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Sci-fi rock opera sets celebrity lookalikes
against a flying, brain-eating jukebox
The last sword: Celebrity lookalikes face off against a brain-eating Wurlitzer jukebox in the new rock opera “Bloody Brains in a Juke Box,” starting March 6 in Coney Island. Photo by Tatiana Ilina
COURIER LIFE, MARCH 6-12, 2020 41
By Kevin Duggan Rage against the machine!
A Coney Island theater troupe
will bring a sci-fi satire rock opera
about vintage celebrity lookalikes battling
a brain-devouring Wurlitzer jukebox to the
People’s Playground. “Bloody Brains in a
Juke Box,” which opens on March 6 for
a month-long run at Coney Island USA,
is a comedy reminiscent of cult movie
musicals of the 1970s and 1980s, according
to the show’s writer.
“It’s something like ‘Rocky Horror
Picture Show’ or ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ ”
said Dick Zigun, the head of the Funhouse
Philosophers company and the unofficial
mayor of Coney Island.
The experimental theater piece uses
songs — accompanied by a live rock
and roll band — to tell the story of midcentury
Hollywood stars Sidney Poitier,
Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Coogan, and
Jayne Mansfield, in an alternate universe
filled with echoes of their lives and the
characters they played. The story spans
150 years, starting in the 1950s with all
of the characters as doctors, and ends in
2099, at the end of the world.
The characters face off against a
jukebox that comes to life, flies around,
dances, sings, and eventually consumes
their brains, in a story that is only for those
over 18, according to Zigun.
“It’s very weird, very macabre, funny
as s---, there’s a lot of bad language,
simulated brain juice, brain matter
splatter,” he said.
All of the characters die by the end of
the second act; the third act is set in 2099,
when aliens discover the machine, which
has become an international celebrity.
Zigun issued a call for film star
lookalikes back in October, and saw
more than 100 applicants before finding
his actors. Nightlife figure Satine
S’Allumer will portray Jayne Mansfield
“outrageously in drag,” according to
Zigun, while burlesque performer Reina
Terror plays Audrey Hepburn, character
actor Peter Sullivan takes on Coogan, and
up-and-coming dancer and singer Aaron
McMillan plays Poitier.
“We were looking for young talent,”
The sentient jukebox is voiced by
puppeteer Sam Wilson, who must also
maneuver the full-sized device across
a stage strewn with bloody props. The
production is the 40-year-old theater
group’s most ambitious — and most
expensive — yet, according to Zigun.
“We put about $20,000 into getting this
show created,” he said.
“Bloody Brains in a Jukebox,” at Coney
Island USA 1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th
Street in Coney Island, (718) 372–5159,
www.coneyisland.com. March 6–29, Fri–
Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 3 pm. $12–$30.