The folks behind L.A.’s Unauthorized Musical Parody Of… series are at it again, this time with a spoof of the teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, just in time for its 20th anniversary.

Having already covered parodies of popular titles like Home Alone, Jurassic Park, and Stranger Things, the troupe delivers yet another rockin’ good time with this adaptation written by executive producer Kate Pazakis and directed by Nathan Moore, who last appeared as Rhodes in UMPO: Bridesmaids. The pop-cabaret show (at Rockwell Table & Stage) brings to life the coming-of-age rom-com that hit theaters in 1999, modernizing Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew while becoming a breakthrough movie for stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The story, slightly updated with a gender-queer twist, finds the new-in-town Cameron (Katie Self, filling the role Gordon-Levitt originated) smitten with fellow student Bianca Stratford (UMPO vet Ashley Argota). But in order to get around her father’s strict rules on dating, Cameron attempts to get bad boy Patrick (Garrett Clayton with a hilariously overdone Aussie accent) to date Bianca’s ill-tempered sister, Kat Stratford (powerhouse Stephanie Renee Wall). Playing the girls’ “Doctor Daddy” is the scene-stealing Mathenee Treco, who also pulls double duty as Michael, Cameron’s geeky friend. And reveling in the role of Miss Perky, the erotica-writing guidance counselor that Allison Janney made so memorable, is E.K. Dagenfield, who treats the audience with his take on Khia’s sleazy-silly “My Neck, My Back (Lick It)” near the end of Act 1.

The immersive production is an inspired romp, especially with its surprising mash-ups and covers of late-90s chart toppers that manage to make the movie’s memorable scenes even funnier. A love-at-first-sight moment turns into a delightful rendition of Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” Patrick’s entrance is accompanied by Men at Work’s “Down Under” (kangaroo costume included). And an unlikely pairing delivers a hysterical yet awesome performance of Ricky Martin’s “Living La Vida Loca.” The feel-good catalog of hit singles all culminates with a finale that reminds anyone who lived through the Clinton administration why we loved one-hit wonder Chumbwumba throughout a good portion of 1997.

UMPO: 10 Things I Hate About You is now running through May 12th, 2019.

Created by Kate Pazakis, The UMPO (The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of) series merges movies and musical theatre, revisiting and retooling popular films for live audiences. Performed with a live band and slews of hit pop songs to help tell the stories, UMPO audiences have been cheering and laughing since 2015. Rockwell Table & Stage is located in Los Feliz at 1714 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles. Tickets are now on sale HERE.

@TheFirstEcho