Let's play Bialystok & Bloom

If you’re not familiar with the plot of the movie/play/new movie The Producers, the team of Bialystok & Bloom come up with the cunning plan of intentionally overfinancing a production, making sure they will have a total disaster and pocketing the difference when the show closes. If you were to do this, what production would you cast to make sure you had an unqualified disaster?

I’ll start with the following suggestions:

The King & I- a big bucks revival starring Courtney Love as Anna Leonowens and Gary Busey as King Mongkut. Highlight’s would include Gary’s acronyms for “Siam” (“Summer is a Monsoon!”), his 40 minute solo of “It’s a Puzzlement”, and his dragging Courtney’s limp body around the stage after she’s passed out during “Shall We Dance”.

Streetcar Named Desire starring Verne Troyer as Stanley, Rosie O’Donnell as Stella and Harvey Feirstein as Blanche Dubois.

Miss Saigon: Redux- stars an all Greek cast as everybody’s favorite doomed Vietnames whores, with Nia Vardalos as Kim, John Stamos as the Engineer and Tommy Tune as her GI husband.

A Raisin in the Sun starring the cast of Seinfeld in their first African American roles.

You play!

See, I would be first in line to catch that.

The genius of the idea behind **The Producers ** was summed up by Leo Bloom when he said that they picked the wrong play by the wrong playwright with the wrong director and star. "Where did we go right?’ Therefore, I think that more than butchering an extant film or play or doing a sequel, you need to come up with something as appalling a play extolling Adolph Hitler"s virtues.

An idea that came to me would be Beach Blanket Tsunami, a light hearted comedy in iambic pentameter with moments of tragic relief starring George W. and Laura Bush in roles made famous by Frankie and Annette! The poetry is written by Rod Mckuen and those wonderful folks at Hallmark. Dramatic Music provided by the Munich Octoberfest Marching Flugelhorn band. The show is designed by Peter Maxx and correographed by Debbie Allen with costumes by Edith Head.

In that case:

Tit for Tate: A Musical Romp Through Spahn Ranch

That’s Our Attic!, a musical comedy based on The Diary of Anne Frank

Dahmer-mania!, the musical about everybody’s favorite cannibal (featuring the breakaway hit “You Make Me Wanna Blow My Lunch”)

The Towering Inferno, a schmaltzy romantic comedy musical set over the course of three days: September 10-12, 2001.

Don’t worry, kids! It has a happy ending!

Shouldn’t that be Infernos? The romance could be between an American jewish girl and a Saudi Arabian exchange student.

My mistake, Infernos indeed. And it would feature costume design inspired by the Broadway version of The Lion King, with actors dressed up to represent the hijacked planes and the towers in a dramatic dance number.

The King and I? Hell no. Make it Peter Griffin Presents: The King and I, and you might have something.

Send in the Clown! The life of John Wayne Gacy.

The dancing clown Act I finale will slay you.

No, no, to make money it’s gotta be “Peter Griffin Presents: The King and I. A Peter Griffin Production.”

Well, that sounds pretty close to Cannibal: The Musical

How about:

  1. Carrie: the Musical
  2. Via Galactica – about a futuristic society of people living on an asteroid.
  3. The Lieutenant – a rock opera about the My Lai massacre.
  4. Rockabye Hamlet – the Bard rocks out!
  5. Rex – The musical biography of Henry VIII.
  6. Onward Victoria – not the queen (since the audience would not be amused), but the life of Victoria Woodhill and her fight for woman’s rights.
  7. Into the Light – A peppy little tunefest about the Shroud of Turin

Of course, all of these are actual Broadway flop musicals.

My plot is a lot simpler, but has the advantage of the fact that it would be harder to detect:

I’d hire this guy to compose it.

To understand why, look at his track record- of his last seven original works to reach Broadway, only one has lasted for more than two weeks.

From there, I just step aside, and wait for the inevitable.

Hard to tell what your point is. Are you tagging Charles Strouse, the composer/arranger responsible for Bye Bye Birdie, Golden Boy, Annie, and* Applause* a failure? Surely that kind of stellar record is allowed a few missteps?

Bialystock and Bloom! Bialystock and Bloom! Gud danck pour day! Gud Danck pour day! Bialystock and Bloom!

“But Max, she doesn’t speak English! What do you say to her?”


Too bad a musical starring Boy George called Taboo has already been used.

Maybe a musical/comedy centering around a young altarboy’s coming of age in the midst of the Catholic priest pedophile scandal…directed by Roman Polanski!

For a title? Hmmmmm…maybe Frocked!

I’m just spitballin’ here…

A few missteps, yes. Were it only, say, two or three flops of the level mentioned in a row, I wouldn’t be mentioning him.

However, when you have seven shows reach Broadway over a 13-year period, with a run of 106 performances combined, I’d say the line separating “a few missteps” from a long-term slump has been crossed, especially considering that Strouse’s biggest disaster (Annie 2) never reached Broadway, and is, thus, not included in my list.

Democrate Party fund-raiser?

Holy Love, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed meet in a bath house in San Francisco in 1984. It’ll be loaded with philosophical debate about the nature of God and full frontal and backal nudity.

We open in Crawford, Texas.

I’ve gone too far, haven’t I? It’s too exciting, isn’t it? It already exists doesn’t it? It does feel familiar.

I take it back. Instead I’ll profer a one man play about a guy on a deserted island. But he’s a marine biologist and is fascinated by all the unexplored sea life in the area.

Not unlike one of the most successful Broadway teams of all time, Rogers & Hammerstein:

Maybe the moral here is that even with the best (or worst) material, it’s hard to be sure you will produce the best (or worst) result. Like The Producers found out the hard (and funny) way.

Bialystock & Bloom’s flop/hit was “probably a result, as much as anything, of their trying too consciously to be innovative.” Right.