Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of their Shells Tour
Director: Thomas White
Writers: Bob Bejan, Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Cast: Beau Allen, John Bantay, Gregory Butler, Mark Eris, Gregory Garrison, Roger Kachel, Clete Larkey, Alfredo Miller, Jack Scott, Sherie Rene Scott, David Shatraw, Ronn K. Smith
Synopsis: In "The Coming out of Their Shells Tour" The Ninja Turtles have decided to travel around the world to meet their fans face to face... singing songs they wrote such as "Coming Out of Our Shells", "Pizza Power", "Skippin Stones", "Walk Straight", and "Tubin'". Though while the Turtles are enjoying their time singing and dancing for the fans, Shredder decides to make an attempt to stop the Turtles from making people happy. Shredder, with the help of Baxter Stockman comes forth with his De-Harmonic Convergence Converter. Using this device they will steal all the music in the world, and it also weakens the Turtles if they stand in front of it. Once Shredder arrives on stage with the De-Marmonic Controller the Turtles have to retreat and come up with a plan to save the day. As the fans are tortured by Shredder's bad jokes and singing!!!...
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
The Coming Out of their Shells Commercial
In light of Michael Bay's recent decision to reboot the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in an upcoming film, I've taken it upon myself to review almost anything to do with the property; with the notable exception of the comic books and video games. Sounds easy, huh? Not exactly, and this Broadway play almost makes me want to cry. Not because of how touching it is, nor that it was well done to the point that I feel myself getting choked up a bit.. No, the reason this play makes me want to cry is because of how freakishly horrible it is, and how I wish I could burn this freakishly god awful garbage off my memory forever. You think I'm exaggerating? Well, lets get into the review, and you'll see why this play literally makes me want to cry right now.
As I mentioned in my review, "We Wish You A Turtle Christmas", there used to a point in our pop culture that the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" could market almost anything. Well during that little run from the late eighties to early nineties, Pizza Hut sponsored a Broadway musical based on our heroes in a half shell. Oh but it doesn't end there. This little "Coming out of our Shells Tour" also spawned a mockumentary about how allegedly the turtles decided to pursue their musical career, but that's another film that I will be reviewing soon. For now, this review is going to be focused on the actual play itself.
Before I begin, I would like to apologize to all my readers if this review comes off as amateurish at best. The reason why I say this is because I've never reviewed a Broadway musical before, so unlike my film reviews, I don't have a frame of reference to compare to what a Broadway play should and shouldn't be in terms of entertainment. However, I am going to at least try to review this play for what it is, so you'll have to bear with me.
As I was saying, the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" make their debut as rock stars, as they try to put on a helluva a show for their adoring public. Before the show starts, April O'Neal is outside interviewing little kids about how they feel about the concert. And by kids, I'm talking about real young ones like say between the ages of three to six. I'm guessing she chose kids that freakishly young because if she had interviewed any adults, then one can assume that some of the things they would say wouldn't be very nice.... Anyway, the kids seem happy to be there, as the camera doesn't bother shifting to their parents at all. Why they choose to only show the kids in the audience, while cautiously avoiding the adults, I'm guessing has more to do with making this concert seem more exciting than it actually is.
As the concert begins, the turtles start to play their music for the crowd. Between each song, they interact and talk to the audience frequently, while playing off their reactions. Although I hate to admit it, but the songs are rather catchy, and some of the stage choreography seem well done. Sure, the fight scenes are obliviously fake, and the story is rather weak, but since this whole show was obviously geared towards kids, it's hard to really pick on it. Unfortunately, catchy tunes and lyrics does not always equate to good music writing, as most of their songs come off as gimmicky and uninspired at best.
Anyway, as it turns out, the turtles aren't the only ones making their Broadway debut though, as Shredder also decides to join in on the fun with his latest diabolical plan for world domination no less. What's his master plan you ask? Why it's simple. With the help of Baxter Stockman, they've constructed a device that not only drains the turtles of their powers, BUT it also has the power to drain the world of all it's music; hence allowing him to take over the world. How this machine works or operates is never explained, but we just know that it's evil, and the turtles have to stop it. Although I tend to wonder how in the heck would taking all the world's music automatically anoints him as ruler of the Earth. After all, it's not like taking away all our music would do anything to eliminate the vast armies and weapons that most countries have, and I doubt any military unit would just give up automatically because we don't have anymore music. But as I mentioned in my review of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III", we have to let a few things slide for plot convenience. Logic and reason be damned.
