Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Richard's reviews of Seussical and Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill: Havin' Any Fun?
The musical's plot is the same as the film. Eighteen-year-old Debbie (Nancy French), a cheerleader from East Bambi Woods High School (whose football team's motto is "Ride 'em hard, Beavers"), has been accepted for a Texas Cowboys cheerleader tryout. Two problems have arisen: she has no fare to get to Texas and her parents don't approve. "They think it's outdoor burlesque," says Debbie.
Friends, including fellow cheerleaders (Ally Johnson as Roberta, Courtney Merrell as Tammy, Melinda Campero as Lisa, and Raya Light as Donna) and football hunks (Joshua Beld, Sergio Lobito, and Ryan Cowles), help Debbie achieve her life-long ambition. They form a company called Teen Services and get after-school jobs for cash. Don't ask how the girls get money. The musical goes way past double entendres and is at least R-rated, with a lot of youthful sex gags.
Debbie gets a job moving boxes around for Mr. Greenfelt (Sergio Lobito), who has other uses for her. There are things with a candle by Tammy (Courtney Merrill), which are hilarious, and the wild highlight of the musical is what Donna (Raya Light) does with a banana.
Andrew Sherman wrote the score, which consists of melodies and lyrics in the style of groovy 1970s porn pop. I was particularly impressed by the melody and lyrics sung by Debbie in "Small Town Girl" ("I'm eighteen now but thirty-five is coming fast"). Leslie Waggoner, who also did the lively and youthful choreography, provides overly camp and fast-paced direction.
Nancy French is fabulous as Debbie, the leader of the shrill-voiced cheerleaders, who are more butch than the football players. She has dynamic vocal chops. Ryan Cowles as Rick, Debbie's boyfriend, gets a chance to show off his strong vocal cords in "I Wanna Do Debbie." Raya Light as Donna and Courtney Merrill as Tammy are sidesplitting in the banana and candle scenes, and Ally Johnson and Melinda Campero are wonderful as the other cheerleaders. Joshua Beld and Sergio Lobito play all the male roles besides the football players and give damn good performances.
Bottom Line: Don't take your maiden aunt to see Debbie Does Dallasshe just might faint from the wild erotic frolics presented on the small stage. I had a ball.
Debbie Does Dallas runs through August 5, 2017, at the Oasis Club, 298 Eleventh St and Folsom, San Francisco. You have be 21 of age to enter the club. For tickets and information visit sfoasis.com.