From a Manhattan news source:
“Bayside! The UnMusical!,” a fluorescent-T-shirt filled parody running at the Kraine Theatre on East Fourth Street from May 9 – 19, takes the sitcom’s fans right back to a time when the hottest friends on TV were the gang that attended Bayside High.
“We are paying homage to them [the characters] by making fun of them,” said Tobly McSmith, 31, of Williamsburg, who co-wrote the play with his cousin, Bob McSmith, 32, of Bushwick. Tobly McSmith spoke at a preview of the play on Monday.
The play is a spinoff of the hugely popular TV show, which followed teens through the trials and tribulations of high school. It ran from 1989 to 1993 and spawned the careers of “Showgirls” star Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie), TV host Mario López (AC Slater), crime drama star Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris), Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), and Dustin Diamond (Screech).
The play begins when the “SBTB” gang find out their one and only hangout burger joint called “the Max” is closing. The crew rallies together to save it, and hilarity ensues — a plot familiar to fans of the show. However, the McSmiths used their imagination to put a spin on what was really going on at Bayside High.
“We definitely think that Slater was gay,” said Tobly McSmith, whose play is sprinkled with musical numbers in which hard-bodied jock Slater questions his sexuality. “It is downtown theater. It’s edgy. It’s fun.”
Among the other challenges facing the characters are pregnancy, addiction to prescription pills and abortion. The play also takes a flippant approach to issues with sexuality, race and religion. “We want the audience to laugh a lot and even learn something,” said Bob McSmith. “The aim of comedy is to be offensive.”
So! This sounds like it’s going to suck. Making Slater gay? Well. I mean, we always kind of had that thought, too, since he was so over-sexualized and sexist and women-hating. And he did go for the most “masculine” (and the hottest) girl of the Bayside gang, too, what with her brains and her brawn and her feminist ways. I’m not so sure, though, how I feel about the cast of the play rewriting the show’s basis so much that it’d include pregnancy, addiction, and abortion. Just sort of seems like it’s normalizing something that kids in high school—because that’s what this show was about—should be normalizing.
I love theater and “theater” as much as the next, but I think I’ll take a pass on this one, guys.