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Singing lambs and a dancing serial killer arrive just in time for Halloween

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Don’t be fooled: this cannibal is also an avid dancer. Hunter Boyle stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Trustus Theatre’s production of “Silence! The Musical.”
Don’t be fooled: this cannibal is also an avid dancer. Hunter Boyle stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Trustus Theatre’s production of “Silence! The Musical.” Courtesy of Trustus Theatre

Singing lambs and a dancing serial killer open the 34th season on the main stage at Trustus Theatre.

“Silence! The Musical,” an unofficial musical parody based on the 1992 hit movie “Silence of the Lambs,” staring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, arrives just in time for Halloween. The musical runs from Oct. 5 through Nov. 3, with a special Oct. 31 performance.

In the Trustus production, rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling (Kayla Cahill Machad) matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hunter Boyle), in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Patrick Dodds). Clarice faces her own demons while racing the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another girl is killed by Buffalo Bill.

“As an apprentice at Trustus in the 1990s, there was a tradition of bawdy, but well-written late night shows,” said director Jonathan Monk. “I am most excited to bring to the Trustus stage a piece that has the feel of those delightfully silly and occasionally offensive late night experiences, where actors and audiences can celebrate the energy of bold choices and even possibly empathize with a dancing serial killer.”

Monk, along with the musical direction of Randy Moore, leads this laugh-out-loud satire that includes a singing chorus of floppy eared lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin (Abigail McNeely). Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he’d like to lead someday outside the prison walls. The music and lyrics were written by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan.

“The entire cast is made up of true powerhouse collaborators — they throw themselves in headfirst. It makes my job much more enjoyable because they surprise me with the choices they’re making,” Monk said.

But will devotees of the film have the same connection to a musical parody?

“Lecter is such an iconic character in our popular culture — I think to make him frightening and humorous will be a huge challenge,” Boyle said. I think that devotees of the film will be enthralled by some of the songs and actions on stage. It’s a piece of theater that challenges the actors. The audience will enjoy the roller coaster ride.”

If you go

“Silence!” The Musical

When: Oct. 5-Nov. 3. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; special Halloween performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Where: Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St., Columbia

Tickets: 803-254-9732; www.trustus.org

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