It’s Alive! 'Bat Boy: The Musical' Coming March 1–3 to Black Box Theatre

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Bat Boy: The Musical


Although it was almost 32 years ago, Teddy Eck vividly recalls the week the Bat Boy hit the cover of the Weekly World News. In late June 1992, Eck and people standing in line at supermarkets across the country were captivated by the grotesque image of a bald boy with oversized ears, his gaping mouth displaying jagged, pointy teeth.

Teddy Eck
Teddy Eck

Nine years later, Eck moved from Topeka, Kansas, to New York City to study theatre, arriving just as Bat Boy: The Musical made its off-Broadway debut, bringing the wildly popular Weekly World News character to life in a story that had the Bat Boy trying to fit into society instead of running away as he had in the series of tabloid stories.

“We went to see it many times, so I have a deep fondness for the show,” said Eck, director of the Viterbo University Conservatory for the Performing Arts production of the show, which runs March 1–3 in the Fine Arts Center’s LaCroix Black Box Theatre. (The Friday and Saturday evening shows are nearly sold out already.)

In this comedic musical tinged with horror, the half boy/half bat is found in a cave near a small town in West Virginia and brought to the local veterinarian, Dr. Parker, and his wife, Meredith. They add the boy to their family, which also includes a daughter his age, Shelley. The townsfolk (and gradually Dr. Parker) are not so accepting, and their zeal to be rid of him eventually elicits the unveiling of the shocking story of Bat Boy’s unholy origin.

Bat Boy rehearsal
“Bat Boy: The Musical” director Teddy Eck, center, discusses a scene with Reagan Kettner (Shelley) and Jake Aune (Bat Boy) during the first week of rehearsals at Viterbo University’s LaCroix Black Box Theatre.

Eck worked with Los Angeles-based scenic designer Teena Sauvola, a 2008 Viterbo graduate, to create a production that immerses the audience in the show. There’s even a two-row section known as “the blood zone,” where audience members get ponchos to protect them from splattering stage blood. Seats in that section are sold out for all four performances.

“Teena and I really worked on how to make the audience feel a part of the show,” said Eck, in his third year on the Viterbo faculty. “The blood zone came out of that, and we removed some seats to allow the cast to get closer to the audience.”

Jake Aune, a junior music theatre major from Elk River, Minn., plays the title role and will be the source of much of the blood. He shares Eck’s push to pull the audience in. “Everyone is going to feel like they’re not just watching,” Aune said. “They’re an integral part of what’s going on in the show.”

Bat Boy rehearsal
Jake Aune, who plays the title role in Viterbo University’s production of “Bat Boy: The Musical,” is pictured during the second week of rehearsals. In the background is Robbie Alston, who portrays Dr. Parker.

In addition to Aune, Bat Boy’s lead actors include Reagan Kettner as Shelley, Katie Schafer as Meredith, and Robbie Alston as Dr. Parker. Filling out the all-student cast are Kayden Kloehn, Tucker Mensen, Katie Kostner, Shea Grande, Isaac Knudsen, Zach Lichner, A.J. Murphy, Jess Schneider, and C.J. Zimmer III.

Bat Boy: The Musical contains violence, drug use, and sexual references. It is intended for mature audiences. It is produced by special arrangement with Weekly World News.

Performance times are 7:30 p.m. March 1–2 and 2 p.m. March 2–3. Tickets are $16, plus taxes and fees, for general admission seating. For more information or to order tickets, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit

The cast of "Bat Boy: The Musical"
The cast of "Bat Boy: The Musical" took a break during the first week of rehearsals for a group photo. (Makayla Taylor photo)