May 12, 2013 – No show in Universal history has probably received the same amount of controversy as Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical. With some labeling the show as a risky, yet bold proposition while others dismissing the entire production as an ill-fated disaster, Creature was – to say the least – polarizing among critics and audiences.
Opening its doors in July 2009, the show closed months later in March 2010 after a set piece caught fire during a production of Halloween Horror Nights’ Bill and Ted. With Creature needing extensive retooling to comply with the building’s fire code, poor audience engagement resulted in Universal’s decision to shutter the production in favor of a new direction. Special Effects Stage was introduced just a few months later.
Despite the Creature’s short run, the show continues to live on in history as one of Universal’s most “interesting” endeavors. We’ve uploaded the full performance below as well as the original press release sent to us back in 2009 to let you decide. (And for the record, I thought the performance was fine. But obviously others disagreed.)
Universal City, California, June 30, 2009 – Universal Studios Hollywood introduced “Creature from The Black Lagoon—A Raging Rockin’ Show,” featuring an all-original score and dazzling Broadway-level production values in a hip, musical stage adaptation of the Universal cult classic, opening exclusively at The Entertainment Capital of L.A.
The “Creature” made a grand entrance to the theme park in an enormous traveling aquarium. Among those on hand to witness his arrival was actress Julie Adams, who was the “Creature’s” leading lady in the 1954 classic Universal Pictures film production that inspired the new musical production.
The new musical attraction has an approximate 25 minute running time and a storyline that has been updated from the original screenplay to infuse romance and comic relief with extravagant stagecraft, acrobatic choreography and a hilarious and contemporary musical score certain to keep the production moving at a sizzling pace.
Audiences will be immersed within a menacing Amazon environment, completely enveloped by the exotic sounds of the jungle as they watch the twisted love story between beauty and beast unfold. From the production’s first moments, guests will be thrust into an unexpectedly outrageous, bizarrely romantic, melodic and often outlandishly comic adventure as this monster classic is re-imagined for the 21st Century.
“Creature from the Black Lagoon—A Raging Rockin’ Show” is being realized for the stage by Universal Creative and an award-winning theatrical production team drawing from the best of Broadway that includes, Tony Award®-nominated Director and Choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett, whose credits include Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, Bewitched, starring Nicole Kidman and Broadway’s “Swing!”; Scenic Designer James Youmans, whose credits include Broadway’s “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” starring Patti LuPone as well as Barry Manilow’s Showstoppers International Tour; Creature & Puppet Designer Michael Curry, one of the world’s leading production designers and whose credits include “The Lion King,” the 1996 and 2002 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies and Cirque du Soleil®; Fly Sequence Designer Paul Rubin, whose accomplishments include elaborate aerial stunts for “Wicked,” “Peter Pan,” and the Tony Awards®; and Producer Marc Routh, whose Broadway credits include, “Little Shop of Horrors” “Gypsy,” starring Patti LuPone, Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers.”
Universal Studios Hollywood (www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com), The Entertainment Capital of L.A., includes a movie-based theme park and Studio Tour, the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal Cinemas and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event venue. The theme park features the groundbreaking attractions “The Simpsons Ride,” “Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride,” “Shrek 4-D,” “Jurassic Park—The Ride” and the newly enhanced Studio Tour in HD, with a state-of-the-art Hi-Def monitor system and new movie and TV sets on the historic backlot. Universal CityWalk features over 60 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and dynamic entertainment options. The Universal CityWalk Cinemas, which includes California’s largest IMAX venue, features the best movie-going experience in Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of Universal Studios, a part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May of 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
Video by Chris Lord. Text by Jon Fu.