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Children of the '80s embraced on Norwegian Escape

Fans of John Hughes' best films will fall in love with Norwegian Escape show

As the lights turned down aboard Norwegian Escape's Supper Club, and I was preparing to watch a show inspired by the 1980s films of John Hughes, I wondered if they'd pay homage to "Weird Science."

Johh Hughes films were definitive pillars of Reagan-era teen drama including "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty in Pink" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." All of those as well as "Some Kind of Wonderful" and non-John Hughes film "Say Anything" are melded alongside, yes, "Weird Science" in a musical tale that literally brought to tears some fellow diners who happen to be children of the 80s.

"For the Record: The Brat Pack, Live at the Supper Club" is the new dinner theater offering from Norwegian Cruise Line on Norwegian Escape sailing out of Miami. The venue has been the showcase for magic on Norwegian Getaway and an acrobatic circus on Norwegian Breakaway.

For Norwegian Escape, though, the line has tapped into the hearts and ears of cruisers who have reached or are approaching middle age.

The show was first performed in Los Angeles by the indie dinner theater production group For The Record, which puts on productions that play up the marriage of movies and music with shows based around the music from Baz Luhrman films, for instance. The "FTR: Dear John Hughes" show is among the group's most popular creations.

The beauty of it is that it takes the characters most closely related to "The Breakfast Club" – a brain, an athlete, a princess, a criminal and a basketcase – and has them move along a plot that lets them jump from film to film. So the brain gets to play Anthony Michael Hall's character from three movies as well as Ducky from "Pretty in Pink."

My only complaint was the combination of the stories from two films. In this show, the drum-playing tomboy character Watts from "Some Kind of Wonderful," originally played by Mary Stuart Masterson is in love with "Say Anything" hero Lloyd Dobler, originally played by John Cusack. Lloyd doesn't end up with Diane Court, like he does in the movie. He ends up with Watts, and in the production, the only music from either movie is Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Some consider the music from "Some Kind of Wonderful" the best of the bunch, and while "In Your Eyes" was the most powerful song of the evening – truly moving – part of me just wanted to hear "Turn to the Sky" by the March Violets.

That minor shortcoming though doesn't take away from the overall feeling you're left with. You'll hear live performances of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me," Wayne Newton's "Danke Schoen," and OMD's "If You Leave" among a dozen others. And yes, you'll hear the Oingo Boingo hit "Weird Science."

It's a musical flashback that leaves the viewer overwhelmed with nostalgia.

rtribou@tribpub.com, 407-420-5134

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