Come With Me If You Want to Live: A Terminator musical

TEXT by SCOT CASEY

PHOTOS by JARED CLAYTON

You’re not a normal girl

You’re here to save the world

Cuz the baby that you mother

is a leader like no other

Yeah you know he saves the world!

Come with me if you want… to… live!!!

There is something wonderfully absurd about transforming the iconic 80s film, The Terminator, into a musical. But that’s exactly what co-writers, Brendan LaBotz and Kimberly Ross have done in “Come With Me If You Want to Live.” The musical, which will be the penultimate production before the Idiom moves out of its old space, was deliberately conceived as 80s musical parody with an emphasis on humor.

Imagine the Idiom stage with an 18-wheeler and a pick-up truck, 80s cheesy synth music in the air while Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese and the Terminator sing and dance in pure ridiculous sublime parody and you get a hint of what wonders to expect.

“Originally,” Kimberly said, “we were thinking that we would just do a concert. Or make an album that would tell the story of a movie. I really wanted a movie from the 80s that was so terrible that we could totally tear apart and make fun of. With Terminator, we had some big reservations about because we both love it and we think it’s great.”

“We didn’t want to make too much fun of it,” Brendan added. “But then we realized that any great parody is also an ode to the original work. I just love the whole idea of these assassins from the future, changing the course of time. It lends itself well to songs. And also because it was the 80s, we could go in this electro vein. It’s so easy to make computer music.”

Brendan and Kimberly started work on the project over a year ago while exploring challenging new ways to write songs. Realizing how comfortable they were with writing songs that parodied the cheesy TV shows and 80s pop-culture, they started the working with idea of turning The Terminator into a musical.

“The music,” Brendan explained, “varies from hard-core electro pop to Bruce Springsteen sounding songs to butt-rock, metal kind of songs, to Alice Cooper inspired and a major Phil Collinsy hard-hitting love ballad. And then we have a Terminator swan song.”

One of the other attractive aspects of The Terminator was the small size of the core cast. Andrew Herndon plays The Terminator, Kevin Lee is Kyle Reese and Kimberly Ross is Sarah Connor. Brendan and Jonathan Sherman handle the live music. Ron Warner and Jill Likkel are unfortunate victims that each die several times and reappear in new costume.

The 14 songs written that Brendan and Kimberly have written are perfect gems of serio-comic brilliance. At one point, the Kyle Reese character sings to Sarah Connor:

I see you standing there,

Aqua Net in your hair;

And I know that behind those feathered bangs,

there‘s a brain that is starting to process things

Judgement Day looms ahead

Most of us will be dead

There are few precious moments like this to spare

And I really wanna see you in your underwear

This beautiful parody works on so many levels, from the well written lyrics and narrative to the excellent music and singing. And with all the concern about our own future, it is timelier than ever. Most importantly, it is very funny and light, a perfect way to celebrate the end times of one world and the hopeful beginning of a new one: whether that be the Apocalypse or continuing evolution of the Idiom Theater itself.

PERFORMANCE DATES

Performances of Come With Me If You Want to Live starts May 19 for three weekends through June 4 at the Idiom Theater. See www.idiomtheater.com. 

Published in the May 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine