Boop! The Musical – Review

While many classic Betty Boop characters are missing in this musical, between the background animation, Angelica Hale, the comedic moments, and nostalgia, you’ll enjoy “Boop! The Musical.”


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop

While many classic Betty Boop characters are missing in this musical, between the background animation, Angelica Hale, the comedic moments, and nostalgia, you’ll enjoy “Boop! The Musical.”

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.

General Information

Director(s)

Jerry Mitchell

Writer(s)

Bob Martin

Language

English

Attendance Type

Offline – In Person

Event Status

On Schedule

Venue or Network (CIBC Theater)

18 West Monroe Street, Chicago IL

Performance Date

December 16, 2023

First Performance At This Venue

November 19, 2023

Opening Night Performance

November 19, 2023

Last Performance At This Venue

December 24, 2023

Venue URL

https://boopthemusical.com/

Tickets Starting At

$38.50

Genre(s)

ComedyFantasy, RomanceMusical

Duration

2 Hour 15 Minutes

Noted Performers

Betty Boop

Jasmine Amy Rogers

Grampy

Stephen DeRosa

Trisha

Angelica Hale

Dwayne

Ainsley Anthony Melham

Pudgy

Phillip Huber

Valentina

Faith Prince

Crew

Scene/ Set Design

David Rockwell

Costume Design

Gregg Barnes

Lighting Design

Philip S. Rosenberg

Sound Design

Careth Owen

Choreography

Jerry Mitchell

Content Information

  • Dialog: Nothing Notable
  • Violence: Comical Violence
  • Sexual Content: The Slightest Bit Of Innuendo
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking

Summary

Back in the 1930s, within the animated world, Betty Boop was a star whose charm was undeniable. But, while she has played many types of characters, Betty was unable to say who she was beyond the roles she played. So, when Grampy reveals he has a machine that would allow Betty to go somewhere she may be unknown, “The Real World,” she sneaks off after singing him to sleep.

Thanks to Grampy’s magical chair, she ends up at 2023 ComicCon in New York City, and being that she is a black and white toon, seeing the colors of all the characters ranging from Pikachu, Velma, and others is wild. But, what is unfortunate for her is that she can’t escape her popularity even in the real world.

Luckily, with being at ComicCon, she is assumed to be a cosplayer, which leads to a young girl and a HUGE Betty Boop fan, Trisha, quickly befriending Betty, who goes as Betsy. But, as Betty develops a crush on Dwayne, who helps to take care of Trisha, and she begins to fall in love with the real world, so comes the question of whether she’d ever go back – even considering her world is falling apart without her.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Betty Boop

Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop
Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop | Boop! The Musical. [By] Bob Martin [Directed/ Choreographed by] Jerry Mitchell. CIBC Theater, Chicago IL, 2023.

A star of the black and white era now in color, Betty may have played a president, a veteran, and so many other notable professions, but as for who she is? She doesn’t know. She is so used to being who people want or need her to be that the idea is foreign. However, she plans to figure it out soon.

Grampy

Betty’s eccentric grandpa is a man with many inventions and a limited ability to speak in simple terms.

Trisha

A native New Yorker, Trisha is young, an artist, and also an orphan raised by her aunt and Dwayne.

Dwayne

Dwayne is a musician, specifically a trumpet player, who falls in love with Betty when he thinks her name is Betsy.

Pudgy

Pudgy is Betty’s dog.

Valentina

Valentina is an astrophysicist, a retired member of NASA, and someone who fell in love with Grampy 40 years ago.

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Music By: David Foster
  2. Lyrics By: Susan Birkenhead

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Positive (See Live)

Highlights

The Pudgy Puppeteer

Stephen DeRosa as Grampy, Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop, and Phillip Huber as Pudgy
Stephen DeRosa as Grampy, Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop, and Phillip Huber as Pudgy | Boop! The Musical. [By] Bob Martin [Directed/ Choreographed by] Jerry Mitchell. CIBC Theater, Chicago IL, 2023.

It’s rare to see a puppet on stage, especially for a production that isn’t purely made for children. Yet, the puppet was a welcomed inclusion and brought a sense of Betty’s heyday when puppeteering was far more in fashion.

However, I would be remiss not to say the puppeteer made Pudgy a valuable character. The puppet itself is able to execute quite a bit of versatility, and the puppeteer brings him to life to the point that, if you didn’t see a grown person moving about, you’d question whether or not it was an animatronic being moving about on stage.

The Tap Dancing

While a lot of musicals, especially focused on people or characters in the past, have tap dancing, again, it is by having puppets, tap dancing, and a few other things that trigger your sense of nostalgia and remind you of Betty Boop’s heyday. Especially with the opening number “A Little Versatility.”

It’s Comical Enough To Make You Audibly Laugh

“Boop! The Musical” isn’t going to make you laugh to the point your abdomen would feel like you are going through bronchitis. However, even if you aren’t the quickest to giggle like me, there is no stopping yourself from laughing.

This is where Jasmine Amy Rogers shines as Betty Boop for while she doesn’t necessarily emulate the original Betty Boop’s voice, she knows comic timing and how to bring the energy and persona expected from Betty Boop to life. So whether it is something as small as a foot pop, how she handles men, or dances around her past, including being a dog at one time, as someone who grew up on Betty Boop, I found it funny, and I think even those without that background will as well.

