Jukebox musical ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ hits the stage

From April 1 to April 3 and April 7 to April 10, the Phillip Lynch Theatre presents the jukebox musical “Return to the Forbidden Planet.” This musical is based on a movie from the late ‘50s with the same name, which is a science fiction take of the Shakespearean play “The Tempest.”

“This play isn’t really a sequel to that movie, but it sort of takes a bunch of ideas from it,” said Director Kevin Trudeau. “It uses Shakespearean language and actual lines from Shakespeare, but also has all these late ‘50s and early ‘60s songs in it, as well as a fair amount of puns.”

The musical is about the planet D’Illyria which is inhibited by a sinister scientist Dr. Prospero played by recent Lewis alumni Bradford Bingham, his delightful daughter Miranda played by senior theater and criminal justice double major Katie Horn, Ariel, a faithful robot on roller skates played by junior music major with theater minor Lukas Roy, and an uncontrollable monster, which is a product of Prospero’s ID whose tentacles penetrate the space craft.

“There’s a spaceship that crash lands on the planet D’Illyria and the scientist Dr. Prospero and his daughter had been marooned by his wife, and he’s built a robot to help them,” said Trudeau. “They’re trying to escape from the planet while a monster attacks the spaceship, and there’s a lot of musical numbers that go with that.”

The next showings are on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and  7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The purpose of putting on a musical here at Lewis is to entertain the audience, as well as for students to gain experience and skills in learning about musicals.

“Part of the purpose is for students because musicals are a big part of what people do in theater,” said Trudeau. “The large percentage of shows are musicals, so getting skills and learning how to do musicals is an important part of the curriculum.”

Everyone in the community is encouraged to watch this musical because it’s fun and silly and everyone is dancing and singing their hearts out, which can make attendees have a good time.

“It’s not particularly intellectually demanding even though there’s Shakespeare in it,” said Trudeau. “It’s more of a good time and no one should be put off by the idea that Shakespeare is in it.”

Tickets are currently available to purchase in the box office, online, as well as by phone. Tickets are three dollars for students and students can even earn Arts and Ideas credit for attending a showing.

Students can benefit from this musical because everyone benefits from an artistic outlet and collaborating with others while singing, dancing and acting is rewarding.


“One of the benefits of the musical is that you get to so many different areas of what an actor does, and you’re not just acting, you’re also singing and dancing,” said Trudeau. “This is the first time I’ve directed a musical, so it’s been really rewarding for me, as well as to sort of bring all those different elements together.”

This show was supposed to happen two years ago, but it got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The production of the show was conceived by Keith White and he was also supposed to direct it, but according to Trudeau,  he got very ill so Trudeau took over the show.

“Everyone in the show is a mixture of people who were originally cast, some of which have not graduated, and our alumni came back for the show because they felt like they had unfinished business and wanted to finish up production,” said Trudeau. “Some of our current students who didn’t work in the original show, now got the chance to be cast in the current show because other people couldn’t come back for one reason or another.”

Photo Credit: Somkene Ugwu

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