July 27, 2006

... It's over?

Thank you to everyone who came out for the Diesel run. What the hell. This has been amazing and surprising and an unforgettable experience for all of us. We've had so many nice things said about us. We had dudes drive ten hours to come see us. TEN HOURS. FOR NO OTHER REASON. New Jersey, you rule.

Even if you didn't drive a billions hours to see us, thank you for all your support, by buying a ticket, a shirt, a pin, or just stopping by the site and listening to some tracks. I hope this isn't the end of this project, so please check back here for updates.

Thank you for the coolest summer job I've ever had.

July 19, 2006

Ack, again!

A huge thank you to everyone who came out for our Fringe run at the Helen. We had an incredible time, and are all still kind of shocked we managed to sell out nearly every show. The last night was a blast for us; and to anyone who was there, don't worry about Graham. His leg is just fine. So fine, in fact...


The Diesel run starts tonight and goes until Saturday. I promise we won't sell out a four-hundred seat theatre, so don't worry about getting turned away this time! Just come! Please! And bring all your family and friends! Cool? Great! See you there!

(www.dieselplayhouse for deets, yo)

July 14, 2006

A note about tickets

Buy them! Ha? We all felt pretty bad last night when a whole whack of our friends / some attractive strangers got turned away from the show 'cause we somehow sold out in about five or ten minutes. This is rad. But it means that, if you can, you should try and buy tickets in advance (half are available up to three hours before the show), or show up early? I guess? This is a very cool problem to have but I feel like a jerk when people get turned away. Word!

July 13, 2006

Patron's Pick!

And the hits just keep on coming...

Giant Killer Shark: The Musical has been selected as the Patron's Pick for the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (meaning we were the best-selling show in the venue), which means we're getting a final show this Sunday at 9:15! That's right. See it now in a small theatre, then come again and see it in a bigger one! Then talk smack about us when we forget all the little people...

This is going to a fundraiser for the Fringe, too, which is extra incentive to come out. Plus, it will be our last show in the venue, and my guess is it will be more than a little rowdy / fun. Thank you to everyone who's come out so far and made this very cool experience so weirdly possible!

The Star! Lucid Forge! Toronto Live Theatre! Eye (full version)!

Grade me!

There are loads of laughs in the fish tale cheekily entitled Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, set on a "copyright-protected" island where the characters bear canny resemblances to the cast in a certain horror classic of the 1970s called Jaws.

We get Graham Losee as a grizzled police chief, Sam Sutherland (who wrote the play) as a hippie oceanographer and Aaron Zorgel as both a crazy old captain and the blinkered town mayor, to hilarious effect.

All three show verve and energy in their performances, replete with campy synchronized hand gestures and dance steps. Losee's breakdancing is particularly impressive.

This is a spoof with a capital S that also manages to lampoon other musicals (such as Rent), beach parties and American patriotism, among other things.

The dialogue and lyrics are often inspired: "Let's get drunk and compare our scars in a slightly homo-erotic fashion," for example, is one of many Jaws send-ups. Even cheesy props like the cheap cardboard boat don't detract from the fun.

What does is a bit of sloppiness that director Amy Duncan would be advised to tighten up, such as the numerous awkward scene changes in the dark.

Still, the opening night performance received a standing O and Giant Killer Shark T-shirts are sure to be among the hot-selling commodities of the festival. - Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star

As I made my through the U of T campus, I was struck by the big empty feeling I was getting from the Big Smoke on a hot, July afternoon; it was almost as if the city were a beach and a 25-foot, man-eating great white shark were on the prowl. Of course, the distant roar of car engines told the real story; the simple fact was that it was Indy weekend and anyone not enjoying that was gathered around a TV somewhere watching the finale of the World Cup.

But back to the U of T campus, more precisely The Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse where there really was a shark on the loose. It’s in the context of the play that was being performed there of course; a musical about a monster shark out for the flesh of 4th of July beach party revelers on a fictional New England island resort town. Just another day at the Fringe Festival.

If the above plot synopsis sounds like a certain copyright protected film directed by a Signor Spielbergo, then…you’d be right. But copyright law protects the work, not the idea – so nobody mentions the ‘J word’ or any of its equally protected character names even once. Instead we get Grizzled New York City cop (Graham Losee), Hippie Scientist (Sam Sutherland) and Crazy Old Fisherman (Aaron Zorgel).

Naturally, in translating ‘J-word’ to the stage you’re going to lose some of the dramatic tension, the blood and gore and the two ton mechanical shark; but with some creative plotting, wildly inventive musical numbers and hilarious winks to the audience, Giant Killer Shark takes the material to the next level. This play is a no holds barred comedy being formed by three fearless actors who give every note the perfect punctuation. Then just when you think things can’t get any more ludicrous, they bring out the cardboard boat.

Am I giving too much praise to Losee, Sutherland and Zorgel? Well, considering that these three actors play all but two roles, while having to pantomime through many of their scenes and master all the requisite dialogue, songs and dance routines; let’s just say that I’d like to see you do better.

Each member of the trio gets a chance to shine in moments of individual achievement. Losee is man possessed of rare manic energy, whether it’s singing his heart out or performing a mesmerizing break dancing routine. Zorgel probably gets the most out of anyone in the cast by doubling up as the Mayor as well as Crazy Old Fisherman, whom we’re introduced to with some pretty sophisticated rap beats. Sutherland, for his part, just always looks happy to be there; although I must complement his tremendous singing voice.

The script written by Sutherland manages to cram all the highlights from the movie into a tight, one-hour running time; it keeps all the jokes nicely packed together and prevents the production from feeling like some kind of overwrought Saturday Night Live sketch.

Some new flourishes are added to give the material a contemporary feel. When the police chief suggests that they should close the beaches for the Fourth of July holiday, he’s accused of being un-American in song by the Mayor. Quint’s monologue about being onboard the Indianapolis is boiled down to a single line, “I helped deliver the atomic bomb.” Pause. “Awkward.”

At times we’re given a postmodern spin on the story, most famously with the climax and the final battle with the shark. In the film, Chief Brody destroys the shark by blowing up an oxygen tank in the shark’s mouth with a well timed bullet. In the play, Hippie Scientist correctly points out the scientific implausibility of this act to which Grizzled New York City cop slaps him and responds, “This isn’t science class, this is the real world!”

It very much brings to mind the story about how that scene in the film was concocted in the first place. The tale goes that Spielberg was unhappy with the initial ending to the movie and shot the revised conclusion with his own money. When someone pointed out the impossibility of blowing off a shark’s head by exploding an oxygen tank with a gun, Spielberg replied that if he’s got the audience’s attention this long, they’ll follow him through to the end.

The production wasn’t perfect; sometimes the timing of the songs was a little off. But it was hard to fight the energy of the performance, the absolute gonzo comedy that fills the stage in a way that the three chairs, side table and poster board that make up the minimal set dressing don’t. It may be pie in the sky praise, but there was something about the play that had a definite Rocky Horror kind of vibe. It’s the songs; there all simple enough lyrics-wise and I have a feeling that if the audience knew the words they’d be compelled to sing along.

Could Giant Killer Shark the Musical be the next cult classic in the making? I don’t know, but word of mouth will definitely turn this play into a must-see of the Fringe. The play’s soundtrack is available to be heard at www.giantkillershark.com. - Adam A. Donaldson, Lucid Forge

Giant Killer Shark: The Musical is based on the 1975 movie Jaws. The musical is reminiscent of another recent sold out Fringe hit, Top Gun The Musical, except this one is even more stupid, much funnier and more cheesy. The singing trio plays various different characters, they always sing in harmony. Although their vocals are sometimes inconsistent, the choreography, the lyrics and the props evoked many laughs from the audience.

If Spamalot can be on Broadway, why not Giant Killer Shark: The Musical?. - Toronto Live Theatre

In case you haven't heard, singing is the new talking and Giant Killer Shark -- which, believe it or not, is about a really big shark with a nasty killing habit -- might be the best unnecessary musical for your money. This Jaws remake isn't perfect, but it's a lot of fun: catchy pop songs, ridiculous props, a few well-placed jabs at American patriotism, a hilarious rapping fisherman and the best breakdancing cop to ever bust a move during a song about man-eating sharks. JS In case you haven't heard, singing is the new talking and Giant Killer Shark -- which, believe it or not, is about a really big shark with a nasty killing habit -- might be the best unnecessaryduring a song about man-eating sharks. - James Simons, Eye

July 12, 2006

Held over. No, really.

