Giant Green Lizard! The Musical

Beginning with its title, Jeremy Gable's original musical spoof has "parody" written all over it. Part of the show's joke is how its creators, Gable and director Brian Newell were told by owners of the Godzilla trademark that a musical about him would demean the big green guy—so the duo proceeded with the more acceptable substitute name.

The musical, though, has Godz—er, "Giant Green Lizard," written all over it, taking it to Japanese horror flicks of the 1950s. We're at Toji-San's Karaoke and American Grill in Tokyo with various Japanese and American characters on New Year's Eve. Strange tremors preclude the appearance of Gizard, a 600-foot-tall reptile who once rampaged through Tokyo but now defends it against other giant-sized monsters that would do it harm. Gable's script cleverly makes use of the Maverick's two venues: Act I (the karaoke bar scenes) unfolds in the cabaret theatre, and Act II (the destruction of Tokyo scenes) occur in the proscenium theatre. Gable's songs are cheerfully loopy—the lighter, more sexually suggestive material of the karaoke becoming supplanted by the macabre, black comedy of the second act's numbers, which include "Downtown's Going Down" (a rant by the radiation-mutated bad guy as he crushes Newell's miniature cityscape), a hilariously grisly duet between the hero and heroine, and Gizard's ode to Tokyo, loaded with ingenious references to great artists and writers.

Save for that by Liza A. Rios as heroine Mary, none of the singing is particularly good, which just adds to the off-kilter sensibility. The acting, too, is of a comic-book nature—the kind you'd find in any sci-fi flick (or an SNL skit spoofing one)—and thus perfectly apt. Making the biggest splash are Newell's set and special effects, Heidi Newell's Gizard costume, Nathan Markaryk's inane karaoke lyrics, and Dean Anderson and Stephen Sands' arrangements of Gable's inventive score.

Presented by and at the Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut, Fullerton. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Jul. 28-Sep. 10. (714) 526-7070.