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Brave New Workshop targets everything from Toyotas to Target Field

Vocal displeasure is pretty rare to hear these days, but during a parody in the Brave New Workshop show of Michele Bachmann and some of her, ahem, unusual statements over the years, some people were audibly upset. So upset, in fact, that they booed at the end.
I’m sure it was music to the ears to the creators of “Toyota! The Runaway Musical Hit!” After all, the show pokes fun at plenty of topics, people and even the actors themselves, so a strong reaction is something to treasure. While this was definitely the highlight, “Toyota!” comes packed with plenty of other joys that makes the evening fly by.
As the title indicates, this is an all-musical Brave New Workshop production (oh, and there are lots of jokes about Toyotas along the way). And there’s plenty more than politics here, as the targets include young pop starlets, children’s programming, the new Twins stadium, Christian hard rock, breaking up (the touching “I Wish I Had Herpes”) and “douchebags.”
The quintet of performers (who also wrote the show, along with music director Peter Guertin) definitely has fun — and that’s pretty infectious for the audience. From Lauren Anderson’s truth-telling children’s TV-show singer to Ellie Hino’s jilted girlfriend to Josh Eakright’s unnamed, right-leaning country singer, there’s plenty to love.
It’s topped off with Bobby Gardner, who gets three of the best moments of the night: a story from his teenage years of a performance of “The Sound of Music” gone horribly wrong; an accountant with “gay Tourette’s” who breaks out into Broadway production numbers; and his spot-on Susan Boyle imitation, used here to have the strait-laced singer do current hits by Usher and Lady Gaga.
Director and performer Katy McEwen keeps the anarchy mostly under control, but really this is a case where the audience has as much fun as the cast. Just be careful bringing any overly sensitive political folks along for the ride.
“Toyota! The Runaway Musical Hit!” runs through Aug. 14 at the Brave New Workshop, 2605 Hennepin Ave. S. Tickets are $25-$29. For information, call 612-332-6620 or visit online.

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