Angelica Hale

Angelica Hale as Trisha and Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop
Angelica Hale as Trisha and Jasmine Amy Rogers as Betty Boop | Boop! The Musical. [By] Bob Martin [Directed/ Choreographed by] Jerry Mitchell. CIBC Theater, Chicago IL, 2023.

When it comes to child actors in most productions, their use often doesn’t extend beyond proving someone had sex once or to be fodder for another character’s story. In the case of “Boop! The Musical” Hale gets to play a child who gives the show energy.

Now, this isn’t to say when the ensemble dances, they don’t give energy or Rogers doesn’t have that special something. Rather, there is something infectious about Hale’s smile; her singing doesn’t have that generic Broadway style to it, and while her character Trisha is an orphan, there is a balance between the trauma and laughing about the situation while also showing how that is affecting her development.

It is perhaps one of the most balanced characters meant for a juvenile I’ve seen.

The Animation Backgrounds

Set design is more important than sometimes given credit for. Yes, most stages seem able to have set pieces move on and off stage, have smoke come from nowhere, maybe even trap doors, but what “Boop! The Musical” does, which is notable, is the animation.

Truly, this musical gets that it can’t just lean on the name and look and call it a day. It has to, and thankfully does, bring various aspects of Betty Boop into play, including the animation. Whether it is an animation showing Grampy’s inventions, a bouncing ball during one of the songs, stars when someone is hit and more, in multiple ways, “Boop! The Musical” makes sure that you don’t just get a taste of nostalgia but a sense of what was popular during Betty Boop’s heyday.

On The Fence

Characters Missing From The Cartoon You’d Probably Wish Were Included

As you can imagine, not everyone would be brought to the musical. However, considering the pre-show display has Koko the Clown, and they aren’t shown or referenced? It is a bit disappointing.

Add in no Fearless Fred, Bimbo, or other notable faces, even in Betty’s world, and it feels like a missed opportunity.

Then, when you consider we see so many Disney characters when Betty shows up at ComicCon, like someone dressed as Pikachu, Goku, and others? Even if they didn’t want to address an ex or make Betty being a dog at one time more than a gag, not just getting a nod via someone dressing up as one of the characters at ComicCon feels like an oversight.

Was Valentina Necessary?

Stephen DeRosa as Grampy and Faith Prince as Valentina
Stephen DeRosa as Grampy and Faith Prince as Valentina | Boop! The Musical. [By] Bob Martin [Directed/ Choreographed by] Jerry Mitchell. CIBC Theater, Chicago IL, 2023.

To my understanding, Valentina is a new character, based on the information from Betty Boop Fandom. So you can imagine, her being Grampy’s love interest and them taking away from the title character can be frustrating. Especially when you consider all that Betty could experience with her city guide Trisha.

If not, what we could have got as Grampy, with Pudgy, struggling to find Betty in a drastically different New York than what Grampy saw 40 years ago (when he last visited).

And mind you, our issues with Valentina have nothing to do with the actress, who clearly is having a good time. The problem is solely all the things that could have been done if she wasn’t included and established characters were given her time.

For while Valentina is accomplished as an individual, her whole story revolves around Grampy, and because Grampy is oblivious to love, it means no notable chemistry. So here she is, with 40 years of feelings that haven’t been fostered and nourished, and Grampy, who struggles to communicate anything that isn’t scientific.

Also Worth Mentioning

  • While we aren’t a huge musical theater person, we did enjoy the musical numbers. “Where I Wanna Be” is memorable, as is “A Little Versatility.”

Who Is This For?

Without a doubt, Betty Boop fans, but also those who love comedies where people travel to the future, and those who love New York-type characters in musicals.

Recommendations

Check out our Live Performance page for our latest reviews and recommendations.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Who is your favorite, classic, cartoon character?

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Boop! The Musical – Review

Summary

“Boop! The Musical” is something I hope eventually comes to the big screen, so that it can be a bit more accessible/affordable to the general public, as it truly honors the iconic character and feels like a long overdue new chapter in her story.

Overall
80%
80%
  • The Pudgy Puppeteer - 83%
    83%
  • The Tap Dancing - 81%
    81%
  • It’s Comical Enough To Make You Audibly Laugh - 81.5%
    82%
  • Angelica Hale - 83.5%
    84%
  • The Animation Backgrounds - 82%
    82%
  • Characters Missing From The Cartoon You’d Probably Wish Were Included - 74%
    74%
  • Was Valentina Necessary? - 72%
    72%
  • The musical numbers like “Where I Wanna Be” and “A Little Versatility.” - 82.5%
    83%

Highlight(s)

  • The musical numbers. “Where I Wanna Be” is memorable, as is “A Little Versatility.”
  • The Animation Backgrounds
  • Angelica Hale
  • It’s Comical Enough To Make You Audibly Laugh
  • The Tap Dancing
  • The Pudgy Puppeteer

Disputable

  • Was Valentina Necessary?
  • Characters Missing From The Cartoon You’d Probably Wish Were Included

What Would Your Rating Be?

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