having grown up in Rockaway, he currently resides near Juno Beach, Florida.
STEVE MACKES (Book/ Lyrics) co-conceived/wrote the musical comedy revue, Boobs, the World According to Ruth Wallis, which ran 10 months Off-Broadway and had subsequent regional productions. He co-wrote a new, original book for Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant that was produced at the Chichester Festival Theatre in England and published by Samuel French. Steve collaborated with Ben Budick and Dave Ogrin on the musical Hell Hole Honeys, which was produced in at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo. As an Artist in Residence at New York’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center and as part of the New York Musical Festival’s Developmental Reading Series, Steve worked with Joseph Vernon Banks on Madam Walker and The Divine Dream.
DAVID RIGANO (Director) is no stranger to non-conventional performing spaces, having staged The Legend of King Arthur in Fort Green Park and Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears a Yarmulke? at The Knitting Factory (both by Amy Holson-Schwartz). David will be directing Nancy Holson’s Nutcracker! The Musical in a conventional theatre space this winter. With Paul Rigano and Mark-Eugene Garcia, David wrote the lyrics to The Holy Cows of Credence, South Dakota. With Mark-Eugene Garcia, David wrote the music to Facing East the musical. David can be seen with brother Paul in their hit cabaret act, “I Ought to Behave” and other Naughty Songs.
JUSON WILLIAMS (Choreographer) – A native New Yorker, Juson is thrilled to be infusing his choreographic powers on Planet Wongo. Credits include the hit Off-Broadway Musical Black Man Rising, Go Back and Get God, Saddam the Musical Spoof, Waking Kya: the women of the refugee camp, Positively Black a memoir of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the European Tour of Grease, Cats, The Wiz, Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Independent Grammy Awards, Bad Boy’s Fashion Extravaganza, as well as, many Concerts, Commercials, and Competitions. He has won numerous awards including: 2 Audelco Awards, A Midtown International Theatre Festival Award, The Kiwanis Award and A Carbonell Award. Juson will soon Choreograph FLAMBEAUX, a new piece to be presented at the Harlem School of the Arts this summer. Juson thanks God from whom all his blessings continue to flow, and his friends and family for giving him the strength, support and energy, to be apart of this amazing thing we call ART.
Wild Women of Planet Wongo performances run at Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston) every Wednesday at 8 p.m. through November 16, 2016. Tickets are $35 (which include a Wicked Wongotini) and can be purchased by visiting www.PlanetWongo.com or by calling 866.811.4111.