Joey Bybee and John Flynn in “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” (Abel Armas Photography)
Home Alone is one of the most-beloved of all Christmas films, yet it also happens to be not very good. This makes it perfect for the Rockwell Table & Stage, which debuts its unauthorized musical parody of the Chris Columbus slapstick family film at the Los Feliz dinner theater in time for the holidays. “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” fits well with the cabaret’s productions, which have included parodies of Clueless and Cruel Intentions and will include The Devil Wears Prada in January after “Home Alone” closes.
It is easy to pinpoint where the unauthorized parody will target Home Alone, since so many of the film’s flaws and dated points are apparent. The original was written and produced by John Hughes, so “we’re rich and white” is a frequent refrain; the privilege of the wealthy McCallister family was obvious even in 1990 upon the film’s release; today, it is so apparent that it makes the film’s flaws even more glaring. Wouldn’t a family that wealthy have better security than just timed lights?
Much like “Peter Pan,” “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” casts an adult woman in the role of the pre-teen lead, with two actresses alternating the role throughout the production. Caitlyn Gallogly performed the role of Kevin McCallister on the night of the review, and she was entertaining as the child version of Macaulay Culkin.
The real star of the show, however, is Marla Mindelle as Kevin’s mother, the role played in the film by Catherine O’Hara. Mindelle not only gets the best songs, it is her character that provides the greatest comedic fodder, from jokes about her mom jeans and cordless phone to the inherent implausibility of her long trek home, which would have been shorter had she just waited for a morning flight home from Paris.
Joey Bybee and John Flynn also have strong moments in the roles played in the film by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Having two bearded hipster types play the hapless robbers may not be completely in line with the characters they parody, but what the duo lack in verisimilitude, they make up for with comic daring. Neither performance is an imitation of Pesci and Stern, but they are consistently funny. Even 25 years later, it still feels like a bit of fortuitous casting to have Pesci as the buffoonish villain only several weeks after he played the volatile gangster in GoodFellas. Bybee may not replicate Pesci, but he finds his own rhythm for the character.
The song performances in the musical parody may not be stunningly original, but the cast performs them with gusto, with songs as varied as the Frozen standard “Let it Go” to an impressive take on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” When a character begins making phone calls, it is inevitable that Adele’s “Hello” will earn a place among the performances, but there are some times in which a choice is obvious precisely because it is so perfect. There is no place in the world safe from Adele in December 2015. “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” should be no different.
The Rockwell Stage & Table production balances the affection that people have for Home Alone with the satiric eye necessary for such a show. Those movies and television shows for which people show the most nostalgia tend not to be very good, after all, or else they would not remain in the past (People feel nostalgia for “Full House,” after all, but not “Seinfeld,” because almost no one grew out of taste for the latter.). Keeping with that idea, “The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” realizes why people loved the original as children, but also why much of that affection is necessarily a thing of the past.
“The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Home Alone” runs through Jan. 3 at Rockwell Table & Stage (1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles). For tickets and more information, visit rockwell-la.inticketing.com.