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Killer Voices Bring ‘Serial Killer Barbie: The Musical’ To Life

Julia Stier |
November 12, 2014 | 4:20 p.m. PST


Marti Maley, Katy Jacoby and Kacey Coppola. (Photo by Christian Kennedy)
Marti Maley, Katy Jacoby and Kacey Coppola. (Photo by Christian Kennedy)
Dealing with issues of conformity and self-identify, "Serial Killer Barbie: The Musical," written by Colette Freedman and Nickella Moschetti, and directed by Ronnie Marmo, offers a night of social critique... with a side of murder.

The Barbie I remember had long blond hair, the prettiest dresses, and the best shoes. Pink and sparkles were staples in her wardrobe. This production, however, unveils a darker story. Apparently, our favorite “anatomically incorrect” girl—or at least her namesake—has some blood on her hands.

When Barbie’s (Kelley Dorney) daughter Parker (Grace Nakane) demands a realistic bedtime story, Barbie indulges her with a tale from the past. Not your typical once-upon-a-time story, it follows a hipster, bespectacled Barbie from first grade through her high school graduation, and the challenges she faced.

The play is structured in an unusual format. The twelve years in school correlate with the twelve rounds in a boxing match. Cut to the first day of first grade—there is a plague in Barbie’s school, and it goes by the name “the Debbies.” Similar to trio that runs the highschool in the 80's film "Heathers," this school is under the control of Debby (USC alum Kacey Cappola), Debbie (Marti Maley), and their leader, Debbi (Katy Jacoby). Right from the starting bell, the other students look upon them with an odd mixture of fear and reverence. Barbie, who has quite a bit to say about the importance of individuality, begins her slow descent as she desperately tries to win the acceptance of “the Debbies.” After betraying her best friend Bruce (Alex Robert Holmes) in order to prove to “the Debbies” that she too can be a “benevolent bully bitch,” Barbie realizes things need to change. She takes it upon herself to rid the world of these three evil girls. 

SEE ALSO: Theater Review: 'Heather: The Musical' Off Broadway

"Serial Killer Barbie" is full of original music, including the vigilante-esque “21 Ways To Kill A Debbie,” and the ever relatable “Middle School Sucks.” Dorney, Jacoby, Maley, and Coppola all wow the audience with their powerhouse vocals. Each of them has incredible range, volume, and control. Maley especially stands out with her ability to sing in her lower register and maintain that vibrancy as she switches to higher notes. The ladies pack immense power into such an intimate space, yet never overwhelm the audience. 

The small venue actually serves this show well, as it allows the audience to feel as though they could be “the Debbies’” next victim. The simple, yet transformative set (designed by Adam Gascoine), consists of only a few blocks, and have great versatility, ranging from Parker’s bedroom, to a first grade classroom, to a high school. The costumes (designed by Miriam Plum) help to set up a distinction of class. The trio of “Debbies” are all dressed to the T, while their classmates rock much frumpier clothes, Barbie included.  

If you want to hear a hipster’s criticism on school, growing up, and pretty much life in general, head on over to the NoHo Arts Center. But you’ve been warned, this Barbie is one doll you do not want to mess with.

"Serial Killer Barbie: The Musical" is playing through December 21 at the NoHo Arts Center (11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood) Tickets are $30. For more information visit Plays411.com/SerialKillerBarbie

Contact Contributor Julia Stier here

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