Remember the days when Leo DiCaprio was “king of the world” and “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys was sung by everybody and their mothers? It seems a bit hazy (I think dubstep killed my brain cells). But Nicki Gallo, writer/star of the one-woman show “GR8 in 98,” can help.
Playing a rough portrait of her teenage self, Gallo plays Stephanie, a 14-year-old girl in Grade 8. Amidst all those boy band crushes and Ben Affleck posters from Armageddon, her one true love is actually AJ in her class – her goal is to have her first kiss. “[‘GR8 in 98’] is a love letter back to my Grade 8 crush who gave me a letter confessing his love…too late. I had the real letter backstage during the first show,” Gallo says.
Inspired by pens pal letters from friends and old photos, Gallo got the sense that things seemed a bit more innocent in ’98. Rummaging through all her diaries at her parents’ house, it really showed her what was important at 14. The drama, the frenemies, the cute boys and mean girls – we’ve all been there.
It’s simple storytelling, a one-woman energizing comedy, a nostalgic blast from the past when “everything was such a big deal,” according to Gallo – but it’s entertainment at its very best. The kind where you want to group hug the entire theatre audience when songs like “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo come on or sway in slow-dance unison when “Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Savage Garden plays on the speakers (because they do). The kind where you want to blow off the dust from your Nsync marionette collection or download an entire season of Family Matters when you get home. The kind where you too feel like taking a long rollerblade excursion around the city because, yes, she’s on rollerblades for half of the show. “GR8 in 98” is a throwback to those times.
After March’s sold-out run at Second City’s John Candy Box Theatre, Gallo is ready for another round on stage this Saturday before her comedy show moves to New York City this summer.
Tickets for “GR8 in 98” are $10 with a portion of sales going towards SchoolBOX, a charity that helps children get an education in Central America. Check out the Facebook event or visit ticketscene.ca to purchase tickets.
~ Desiree Gamotin