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Review: Studio Theatre’s Silence! The Musical

Did you watch Silence of the Lambs as a kid? As a child of the ’90s, I did, and I remember it being absolutely terrifying. I’m still frightened every time I see a picture of Anthony Hopkins to this day.

So, when I heard that Studio Theatre was doing a musical parody of the Oscar-winning film, I was slightly skeptical. But, I’ve always enjoyed the plays at Studio, and given it’s right around the corner, I had little to lose.

I invited Daniela. We began our Sunday afternoon by the pool, followed by an evening happy hour on the patio at Commissary—it was a cool 95 degrees but we had Sauvignon blanc, tacos, and guac to keep us cool under the umbrellas.

Then, we scooted over to Studio. The theatre was staged like a cabaret—with small, round tables and Thonet chairs. There was a bar—always a bonus!—and bright, Hollywood-esque lights around the red curtain on the stage. It was a charming, fun set-up, and we settled in at a four-top table alongside our neighbors.

The bar menu is themed to match the show. You can enjoy  The Hannibal Nectar, “an evil mixture of vodka, ginger beer, lime juice topped with Chianti” or, the Lotion in the Basket, “a slippery mixture of coconut rum, pineapple juice, and orange juice.”

Laura Jordan as Clarice and the ensemble of Studio 2ndStage’s Silence! The Musical. Photo: Igor Dmitry.

And then, the show begins. The plot follows that of the film: Clarice, an FBI agent in training, must use Hannibal the Cannibal to track down Buffalo Bill, the pervy guy that makes suits from the skin out of fat women he kidnaps. He then throws those fat women into a well and he and his yappy poodle taunt them, starve them, and force them to apply lotion.

Tom Story as Buffalo Bill, Hayley Travers as Catherine, and the ensemble of Studio 2ndStage’s Silence! The Musical. Photo: Igor Dmitry.

In case you forgot, Clarice was traumatized by witnessing the slaughter of lambs on her uncle’s farm as a child—and she’s spent her life trying to silence their bleating ever since. Now, let me tell you about the lambs.

There’s a chorus of singing, tap-dancing, hilarious, quirky lambs. They’re high-kicking around cabaret chairs with incredible coordination and singing the most utterly hilarious, absolutely inappropriate songs. It’s a cabaret of lambs, which cannot and should not, be silenced. They made they show. They change outfits—as cabaret lambs should—from glittery ears to mariachi paws.

I’d give Silence my blessing for the cabaret set-up and dancing lambs alone, save for the show itself was actually quite good. The man who played Hannibal had a phenomenal opera voice—and he was funny. The songs were incredibly crude—if you don’t like the “C” word you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Similarly, Clarice did the entire show, singing and all, with a heavy lisp.

Tally Sessions as Hannibal Lecter and Laura Jordan as Clarice in Studio 2ndStage’s Silence! The Musical. Photo: Igor Dmitry.

Whether or not you’re a theater geek, it’s worth seeing Silence: it’s funny, short (two hours, no intermission), and affordable—and you’ll have spent the evening laughing to an incredibly well-done musical parody.

Silence! The Musical is playing at Studio Theatre through August 23. Tickets are available online and are $40 for adults and $20 for students.

Studio Theatre
1501 14th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Cori Sue

Co-Founder, Pro Bruncher

The co-founder of Bitches Who Brunch, Cori Sue loves brand strategy, social media, red wine, and pink lipstick.

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