Aliens Land at NYU in New Musical Comedy
April 17, 2017
This past week, extraterrestrials landed at NYU in “Aliens Coming,” a musical comedy exploring stereotypes and themes of today’s youth through song and dance. “Aliens” was created and performed by NYU alumni and students, including creator and Tisch senior Joe Kelly and executive producer and Stern senior James Young. These American Apparel-wearing, Tumblr-fluent extraterrestrials came, saw and came in this overtly sexual theatrical work.
The story begins at an avant-garde art party hosted by the evening’s ingenue Clementine Tweedy. Played by Tisch alum Alice Kors, the protagonist desperately seeks approval from the cool art kids who aesthetically smoke American Spirits, wear the latest Urban Outfitters staples and discuss vaginally-shaped feminist fruit art.
Their unbearable coolness is interrupted when the evening’s most comedic character, soon-to-be antagonist Brandi (Tisch alum Maia Scalia), enters the room in an unfortunate romper/jean ensemble, discussing uncouth topics like her favorite film “Schindler’s List” and her affinity for YouTube makeup tutorials. To further dampen the vibe, Clementine reveals she won’t be attending state school with Brandi. Instead, she plans to enroll as a film student at Emerson University, which sets up the musical’s main conflict.
Outraged by Clementine’s betrayal of darties — day parties — and sorority sisterhood, Brandi leaves the party in a drunken rage, and runs into extraterrestrial Zooby. This alien wants to use Brandi’s “Kylie Jenner career” aspirations to destroy Clementine and eventually the human race. Meanwhile, Smib, another extraterrestrial who Zooby thinks is missing, happens upon the cool-art-kid party and his first earthly crush, Clementine.
While Clementine and Smib test their sea legs — in art and on Earth respectively — Brandi takes control of the Earth’s millennials through viral YouTube videos, a play on technology’s heavy influence. Without giving too much away, Smib and Clementine use sex to save the day, foiling Brandi and Zooby’s plan of totalitarianism.
“Aliens Coming” is an unconventional examination of today’s youth that comically explores themes of identity, sex and technology through memorable punch lines like “I’m not a father. Why’d she call me daddy?” and raunchy musical numbers about losing one’s virginity and the Dirty Sanchez.
Leads Kors and Scalia, who were no aliens to the stage, fed off of the audience’s uncontrollable laughter with every punch line and nuance. The extraterrestrials, Tisch senior Andrew Ricci and NYU master’s alum Martavius Parrish, were adorned in bedazzled white jumpsuits and LED sneakers. Their standout performances and brilliantly written dialogue evoked a large percentage of the evening’s laughter.
Aside from individual performances, the production as a whole was a critical and commercial success — every performance was sold out. This is largely due to the ingenious creative team behind “Aliens,” in particular director and Tisch alum Rachel Deutsch.
“‘Aliens’ has been a crazy exploration of important life themes we seem to be thinking about all the time,” Deutsch said. “The surprise of suddenly finding distance between you and your best friend, becoming a ‘cool art kid,’ discovering what sex is and how genitals work and of course, taking over the world one makeup tutorial at a time.”
“Aliens Coming” ran at the People’s Improv Theater from April 11 to April 16.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 17 print edition.
Email Ryan Mikel at [email protected]