Review: Selfie, the Musical by Vortex Repertory Theatre
by Rick Perkins


The title alone made me want to see this show.

Got it.

Selfies, we all have shared them, all too often.

Just today at my weekly Friday meal with my golf buddies,

I posted my lunch Especial of Chicken Enchiladas.

 I was certain the world wanted to see how sophisticated and luxurious my measly wasted life is these days, hey looky:

#Enchiladas, Livin’ Large, ya Losers!

I felt victorious then; now I’m hiding in horrors after seeing this funny rip roaring show.


(photo by Steve Rogers)


Director Bonnie Cullum, co/founded the Vortex in 1988, while serving as the tireless

Artistic Director for 34 years running.

She has ushered into her welcoming warm space, hundreds of creative collaborations unlike anything seen outside New York City; Paris or Portugal.


This nationally recognized creative Arts collective has a sure fire musical theatre hit on their talented hands and hearts! We’ll be talking about this show, come awards season.


(photo by Steve Rogers)The World Premiere tonight was a smashing success with the SRO crowds,

all gushing praises on the adorable cast; band and crews. 

What an emotional night to finally see your hard work and passionate visions come to life before an adoring home town crowd; patiently waiting over two years to join your sweet celebrations.


They were firing on all cylinders ready to open this loving homage to the human spirit, in March 2020.  Then a little hiccup happened to change all their best laid plans.

Two weeks from opening night, the City of Austin closed.  No more SXSW, no more gatherings of friends and no more Selfie musical dance numbers.

Rembert & the Basic Goodness band were sent home to Brooklyn, til we sort this little virus out a bit.


We all remember when the leader of the free world assured us it’ll blow over by April. Snort your horse tranquilizers; breathe in all the disinfectants under your sink and eat the donkey intestines Joe Ro~gain advised on that disgusting game show.

Reality TV, indeed.

Gimme some Live Theatre, Please!!!


Friday night, ~ April Fools ~, no less,  the packed Vortex Theatre was rattling with the ribald energies from the exuberant crowds out in the Butterfly Garden treated to a rocking acoustic set; the beautiful Butterfly Bar inside was packed with regulars who were enjoying the blissful feelings of meeting friends out on the town again.


Huge shout outs to Alex Cogburn, Box Office Manager and Resident in/\house Butterfly Gardener, for his dedication and caring for all things Butterfly. 


Their Butterfly Garden Party last weekend was another magical celebration in this oasis of pure heaven they have carefully crafted outside the venerable theatre.  I spoke with several happy families who were there to absorb the vibes of the environment and cherish the treasures the tribe has created for all those who may enter freely.


Imagine a park filled with rainbows of butterflies fluttering about the half acre; succulent intoxicating food smells wafting from the Italian kitchen parked mere feet away from the stage where top rate musicians serenaded your entire families of friends. 

{ This is place is So Cool, I almost hesitate to tell folks. }

They’ll all move here, ~ oh sorry, ~ they already have!!


Bonnie told me she was renting a neighborhood house for the band during the run,

and it costs more than the entire budget of some shows I’ve seen lately. 

Welcome to Austin, y’all!  Need a ride to the airport?

We don’t need more bass players delivering pizzas and world class jazz masters driving our Uber Eats.

Come sit on I~35 in mid August at most any hour, & tell me how ya like us now,

all ye high Techie Coding Calif Cash Cows!  Get offa my lawn!


(photo by Steve Rogers)


Ms. Block has created a tremendous treatise of our times.  Slyly commenting on our profound self indulgence and severe needs to self document every waking moment of our narcissistic lives. 

Posing, posting; focused so far inward, we see the Vast Nothingness we feared all along.


The powerhouse band of four players and singers, along with the superb cast of four, made this grooving ensemble rock the house!

At one point I counted all six live hot mics and four instruments mixed to perfection, not a glitch nor a sour note shared. We’ve all been thru the joys of Tech nights!


(photo by Steve Rogers)Kudos all round to Stage Manager Tamara L. Farley for the sharp attention to detail.

What a delightful surprise all the stunning arrays of looks lighting designer Patrick Anthony showered down upon us.

I ran out of superlatives and had writer’s cramps from noting his textures and colors, sweeping us down into this netherworld where we watched the stories unleashed.  


Jose Lozano and the crew at Magic Spoon have pulled off another winner with their projections of hilarious and apparently true news stories of gruesome, stunning accidents & mishaps due to the world wide obsessions of self portraits.

We just can’t get enough of ourselves, it seems. You know who you are, or do You?


Award Winners Pam Friday on costumes and visiting her alma mater from her new home in Michigan, set designer Ann Marie Gordon, performed fine work filling the stage areas with colorful palettes; textures and joyous fun.

