Picture The Dude from “The Big Lebowski" getting up on a bar and singing “Just Dropped In” to a group of Viking-helmeted ladies holding bowling pins to their breasts.
Or an actress standing so close to your dinner table you can literally see her tonsils vibrate as she belts an intensely beautiful rendition of Danny Boy from “Miller’s Crossing.”
That’s what happens at “Show at Barre,” an in-your-face dinner theater at the Vermont Kitchen & Bar in Los Feliz, where, amid clinking glasses and scraping forks, music from the Coen Brothers’ films comes to life.
On the menu, tunes -- and connecting dialogue -- from the Coens’ movies, that also includes “Fargo” (Minnesota accents intact), “O Brother Where Art Thou?” and even their latest, “True Grit.” All performed not just on stage, but as the artists wander through the audience.
Think Country Bear Jamboree, if all the bears were sexy young New York Broadway types.
The review, which runs through Sept. 24, was created by Shane Scheel and Christopher Lloyd Bratten, two Midwest-born performers who began their project last year with a Quentin Tarantino musical review -- featuring tunes from “Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction” et al.
It also received a visit from the man himself.
“One night he just walked in, we didn’t know he was coming,” Scheel told TheWrap. “After it ended he stayed until 4 a.m. and chatted with all of us. He said we chose songs that he didn’t even remember were in his movies.”
“Tarantino in Concert” will be revived after the Coen Brothers tribute ends, on Sept. 29, after which it will be translated for a 2,300-seat theater showing during South by Southwest next year.
Scheel and Bratten auditioned nearly 400 hopefuls for a 21-person revolving cast, with eight actors performing at a time, rendering no two shows alike. Other shows have been “Sincerely John Hughes” and “Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy.”
“Hopefully this is a marriage between New York talent and L.A. filmmaking,” Bratten, who also acts as musical director, told TheWrap.
And what makes “Show at Barre” so unique is the use of its packed bar space. The actors strut among hamburger-eating patrons, touching shoulders and sitting on laps. Every seat in the room renders an entirely different vantage point.
“So much of a film is driven by its soundtrack,” Bratten said. “We pair them up in such a way that you see this correlation you never saw before.”
“I think people don’t realize how much of a Coen brothers fan they really are until they see the show and say, ‘Oh I know this scene!’”
“People walk out saying, ‘I have to go rent that movie,’” Scheel added with a laugh.