Okay, actually, it's not the original cast, as they're all now approaching 40, nor is the show even authorized by the creators of the original "Saved By the Bell," but who's checking? "Bayside! The Unmusical!" brings the audience back to that turbulent, grunge rock era that was the 90s. Two electric guitarists accompany a spry cast of fresh, young faces to rekindle the love between "Zack" and "Kelly," cure "Jessie Spano" of her crippling over-the-counter pill addiction, help "AC Slater" find his passion, and help "Lisa Turtle" gossip and shop, and shop and gossip, all the while keeping up wise-cracks at the expense of the king of nerds, "Samuel 'Screech' Powers." The guitarists, who together make up the only "orchestra" of the show, also happen to be the parody's writers and directors, cousins, Bob and Tobly McSmith. Their rock music numbers are part-original, part parodies in themselves of famous songs such as "You're the One That I Want" from movie-musical, "Grease".
|Slater confronts Jessie about her pill bottles|
Photo by Curtis Peel
"Bayside! The Unmusical!" is quirky, sexually tinged, and full of many throwbacks to the original to catch the audience's attention - dream sequences, Zack freezing time, even buddy bands! Follow the gang as they try to come up with a way to save The Max, which will be forced to close if they can't raise $500. Along the way, reconnect with the characters you have come to know and love, whether via first run episodes or during the frequent reruns that still play on network TV to this day.
|Will Zack and Kelly stay "friends forever"?|
Photo by Curtis Peel
Shamira Clark, who plays Lisa, surprises the audience when she turns out to not only be black, but not half bad at rapping, and you can't help but notice that in a trendy, fashionable hat, she could be a dead ringer for Lark Voorhies, who played the original Lisa Turtle in the series. Lisa is constantly pursued by Screech, played by Rachel Witz, who goes in and out of character to reference ways her predecessor, Dustin Diamond, has tried desperately to remain in the media spotlight in the real world (such as by creating and distributing a video of himself engaged in sexual self-gratification).
Of course, the Bayside High team wouldn't be complete if Mr. Belding weren't involved, especially as the kids recognize (and sing about how) they're the "only students at Bayside." Actor and real-life criminal lawyer, Zachary Peters, nails Belding's signature "hey, hey hey!" and belly laughs.
Overall, for only $15 for a general admission ticket, "Bayside! The Musical!" is a fun way to spend a little over an hour reminiscing and laughing at the jokes that just never get old. In fact, the show had opened and closed earlier in the year, but it was apparently saved by the bell, and brought back for the current limited engagement, at the end of September. While the creators hope to keep it going for as long as possible, right now there are only four remaining shows scheduled, so buy your tickets now and get ready to go back to high school. Go Bayside!