I am Not kidding, I want to buy one of those Cloud Suits!

Do Not let the band leave town, til I have my new sky blue Cloud Suit in my lustful hands!  David Byrne ain’t got nothin’ on me, Dude.

    I’ll be at the Strike Party, Ms. Friday.  

I have Ca$h, and I’m not afraid to use it!


The youthful fresh cast of four really had a ball finally getting to play with the songs and dance numbers, each well choreographed by Sandie Donzica.


My advice is to buy the show CD like I just did and listen to all the songs again to catch all the clever word plays and social commentaries Ms. Block gave us.



Rembrandt the painter flew in for a show highlight, with his hilarious self portrait song.

Truly hit home the fascination we’ve had throughout the ages with having our lives documented for others to admire.  Incisive on many levels.


“Hot or Not” was a clever sponsor for the show.

A very honest commentary on our selfish times.


Talking with Ms. Block afterwards, she told me she first wrote “Got the Shot” as a comment on our weird compulsions of self expression.  That single song drove her to this full blown production.  Get your CD autographed by the band, at the Selfie Wall.


She told me how she envisions telling stories with songs involved, seeking non traditional explorations. Mergers with the muses come when they are ready.


There are so many genuinely sublime moments here, I hesitate to spoil your fun adventures.  Go see this charming production; take a few pictures at the Selfie Wall.



The cast of four were all spot on with their respective reasons why they were sharing  their emotional private journeys with us.


(photo by Steve Rogers)


This fresh production reminded me of seeing a road show of ‘Godspell’ at 15.

Giving me permission to have a life in the theatre; discovering myself again tonight, now fifty years later, I’m crying tears of pure joy, like that kid up in the SMU balcony.


This is the Power and the Purity of an evening shared among friends we haven’t yet met.


Allegra Jade Fox as Ugly Selfie Girl is a solid singer and punched a kick//\\ ass attitude into her songs and stories.

Keyshaan Castle, Dude Face, brought swagger to That Guy we All know who loves himself even more when he’s high atop a skyscraper or a tree, just about to fly.


Eryn Gettys was a good foil to Trey Deason as the Chasing Sunsets Wife and Husband.

They both brought shades of insecurities and doubts we don’t often discuss in such a public forum as our Social Media avatars we cleverly hide behind to disguise our real selves from each other.


I could easily see future productions having engaging talk backs with the audiences about the societal implications of our needs for self expression and connection,

stumbling out of the Covid crazed years.

The 85 minute run time readily allows for interactive communications we crave.


The Vortex Theatre is the epicenter of Creative Collaborations in Austin,

dare I say Texas!

If you can find another more dedicated loving generous gathering of colorful Social butterflies, please come find me. 

I’ll be seated in BB1, Alex’s favorite spot, right where the magic keeps happening for the last 34 years…look for the guy in the cool Clouds suit. We can take a selife!


Come for the Butterflies; stay for the love and generous gifts that only a theatre filled with the Promise of ‘Yes And’..., can bring to your friends and families.

If butterflies are free, that’s well worth the price of admission.


You’ll see the Vortex folks again, at the Winners table during Awards Season!

Selfie, the Musical
by Rembert Block
The Vortex

April 01 - April 17, 2022
via internet
Everywhere, TX, 78700

April 1-17, 2022 | VORTEX World Premiere

Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 6 p.m.

Tickets are available online HERE. 

Livestream on April 7, 2022; ticket $9.99, available online HERE. 


When: April 1-17, 2022

Thursday-Saturday 8pm

Sunday 6pm

Preview: March 31

Live-streaming: Thursday, April 7

ASL-Interpreted: Saturday, April 9

Industry Night: Wednesday, April 13


Required Safety Protocols: Masks and Proof of up-to-date vaccination


Where: The VORTEX, 2307 Manor Rd. Austin, TX 78722

On the Eloise Brooks Cullum Stage @ The VORTEX

Free Parking. Bus Route. The Butterfly Bar @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with hand-crafted cocktails and snacks. Patrizi’s @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with delicious homemade Italian food.


Tickets: $37-$15

$37 Priority Seating 

$27 General Admission

$15 Discount/Child/Artist/Student/Senior  or 512-478-5282

Advanced Reservations Recommended.  Limited seating.

Blue Star Theatre: Discounts for Military, Veterans, and their families.

2-for-1 admission with donation of 2 cans for SAFE Austin (Wed. Thurs. Sun.)

Radical Rush Free Tickets: Limited free tickets for each performance in the spirit of sustainability, accessibility, and the gift economy. Radical Rush tickets released one hour before the show each night--in-person only.