Looking further into the past, Sweet Charity and A Little Night Music were respectively inspired by Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria and Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night. Even the all-time classic My Fair Lady was based more closely on the Gabriel Pascal film version of Shaw's Pygmalion than on the play itself. But, at the other end of the spectrum, let's not forget Singin' in the Rain, Meet Me in St. Louis, Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, and the mother of all musical flops: Carrie.
Although producers seem capable of coming up with horrendous concepts of their own, we at TheaterMania thought we'd enlist the aid of our readers to give them some assistance. What we'd like you to do is to send us the worst possible idea you can think of for a stage tuner inspired by a well-known film. Please include a title, a description or brief synopsis of the plot, song titles, casting, and creative staff. The winner, as judged by our editors, will receive two tickets to this year's star-studded Drama Desk Awards (set for May 18 in the Concert Hall at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts) plus a one-year membership to TheaterMania's Gold Club, which entitles the member to attend select shows on and off Broadway for nothing more than a $4.50 service charge per ticket. The first, second, and third runners-up will also receive TM Gold Club memberships.
For your guidance, we have worked up three examples of what we're sure would be disastrous musicals based on famous flicks. Read these products of our warped minds and then do your worst!
The Silence of the Lambs: The Musical
A best-selling novel, an Academy Award-winning film -- and now, at long last, The Silence of the Lambs gets the Broadway musical treatment. Bringing his considerable stage experience to the role of Hannibal the Cannibal, Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Dinner Party) stars opposite Bernadette Peters as Clarice Starling. Pop sensation and Broadway newcomer Justin Timberlake is featured as the sexually ambiguous serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb, singing such interpolated chart-toppers as "Hungry Heart," "(I Don't Know Why) I Go to Extremes," and the self-penned, breakout pop hit "It Puts the Lotion On Its Skin or Else It Gets the Hose Again." Other original songs include "A Dish of Fava Beans, A Glass of Chianti, and You," "You're So Sweet, I Could Eat You Right Up (No, Seriously)," and the Clarice/Hannibal duet "Little Lambs/Luscious Limbs." As the search for Buffalo Bill intensifies, the brilliant young FBI agent and the mad doctor match wits in "The Quid Pro Quo Tango" and Hannibal stops the show with his 11 o'clock number, "I'm Having an Old Friend for Dinner." Directed by Harold Prince.
Look Who's Talking! The Musical
Jonathan Dokuchitz and Alice Ripley star in this stage musical version of Amy Heckerling's charming 1989 comedy; Robert Cuccioli co-stars as the voice of the adorable Baby Mikey, who narrates his innermost thoughts and perceptions for the audience as only a toddler can. Lewis Cleale, Carole Shelley, and Dick Latessa are featured in the show, which includes such songs as "Talk to Me, Baby," "In the Dressing Room," "Where's Mikey?," "The Flying Lesson," and "An Antique Desk." The score is by Ricky Ian Gordon (My Life With Albertine) in his Broadway debut, while the book displays the sublime wit and subtle comedic skill of David Henry Hwang (Flower Drum Song, Aida). John Rando and John Carrafa (Dance of the Vampires) direct and choreograph, respectively, while Sondheim stalwart Paul Gemignani serves as musical director. Scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez (Topdog/Underdog), lighting design by Paul Gallo (The Civil War), costume design by Martin Pakledinaz (Thoroughly Modern Millie.)
Michael Moore will, of course, play himself in this romp based on Bowling for Columbine, his documentary film about gun control (or lack of same) in America. For security reasons, Charlton Heston WILL NOT play himself; that role goes to Sam Waterston. And, in a bold acting stretch, George W. Bush will be played by Charles Busch. The musical culminates on Academy Awards Night 2003 as Moore accepts an Oscar for his film, then rushes off to purchase a bulletproof vest. The show will be directed by Lonny Price, with musical direction, new songs, and general kibitzing by Jason Robert Brown. Choreography by Mark Morris. Songs include "A Little Town Called Littleton," "Our Fictitious President," and "Get Your Head Out of Your Ass, Chuck Heston!" plus an interpolated song from Chicago: "We Both Reached for the Gun." Additional songs by Guns n' Roses. Sets by Paul Clay (Rent), projections by Batwin + Robin. The target date (you should pardon the expression) for opening is Fall 2004.
To enter this contest, send your idea(s) for a Bad Musical Based on a Popular Film to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may submit more than one idea if you like, but please send them all in one e-mail. Entries must be received no later than Wednesday, April 30. For contact purposes, all entries must include a phone number.
The winner and runners-up will be announced in a TheaterMania feature to appear in early May. All entrants who are not already TM Insiders will be added to our e-mail address list and will begin receiving this free cyber newsletter, which offers discount tickets and other special deals to members. Please let us know in your entry if you don't want to be added to the list.
This contest is not open to employees of TheaterMania or to members of their immediate families. For complete contest rules, click here.
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