Automatic Superstar 

Show Nightclub, 135 W. 41st St.

“Who is Matic?” A masked rockstar’s website, his pop trollop ex-girlfriend, and his fans all beg the question at the core of Bob Weidman’s rock opera. Deemed not sexy enough to make it in the music industry, a pale scrawny and heartbroken rocker fashions a mirrored mask and goes phantom to bring free music to the masses via the internet. Answer: Matic’s for the people — people who won’t shell out the cash for a CD. It’s a noble quest and sounds like a somewhat apt and timely, if not particularly gripping, plot for a rock opera. Unfortunately, Automatic Superstar’s storytelling is so flat that the action, violence and stock characters are often ridiculous and gratuitous rather than enigmatic, as ostensibly intended: a record studio’s vampiric head licks a bloody knife clean, and when Matic’s agent — who communicates in squeals, grunts and “baby”s — shoots himself, it’s a mercy suicide. It’s a shame, because the score is phenomenal; thrashy, melodic, and vibrant. Well done, Mr. Weidman; I’ve since visited several (dozen) times and listened to ‘Hate You For Loving Me’ on loop. The juxtaposition of flimsy plot with the strong music, however, is jarring. There are echoes of rock operas past here; particularly of a certain other Superstar when Matic is betrayed by his own people and becomes a martyr for his beliefs. Such parallels do more to harm the show than bolster it — they merely reinforce the things that Automatic Superstar is not.


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