Game of Thrones: The Musical Parody Review - Naughty and Epic

The audience was buzzing, many members dressed in their favorite character's ensembles, as they eagerly awaited the beginning of a show where the fantasy world of Westeros is brought to life.  Westeros, where the epic battle between the Starks and the Lannisters, not to mention the Targaryen, and the Baratheon, and the Greyjoy (to name a few), has brought much anguish and joy to millions of HBO subscribers for the past six years.  We're talking about Game of Thrones here, folks.  But in this case, we are treated to a musical, madcap, and raunchy summary of all that has transpired on the GoT since Season 1.  All the highlights and lowlights that have captivated the throngs have been distilled into two exhausting hours of laughter mixed with a little squeamish delight and perhaps a little tear.


The GoT world created with Nick Druzbanski and Beau Nolen

This production of Game of Thrones, The Musical Parody, is playing at the Apollo Theater in Lincoln Park, Chicago, book and music by Chris Grace, Zach Reino, Al Samuels, Nick Semar, and Dan Wessels and directed by Hannah Todd.  Musical direction is from Tyler Kivel, and the choreographer is Sawyer Smith.


The craziness takes place in the living room of avid, no, hard-core, GoT fans, as they are set to start watching the latest season of their favorite show.  When they find out that one of their friends has not watched any episodes, they set out to give him a summary of what has transpired so far.  Starting with the first big number, they give a rundown of all the characters in the show (there are countless), and they move on to portray all of the main aspects of the various plots and who died when and where (there are countless).    Note that there are a few spoilers for those who have not yet seen Season Six of GoT.


Dakota Hughes, Nick Druzbanski and Caitlyn Cerza; Back row: Madeline Lauzon, Beau Nolen, Christopher Ratliff, Victoria Olivier

The origin of GoT is a book series written by George R. R. Martin.  The first book was named Game of Thrones and that moniker has been used to name the television show that is based on those books. I have not read the series (I have the first book but its size is daunting), and I have not quite gotten through season five of the show, but I have enough of the background to have been delighted in this production.  The fact that there are those who have only seen the show as opposed to those who have both read the books and seen the show, is one of the ongoing jokes in this production.  As the characters gleefully portrayed some of the more beloved characters, I admit I haven't laughed so hard for ages.  The high points for me included the interplay between Jon Snow and everyone, especially Ygritte ("You know nothing, Jon Snow"), Cersei’s walk of shame, and Darnaerys Targaryn with her husband (so freaking naughty) and her dragons.  Then there was Joffrey and his incestuous parents, the horrible Bolton guy, Melisande, Bran and Hodor, the Red Wedding, and so much more.


The whole cast in their GoT glory


Victoria Olivier as Daernerys


I enjoyed the actors and their effective parodies.  It was obviously an exhausting show — lots of physical action paired with decent musical numbers.  Christopher Ratliff kept me laughing as Jon Snow and Bolton, and Beau Nolen, the tallest member of the cast, was hilarious as both Hodor (the huge bodyguard of Bran) and Tyrion (the little person, aka imp).  As Daenerys and more, Victoria Olivier gave us the picture of those characters, and Madeline Lauzon played Bran and others to perfection. She has such an expressive face, often I found myself watching her react to the others.  Nick Druzbanski, the fellow who hadn't previously seen GoT, also got into the fray as Samwell, Jon Snow’s BFF.  Lastly, Caitlyn Cerza played a variety of characters and danced with the other white walkers in a kind of weird but funny rap number.

Beau Nolan as Hodor

Nick Druzbanski as Samwell

The show was very amusing and the music was eclectic and well-performed.  The set provided a good backdrop to the antics of the cast.  There were some cross-over lines and drop-ins by characters from other famous movies, and a hilarious sprinkling of timely current events. Because this is a parody, the well-known overuse of sex in the television show is maybe also overused here in the show, but I did laugh at the naughty parts, so who am I to quibble?   Perhaps because of opening night jitters, I missed some of the dialogue because the cast spoke very quickly and sometimes did not wait for the laugh to die down before continuing.  I know I could see this show again and laugh just as much, perhaps picking up bits that I didn't catch the first time.

Caitlyn Cerza as Cersei

If you haven't seen Game of Thrones the television show, honestly, you might laugh at the antics and enjoy it, but it won't have much meaning.  I recommend at least binge-watching a season or two before you go.  With “winter coming,” you need all the fun you can get, right?

The cast in GoT character

All-in-all, Game of Thrones: The Musical Parody is a hilarious way to spend an evening.  Check it out from now until November 13, 2016 at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614. Check their website for more details.

Photos by Michael Brosilow.


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