All your favorites from the TV show, like Dwight and Angela, will be in “The Office! A Musical Parody” at Portland’s State Theatre Thursday. Photo by Jeremy Daniels

In his latest musical theater role, Christian Fary has felt the weight of playing what he describes as “an iconic character.”

Every night when Fary takes the stage as Dwight Schrute in “The Office! A Musical Parody,” he knows what audiences expect. During its nine seasons on NBC, “The Office” made a cultural phenomenon out of Schrute, played by Rainn Wilson. The beet-farming, paintball-loving assistant to the regional manager of a paper company branch was at once arrogant and lovable, a genius and a gullible innocent.

“First off, I was a little nervous playing such an iconic character, someone so recognizable in pop culture,” said Fary, 24. “I’ve tried to delve into his brain, and it’s a little scary. I try to do justice to Rainn Wilson and give the fans what they want.”

Maine fans will be able to see what a singing and dancing version of the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. looks like when “The Office! A Musical Parody” is performed Thursday at the State Theatre in Portland.  The show began off-Broadway a year ago, created by the same production team behind several other musical parodies of TV hits, including “Friends,” “Full House” and “Saved By The Bell.”

The titles of the musical numbers refer to some of the show’s most memorable episodes and moments, including “Scranton: The Electric City,” “That’s What She Said,” “Crazy from the Rabies,” “Marry Me, Beasley,” “Threat Level Mid-Afternoon” and “Why is There a Camera Crew?”

The tour began with a month of shows in Toronto, followed by two days in the actual Scranton. Fary says the best part, for him, is watching the audience reactions.

“The writers put in a lot of nods to the show, and you can see the audience remembering their favorite moments,” said Fary.

Jim and Pam trip the light fantastic in “The Office! A Musical Parody.” Photo by Jeremy Daniels

He said one of the fan favorite scenes from the TV show that is alluded to on stage is the ill-fated dinner party at the condo of wacky manager Michael Scott, played on TV by Steve Carell. On the show, there were many times when the formality and incompetence of the office’s “party planning committee” is highlighted, and it is again in the musical.

Unlike the sitcom, Dwight on stage gets to sing and dance, Fary says.

“We take the office they work in and put it into a musical theater world, so Dwight does a little dancing and a little singing,” said Fary.

His big number is a song about his pride in the lofty title of assistant regional manager or assistant to the regional manager, depending on which characters you believe.

NBC’s “The Office” was based on a British series of the same name, focusing on the daily happenings in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of a paper company. It put a comic twist on the characters and relationships that develop overtime in a workplace, including romances and friendships. The show also took the quirks a typical co-worker might have, and multiplied them 100 times.

The show made stars out of Carell and John Krasinski, who played Jim. It helped the budding careers of others on the show to, including Ed Helms and Mindy Kaling.

Another testament to popularity and pop culture power of “The Office” is that one of the sitcom’s lesser-known stars is currently touring the country as a solo performer. Creed Bratton, who played Creed on the show, will be appearing at Portland’s Port City Music Hall on Nov. 6 in “an evening of music and comedy.”

Bratton played a somewhat creepy and unethical co-worker, who at times was strangely progressive, artistic and creative. He basically played a version of himself. Bratton’s long career in show business began in the 1960s when he was the guitarist in the pop band The Grass Roots, performing on hits like “Let’s Live For Today” and “Midnight Confessions.” But he was disgruntled about the band’s record company not letting them write songs or play all the instruments on the albums, so in 1969, he quit. He went on to play and record as a solo act, and took up acting, appearing in films and TV shows for the next 50 years.

After its run on NBC, “The Office” gained new audiences on the streaming service Netflix and became the object this year of a high-stakes bidding war between streaming services. NBCUniversal’s new streaming service won, agreeing to pay $100 million a year for five years to stream the show.

“Even before I was in (the musical parody), I was a huge fan of the show,” said Fary. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched all the episodes. But to prepare for this production, I got to watch them again.”

“The Office! A Musical Parody” will be performed at Portland’s State Theatre Thursday. Photo by Jeremy Daniels

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