Needless to say, Shredder's little plan works at first, as he not only drives away the turtles, but he recaptures April again. With no hope in sight, what are the poor turtles to do? Pull out their patented ninjitsu weapons to kick a**, and take names on the foot clan? No, no, no, don't be silly. As Master Splinter says in this play, "You can do more damage with the power of music than you can with any weapon." Um...okay... Well, that's basically how the turtles fight back against Shredder's machine...even though they clearly established that the machine drains away any kind of music...but then again, it's a play designed for kids, so what do you expect? Besides, the turtles have help this time, and it's none other than the kids in the audience. Yep, as part of the turtles interacting with the crowd, they ask the kids, in the audience, to sing along with them in their final battle against Shredder's evil machine, as only the power of song can defeat it, and the turtles need their kid audience to help them.
Anyway, I won't divulge what happens after that, as my readers will just have to see the tour on youtube, or the VHS copy, to find out. However, I will say that this is probably one of the worst ideas that I've ever seen come into fruition. Granted, as I said earlier, I'm not an expert when it comes to judging Broadway plays, but I will say that this play looks freakishly horrible. Not only are the stage pieces mediocre at best, but the costumes of the turtles are often inconsistent and atrocious to even look at. For starters, there's various parts where they show the actors backstage, dressed in the turtle costumes, where it looks like a cheap imitation version of what the live action movies used to have. However, once they go out on stage, you can immediately tell the actors are wearing different turtle costumes, as the ones they wear have larger heads than the ones we saw backstage. Plus, the stage turtle costumes don't seem to have any shells on them, as it just shows the turtles wearing denim sleeveless jackets instead. Whereas the backstage costumes, they clearly do have shells, and they're not even wearing any clothes that resemble what they wear on stage. Granted, most kids probably didn't notice this, and I doubt most parents really cared, but it's particularly annoying at times.
In one scene for instance, it shows the turtles on a huge monitor telling the Shredder off, before they launch their plan against him (using the audience's help of course. wink wink), while wearing their offstage costumes. However, a minute after saying that, the turtles rush on stage wearing their stage costumes that in no way look like what they had on in the backstage video. Granted, I know I'm probably being nit picky here, but it's worth pointing out if we're going to review this play in it's entirety.
Another thing that bothered me is how atrocious the lip syncing was on the turtles, as it's almost kind of embarrassing. If the lip syncing had been this freaking bad for any other real band out there, then they would've been laughed off the stage immediately, but not the turtles. No, the turtles are so freakishly good that they're music automatically starts playing before they even bother pretend playing their instruments. Damn they're good. And, don't even get me started on how bad the lip syncing is for the offstage turtle costumes, as their mouths don't even close at all; which only makes them come off as brain dead idiots half the time whenever you see them talk.
Heck, even Splinter sings in this one too, as he has the courtesy of having some young Asian guy sing for him that sounds almost nothing like the guy that does his voice whenever he's not singing. But then again, it's only a kid's show right?
As I mentioned earlier about the songs, they're definitely catchy, so I can understand why kids loved this show back in the day. However, there's one particular song that I don't agree with though. After the Shredder makes his first appearance, the kids in the audience yell out trying to warn the turtles about Shredder's master plan. However, for plot convenience of the play, the turtles are dismissive of their concerns. From here, they start telling the kids that Shredder is no different from any other bully out there, and that the best way to handle "a bully" is to face them dead on...and then they sing a song about it. Oh great....how wonderful... Anyway, the song goes on to explain their origins briefly. Sure, at first, the song seems relatively harmless until it gets to the following lyrics:
No Need to Mutate"
Granted, I could be misinterpreting the lyrics, but are the turtles really promoting an anti-homosexuality message in this song? First of all, I want to point out that I honestly don't care what a person's sexual preference is. If you want to be gay, then be gay. If you want to be straight, then be straight. If you like both sexes, then good for you. The only thing I ask is that you let me live my life, and I'll gladly let you live yours. I don't think that's too much to ask for to be honest. However, I do find it kind of disturbing that a Broadway play designed to appeal to kids would promote an anti-homosexual song like "Walk Straight" (Yes, that's the actual title of this song). But then again, I could be reading too much into it.
In the end, I'd avoid this one altogether, as this play is just a god awful piece of crap that never should have been conjured up in the first place. Not only are the songs too overly gimmicky, but the story is weak, and the costume and set designs are atrocious. Truly not worthy of seeing at a rating of one out four. I only give it one because I know kids back then loved it so much because...it had the turtles in it, so I have to factor in target audience; hence the one out of four rating...
The Turtles Sing the controversial song, "Walk Straight."
April O'Neal's musical number
Stevennix2001 (author) on December 31, 2011:
@fatfreddycat and rob
Trust me, you guys aren't missing much by missing out on this concert tour, as this was sooo bad. lol. Anyway, thanks for dropping by guys. :)
Keith Abt from The Garden State on December 22, 2011:
I remember seeing that TV commercial for this concert tour when they "played" at Radio City Music Hall!
Rob from Oviedo, FL on December 21, 2011:
I'd never heard of this before. This sounds hilariously bad. Where are Statler and Waldorf when you need them?