The concept behind “Chuckleball” is simple: sports are a great place from which to generate laughs.
Two Bayonne residents have gotten involved in a show they hope will become a regular feature on college campuses and elsewhere.
The show, currently at the Snapple Theater in New York for a limited run until Dec. 30, parodies sports the way “Forbidden Broadway” does theatrical performances and “The Capitol Steps” abuses politics.
Brad Resnick, 24, of Bayonne (his family owns Resnick’s Hardware Store), hooked up with the production a couple of years ago when he was a student at Rutgers University, where Jason Goldstein, a Rutgers alumnus, had developed the show.
Resnick, who graduated from Bayonne High School and attended Rutgers with the idea of collecting a degree in photography, was approached by Goldstein to get involved with the program for an off campus theater troupe called Livingston Theatre Company.
“I had done backstage work in high school and college, but my main focus was photography,” Resnick said during a recent interview.
Goldstein, who hails from Central Jersey, had come up with the concept of “Chuckleball” in 2003, apparently realizing that sports made a good vehicle for musical comedy. The show was work-shopped and then performed by the Livingston Theatre Company.
The show went through several changes over the years, from the original off-Broadway production done in 2004 (which played in the Producers Club) to the current version, which is called “Chuckleball: Jailhouse Jocks.”
The current version pokes fun through musical parody of the legal troubles of such sports stars at Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, and others.
The Bonds parody is a mocking lament set to the tune of Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” but with lyrics rewritten to imply that Bonds is hoping for a steroid-free urine test.
The parody potential of contemporary sports is so rich, Resnick said Goldstein and his writing partner, Ian Nemser, have to keep updating the songs to keep up with the current changes.
One parody of Michael Vick – who has been charged with promoting dog fighting – uses the Tom Jones’ song, “What’s New Pussycat.”
Four actors make up the cast and involve approximately 30 songs, filling out about 90 minutes of total performance.
Resnick, who is helping to get to promote the show so that it can eventually do a tour of college campuses, said the show appeals to a wide range of people, not just your usual theatergoer.
Good for boys
Megan Zervoulis, also a Bayonne High School graduate, said the show isn’t typical theater; sports-minded males might find it even more entertaining than their theater-loving female counterparts.
“Every sports-loving guy can appease his girlfriend by going to a show,” Zervoulis said. “But in fact, those guys generally love the show as much as the girl does. We try to keep the show’s humor as broad as possible so that everybody likes it.”
But both Zervoulis and Resnick say the show would appeal to almost anyone, since most of the sports figures parodied are very familiar names to the general public.
Zervoulis, who also participated in BHS drama productions, joined Resnick in trying to get the show on the road. She plays the piano for the production.
The limited engagement at the Snapple Theater is designed to give the production legs so that it can take its act on the road. The Capital Steps, for instance, play more 500 shows a year.
“Sports are just as popular as politics,” he said.
For more information, ticket prices and directions to the theater, go to the production Web site at www.chuckleball.com.