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The Derby Hat

Music

David Newman

Lyrics

Crystal Stainton

Book

Gordon Bressack

Productions

2002 Auditorium Theatre
2003 Auditorium Theatre
2003 HP Pavilion
2004 Radio City Music Hall
2004 Radio City Music Hall

The Derby Hat (also known as Derby Hat - The Chuck E. Cheese's Musical) is a musical with a book by Gordon Bressack with music by David Newman and lyrics by Crystal Stainton, based on the Chuck E. Cheese's concept.


Production history

Crystal Stainton was taken by Robert Stainton to see Alex Apple about licensing the Chuck E. Cheese's properties for a musical about the history of Chuck E. Cheese's in a fictional way. Alex stated in a interview before his death to a fansite "Crystal presented me with home videos of her working at her local Chuck E. Cheese's and videos of her trips to the place, along with things called "showtapes" that she borrowed from her fellow friends and the store". The three studied them and brought in ex-Darkwing Duck writer Gordon Bressack and composer David Newman in to write the book and compose the music.

Crystal herself designed the characters, Jake Sanford designed the sets and scenery, Philmagic Productions built the sets and scenery, the All Effects Company made the animatronic Chuck E. and Mr. Munch heads, CEC Entertainment's suit department made the clothing, Ed French and Céline Godeau did the prosthetic makeup, Jonathan Gording and Captive Audience Productions did other makeup work including contact lense making, and Robert Stainton was a co-director.

Upon licensing CEC properties (and receiving approval from Aaron Fetcher to use the Rock-afire Explosion for some portions) and hiring numbers of actors and actresses, the musical was ready to go.

The actors and actresses were transformed into the characters they played via animatronics and prosthetic makeup. Notably, Skip Michaels transformed into the female Helen Henny by shaving and waxing his head and body hair, gained a BMI of 20, made himself look more feminine, wore a pair of crossdressing breasts, took anti-erection pills, took up impersonating the performances of Karlisa McKinney and Annagrey Labasse as Helen with assistance from his cousin, and wore female undergarments. Maggie McOmie transformed into Helen via an animatronic head (but the later productions used prosthetic makeup), and was assisted by ex-voice actress Nancy Lenihan in impersonating the voice.


CCPA productions

The Bressack/Newman/Stainton version opened at the Chicago College of Performing Arts via the Auditorium Theatre on June 2, 2002. Almost immediately controversy ensued when Seth Arpino, a father from Rockford, took his children to see the show. Horrified by the dark subject matter, he complained to the people behind the show. Crystal, in anger, stated "This is for me and the older fans of this FEC concept, so get your refunds, and get the hell out!" She then spoke calmly about the content when WGN ran a piece concluding that the play was not suitable for children.

After some retooling, the show re-opened at CCPA on January 19, 2003 under the title "Derby Hat - The Chuck E. Cheese's Musical" without controversy.

HP Pavilion production

Apple Entertainment, Inc. premiered a production at the HP Pavilion in 2004. A DVD was produced with a bonus VHS tape containing a documentary about the production with interviews with the cast and crew and footage of the performance.

Radio City Musical Hall/Broadway production

The Broadway production opened on March 6, 2004 at Radio City Music Hall. It was sponsored by the Utica Chuck E. Cheese's and an Utica historical society. After opening that day to mixed reviews, it closed after 56 performances.


Musical numbers

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Act I
  • "Overture" – Orchestra
  • "Every Boy Every Girl" - Company
  • "The New Jersey Guy" - Chuck E. Cheese Sr.
  • "A Squawky Girl" - Helen Henny Sr.
  • "Old Hound" - Jasper T. Jowls Sr.
  • "The Sassy Male" - Crusty the Cat
  • "Mamma Mia!" - Pasqually
  • "Our First Show" - Chuck E. Cheese Sr., Helen Henny Sr., Jasper T. Jowls Sr. , and Crusty the Cat with the Warblettes
  • "You're Fired" - Company
  • "Purple Pizza Eater" - Company
  • "Moving Up to Cabaret" - Helen Henny Sr.
  • "The Guests" - Foxy Flanagan, Harmony Howlette, and other guest stars
  • "California Here I Come" - Dolli Dimples

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Act II
  • "Every Boy Every Girl (reprise)" - Company
  • "The New One" - Helen Henny Jr.
  • "The Good-Time Rockout" - Chuck E. Cheese Sr., Helen Henny Sr., Jasper T. Jowls Sr., and Munch the Monster
  • "Meeting Up" - Pizza Time Players and Rock-afire Explosion
  • "Fluffin' Up For My Show" - Helen Henny Jr.
  • "Unified" - Pizza Time Players and Rock-afire Explosion
  • "You're Gonna Be Problematic" - Helen Henny Jr. and Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "We've Got It" - Munch's Make-Believe Band
  • "Fluffin' Up For My Show (reprise)" - Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "Joining the Band" - Jasper T. Jowls Jr.
  • "Fluffy Girls" - Helen Henny Sr., Helen Henny Jr., and Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "Welcome to Texas" - Company

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Act III
  • "Every Boy Every Girl (reprise)" - Company
  • "Cheerleader Time" - Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "The One Girl Playing The Boys' Games" - Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "Y'All Ready for CEC" - Company
  • "Chuck E. Says" - Company
  • "I Like It Like That" - Pasqually
  • "Pizza Droid" - Company
  • "The Successor" - Chuck E. Cheese Jr.
  • "I Love You Helen" - Chuck E. Cheese Sr. and Chuck E. Cheese Jr. with Helen Henny Jr. and Helen Henny the 3rd.
  • "Every Boy Every Girl (Finale)" - Company

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Cast

  • Chuck E. Cheese Sr. - Mark Baker (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Helen Henny Sr. - Didi Conn (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Crusty the Cat - Frank Welker (CCPA/San Jose), Abdul Stainton (Broadway)
  • Pasqually - Robert Stainton (CCPA/San Jose), Frank Oz (Broadway)
  • Mr. Munch - Fred Fuchs (CCPA/San Jose), Robert Stainton (Broadway)
  • Chuck E. Cheese Jr. - Scott Johnson (CCPA/San Jose), James Rolfe (Broadway)
  • Helen Henny Jr. - Maggie McOmie (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Jasper T. Jowls Sr. - Don Pedro Colley (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Harmony Howlette - Margery Gray (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Jasper T. Jowls Jr. - Brett Ambler (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)
  • Helen Henny the 3rd. - Skip Michaels and Crystal Stainton (CCPA/San Jose and Broadway)

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