Bat Boy Is Back!

Minneapolis Musical Theatre revives one of its strangest shows

Minneapolis Musical Theatre has come a long way since its humble beginnings at Bryant-Lake Bowl in 1997. The company now performs in the much more upscale Illusion Theater space inside Hennepin Center for the Arts, but MMT hasn't lost its essential quirkiness. Indeed, this season's opener is a revival of Bat Boy: The Musical, one of the most weirdly endearing shows you will ever see.

Based on a story from the truth-challenged tabloid Weekly World News, this bizarre production is about a half boy/half bat who is adopted by the local veterinarian and taught to speak, but is hated and reviled when he tries to join the community. "It has a powerful message," says MMT artistic director Steven Meerdink. "It's about being accepted for who you are."

As charmingly odd as the subject matter is, Meerdink is equally excited about the eclectic score. "It has a little bit of everything, from country hoe-down to punk, all based on character. There's even a song that pokes fun at The Lion King, not to mention moving ballads for Bat Boy and his adoptive mother."

MMT performed the area premiere of the show in 2004, and it was a big hit. "It was one of our most asked-for shows, and we think we can do something new and different with it now." Oct. 28–Nov. 13. Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-339-4944,