Watermark on the Fringe: Wanzie’s “Monorail Inferno”

By : Danny Garcia
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Disney’s aging monorail system — a tram that transports guests around Walt Disney World — pops up occasionally in the news with technical issues such as doors not opening, trams getting stuck and, in one tragic case, the death of a Disney cast member when two of the trams collided. But before any of that, there was one major monorail event that occurred on June 26, 1985 which inspired Michael Wanzie to create a musical called “Monorail Inferno.”

Originally premiering at the Parliament House’s Footlight Theatre in the 1980s and revived from the ashes about ten years ago, this musical comedy (which hits some serious dramatic notes as well) returns with showings in Orlando Fringe’s Silver Venue.

“Monorail Inferno” is about a group of people who are forced together by chance in a small space, and as monorail technical difficulties leave them stuck 65 feet in the air, they are left to pass the time by getting to know each other.

In today’s world, if you were to get stuck on a monorail with several other people most wouldn’t say a word as everyone’s nose would be stuck to their smartphone, but instead the group of 1980 Disney visitors only have each other, and in Wanzie’s world everyone on the monorail deals with being stuck in song.

The strong voices in the cast certainly heightened the fun music that varied from a showstopping song and tap dance to the powerful mournful ballad, “Yesterday’s Children” as sung by Kerry Alce as Kyle.

The rest of the cast includes many Fringe veterans, a few new faces and a couple of entertaining drag queens Divine Grace as Allison and Rich Kuntz as Marge.

Although the “Monorail Inferno” takes place on the streamlined and typically smooth transportation Disney provides, the show itself is more like a ride on Big Thunder with some emotional highs, lows and classic Wanzie storytelling.

Wanzie’s “Monorail Inferno” plays in the Silver Venue through May 27. For more information visit OrlandoFringe.org.

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