The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

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via The Huntington
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“Bat Boy” scares it up at the Red House

This weekend at the Red House Arts Center, located on South West Street in Syracuse, “Bat Boy: The Musical” continues its run of shows. The show, a comedic horror musical based on a National Enquirer-type headline, centers on a half-boy/half-bat found living in a cave. Le Moyne graduate Emily Rolston, Class of ’10, serves as the show’s stage manager.

“I got a message over the summer on Facebook, of all places, from John Czajkowski [Le Moyne Class of ’07], who is the technical director at the Red House, that they were looking for a stage manager and my name had come up from [Director of Theatre] Karel Blakeley and [Manager of the Performing Arts Center] Kristi McKay,” Rolston said. “I’m working as a freelance stage manager and I happened to be free right in this time frame.”

“Bat Boy,” directed by Stephen Svoboda, marks a notable departure from the usual Red House fare. In fact, it’s the first full-scale musical the Red House has ever done.

“The Red House has a new Artistic Director, Svoboda, and he is working on expanding the theater’s repertoire,” Rolston said, “and [‘Bat Boy’] is a show Stephen has done before.”

Svoboda’s earlier production of the show happened to feature Anton Briones, who, in this production, has taken on the task of starring in the title role and serving as the marketing director for the Red House. Needless to say, juggling the two has been a challenge.

“In all honesty, I don’t sleep much,” Briones said. “With ‘Bat Boy, I would work from 10 to 5 in the office, rehearse at night from 5 to 10, and eat dinner and work out from 11 to 12. Although it’s been pretty much 14-hour days for the three weeks, I love creating art and with the marketing I get to bring that art to people, so it’s a labor of love. Lots and lots of labor, but having it be what I’m passionate about really is the most important thing.”

For Rolston, working at the Red House on a show like “Bat Boy” has been an experience like no other.

“It’s been fun working at the Red House, but kind of crazy,” said Rolston. “The production involves a mix of theater professionals, community members, and local kids, so it’s different than the work I’ve being doing recently.”

That being said, Rolston does note a sense of familiarity in the proceedings.

“In a way, it’s more like doing a Major Arcana show again,” Rolston said. “People are working lots of different ways, as opposed to the 100 percent professional world, where everyone is very specialized. It can be frustrating but also very rewarding to work in this type of environment.”

“Personally, this show is particularly exciting for me because I have around 400 called cues,” Rolston said. “I don’t have more than a minute of down time for the entire show, so it’s very challenging.”

As Rolston points out, the Red House has been very accommodating and is seeking to reach out to new audiences.

“The Red House [which presents films, plays, and concerts] is such a great venue and they’re really trying to reach out to the college-aged crowd,” said Rolston. “We have a new café open in the building, with a bar, and it’s just on the edge of Armory Square. If you haven’t been here, you should definitely check out something before you leave Syracuse.”

When all is said and done, one shouldn’t walk into “Bat Boy” expecting an average, everyday musical.

“This is not your typical musical,” Rolston said. “I hate musicals and I really love this show. There are so many fantastic elements — the lighting design is gorgeous, the performers are absolutely on top of the show, we have actors rappelling in from our catwalk …  I could go on for ages. [The show is] perfect for the Halloween season.”

“The show is pretty much a hysterical night of campy-horror fun that shouldn’t be missed,” Briones said. “I mean, there’s fog, lights, rock music, blood, a giant cage, nudity, a cow head, an animal orgy, a gospel rip-off, a bat baby, and the title character in a thong. What’s not to like?”

“Bat Boy: The Musical” continues its run at the Red House tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday (Nov. 3, 4 and 5) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $15 for members. To purchase tickets, call 425-0405 or visit

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