Okay. So... Giant Killer Shark: The Musical (our musical) is being held over for four (FOUR) additional shows at the beautiful (and way, way bigger) Diesel Playhouse as part of their "Best of the Fringe" programming. Yeah. We know. The theatre has a seating capacity of 400, and tickets will be $15. Sure, it's $5 more than our current run of shows (which you should still come see), but here is what those extra $5 will get you, and why you should come again / for the first time:

1. Graham Losee, who is "gifted in physical comedy and dance" according to a poster on Eye's Fringe page, will have a bigger stage to dance on. He dances like a king. No, really. Ask anyone who's seen the show.
2. Aaron Zorgel will have more room to do that sheet dance he does. If you haven't seen it yet... You probably should.
3. Sam Sutherland (myself) will be very handsome. Always.

Why is this all happening? WHO KNOWS. We've had wonderfully supportive audience for our first three shows (three standing ovations and two sell outs!), and we can only hope the rest of our run at the Helen Gardiner goes as well. Word on the street is we got some love on CBC Television earlier this week, and Marichka Melnyk dropped our name yesterday on CBC Radio's Here and Now. So thank you, CBC! I'm glad I'm paying you.

So, this whole Diesel thing! Eight shows in total are being held over, including us, Swiss Family Guy Robinson, and Real Time. The rest are all TBC. And now... Details!

Wednesday July 19, 7pm; Thursday July 20, 9pm; Friday July 21, 7pm; Saturday July 22, 9pm

416.971.5656 or www.dieselplayhouse.com for advance tickets.

Holy crap.

July 10, 2006

Four stars in Eye!

Giant Killer Shark: The Musical ****
Eye's Quick Review
In case you haven’t heard, singing is, like, totally the new talking and Giant Killer Shark — which, believe it or not, is about a really big shark with a nasty killing habit — justifies all the unnecessary musical spoofs with catchy songs, ridiculous props and, of course, a rapping fisherman. - James Simons

From Eye's Fringe Guide

July 09, 2006

Giant Killer Shark: The Tracking Party Photos!

We opened! No one died!

Two days ago was our opening... And it was wonderful. A huge thank you to everyone who came out and somehow sold out the theatre. And a huge apology to everyone who couldn't get in because of this fact. That sucks. I doubt anything that cool is going to happen to our next six performances, but for a first show, we could not have asked for anything more amazing and ego-boosting. We are incredibly lucky to have such supportive friends and family, as well as strangers who, for some reason, thought our play might be worth seeing. I hope it was (the Post thinks so, anyway)!

We're looking forward to the next six shows. We're looking forward to singing a bunch. We're looking forward to dancing real nice. We're looking forward to Graham not ending the play with his eyes doused in Javex, unable to dance or move properly, but still singing his little heart out. What a trooper. (That won't happen again)

Also, if you were at the first show, take a second and go post something about much we rule / suck on the Eye Fringe page. We don't have reviews up there, but people do take the time to read comments and your feedback will probably help someone spend wisely / waste stupidly their $10.

Thank you again for making our opening night one of the most insane, spectacular nights of my life. Cheers!

July 08, 2006

"The perfect Fringe experience"

"It was of my own volition that I went to see Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, and I am pleased to report that it lives up to its undeniably awesome title. It's pretty much the quintessential Fringe show: So ridiculous and slight that it wouldn't work in any other venue, but so thoroughly, joyfully entertaining that it's the perfect Fringe experience. Sam Sutherland, Graham Losee and Aaron Zorgel sound good and have a great time with some surprisingly inspired choreography. They own their goofiness proudly, and the audience loves them for how wholeheartedly they sell their silliness. Even my father, a self-described "crotchety old grump," had a blast, and if that's not a good review, than I don't know what is!" - Alison Broverman, National Post

July 07, 2006

Press! No, really! People care! ALREADY!

So, we open tonight. While I may be more than slightly dying of nervousness, there's some great, great things happening in the Giant Killer Shark camp. These great things are the following:

Chart Attack thinks we're great (and nothing like JAWS)!

Exclaim! Magazine thinks we're "genius"!

Rue Morgue Magazine thinks we're "F---in' hilarious"!

We were also featured in the Toronto Star yesterday (July 6th) as Richard Ouzounian's favourite title!

And, according to someone who watches eTalk Daily, we were talked about on last night's show (something to the effect of, "It has a rapping fisherman! How could it not be great?").

Plus, eye Magazine already doesn't like us! Some sarcastic comment in this week's edition about how "old" the whole "THE MUSICAL!" trend is. At least they're paying attention!

Can't wait to open tonight. And not die.