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The Chain Theatre says goodbye for now

By Kevin Zimmerman

Long Island City’s The Chain Theatre went out with a bang not a whimper with its final performance Saturday night.

A packed house turned out both Friday and Saturday for a ruckus evening of comedy via the Usual Rejects, who presented a hilarious and oh-so-politically incorrect parody of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

“It was a great way to go out on a high,” Kirk Gostkowski, artistic director for The Chain Theatre, said.

The show opened with Christina Perry surrounded by her co-stars Gostkoswki, Deven Anderson, Kyle Kirkpatrick and David Rey singing “Anything Goes” in Mandarin, just like Kate Capshaw did in the 1984 movie.

“Cole Porter is rolling in his grave,” Gostkowski announced to the crowd when the number finished.

To the uninitiated, the Usual Rejects plays like a cross between a frat party — if the drama club ran a frat — and a midnight movie screening.

Cast members throw themselves into their multiple parts with costumes, makeup and a array of props. Volunteers are also drafted from the audience to play cameo parts.

The Rejects rehearse a head of time, but keep their scripts handy. Sometimes that can result in unintentional funny bits, as when Gostkowski’s script got out of order and he proceeded to perform a later scene.

Anderson, who took on the role of Indiana Jones’s 11-year-old sidekick Short Round, wrote the script as he does with all the Reject shows. The Usual Rejects take great pleasure in pointing out the obvious plot holes and pure silliness that can be found in plenty of Hollywood big budget action movies. Previous outings have included riffs on “Jurassic Park,” “Die Hard” and “Top Gun.”

Kirkpartick played Indiana Jones and Rey, complete with bald cap, was the high priest of the Temple of Doom, Mola Ram.

Proceedings were interrupted throughout the evening for trivia contests based on various aspects of the film.

In one case, the actor who played Mola Ram in the movie, Amrish Puri, was the subject at hand, when it was revealed that he was concurrently making 18 other films at the time he played this part.

After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, the Rejects moved out into the lobby for a farewell party populated by actors who have played roles at the Chain over the last 3 1/2 years.

“A lot of people came up to me and expressed their gratitude for the opportunities this place has given them,” an emotional Gostkowski said. “They knew they always had a home.”

The Chain’s current lease expires Tuesday, and the property’s owner has already confirmed the building is slated to be remade as another high-end residential development in booming Long Island City.

Gostkowski expects to announce upcoming Usual Rejects shows later this month and maybe even a full-scale play or two.

“We are planning on staying in Queens,” he said.

Reach News Editor Kevin Zimmerman by e-mail at kzimmerman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4541.

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