Colleen Gillon

"What do you know about Nietzsche?" sings the philosopher with the oversize mustache. "What do you know? It doesn't rhyme with peachy—at least it won't for the rest of the show!" Thus begins a campy new musical by Jeremy Richards that corrects the record about the West's most misunderstood (and mispronounced) philosopher.

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Unexpected Productions has been performing improv comedy for Seattle since Ivar was a gamete, but Nietzsche! is one of its recent forays into scripted theater. The musical retains the romping, goofball energy of improv—as well as its occasional flavor of amateurism. The band sometimes bumbles, a couple of actors are asked to sing beyond their range, and some of the songs feel superfluous, as if tacked on to meet some musical-theater quota.

But the production is undeniably, exuberantly fun and a comprehensive crash course on the philosopher and his legacy, from the sister and brother-in-law who selectively edited Nietzsche to make him sound like a Nazi to the contemporary Christians who selectively quote Nietzche to make him sound evil. (They always seem to remember "God is dead" and conveniently forget the next sentence, "And we have killed him.") Actor Justin Sund gives Nietzsche a deep warmth beneath his cool, wry surface and Ryan McCabe as a young Christian convert rips the rafters with "My God," a rousing song about self-centered religion. Nietzsche is good, smart, goofy fun. recommended

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