The cast of For The Record's "Dear John Hughes." (Courtesy of For The Record)
For the Record has been putting on hit shows since 2009, taking acclaimed directors work and performing amazing theatrical-musical mashups. The latest one is “Dear John Hughes” which pulls from his most acclaimed coming of age films in the 80’s: Sixteen Candles (a personal favorite), Pretty in Pink, Weird Science, Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and of course The Breakfast Club which is also celebrating its 30th birthday!
Immediately when you walk into DBA you are transformed back to the 80’s and greeted by servers dressed in stone washed denim, leggings, blazers, and high side ponytails. You have the option to order Jiffy Pop stove popcorn or a brown bag school lunch with candy popular in the 80’s like Nerds, Ring Pops, Lemon Heads, and Blow Pops. Instant nostalgia for a time long gone.
When the show begins, the 6-piece band even gets into action wearing spandex while blaring out popular tunes. The musical has an all-star cast of twenty two that includes Broadway, recording, silver screen, and up-and-coming talent. Each night the cast may rotate giving other members a chance to rest. On the evening (Sunday, Feb. 15) I attended, Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen, “True Blood”), Payson Lewis (“Revenge”), Ruby Lewis (“Medium”), Patrick Mulvey (“CSI: NY”), Zach Villa (Bordertown), Alex Wyse (“Wicked”) and Olivia Harris (The Playroom) tore the stage up.
Co-creators of the show Anderson Davis, Christopher Lloyd Bratten, and Shane Scheel manage to embody the essence of John Hughes and all the teen angst that made his films such favorites. Emmy Award nominee Spencer Liff (“So You Think You Can Dance”) choreographs some very very 80’s moves that encourage the audience to participate. The cast moves around the entire venue and will sometimes include the audience members as props!
Music that made scenes in the films that much more memorable were performed bringing huge smiles and cheers from the audience. Classics like “Don’t You Forget About Me,” “Pretty in Pink,” “If You Leave,” “Twist and Shout,” “We Are Not Alone,” and of course Duckies famous “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding are all performed with vigor. As an audience member, you can’t help but sing along and pump your fist shouting “we are the breakfast club.”
The opening night brought out Kenny Ortega (choreographed Ferris Bueller’s famous dance and Pretty in Pink), and Lea Thompson who starred in “Some Kind of Wonderful.” I actually got goosebumps when they were performing scenes from her film and seeing the huge smile across her face. That was a real treat to witness.
This is a must see show that runs every Friday – Sunday through April 4th at DBA in West Hollywood. Tickets range from $39-$59 and any seat in the house is guaranteed to be a good one. Seeing as how 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club, this is a fantastic way to pay homage. Run and see For The Record’s “Dear John Hughes.”