They Might Be Giants -- The Musical!

I know there are TMBG fans here. Once on a long car ride I was listening to a bit of TMBG and it occurred to me that you could probably put a bunch of their songs together into some kind of bizarre, paranoia-fueled narrative. It’s currently being done with the music of Abba, so why not John and John?

Ideas I had were:

Hero: James Ensor, Belgium’s Famous Painter
Villain: Mr. Horrible
Hero’s Rival: someone with Extra Savoir Faire
Hero’s True Love: Ana Ng

What ideas do you have for the plot? What songs to be included? (I see a great set piece with Mr. Horrible singing “Kiss Me, Son of God”.) Who will be the first person to com into the thread and declare that they hate TMBG? What other characters would you include? At what point will the hero visit Cowtown? Where does Chess Piece Face fit in?

I think the ending would have to be Ensor gives up painting for sculpture, and Mr. Horrible is transfixed, sings “The Statue Got Me High” and is incinerated on the spot.

There should be some plot point where Ana Ng is all alone (possibly kidnapped for ransom by Mr. Horrible?), and sings “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

I think at some point Mr. Ensor, inspired by his acquaintance “John Lee Supertaster,” would consider adopting a secret identity to save the day: “Particle Man?”

And there would be a John-Cage-performance-art moment where they play five songlets, selected at random from a hat, from the “Fingertips” suite.

Oooh. Can the whole thing turn out to be on the Planet of the Apes? And then, when they realize they actually LIKE the Planet of the Apes, they can sing an homage to the glory of Mammals!

I don’t know, Kyla. For some reason I picture it taking place in Istanbul, not Constantinople.

[sub]Yeah, I know it’s a cover; so shoot me. New York City’s also a cover and both songs rocked.[/sub]

I think a shoehorn with teeth should figure out somehow. As should a rock to wind a piece of string around.

And at some point, we need someone twisting, twisting twisting, slowly twisting in the wind.

I think it should be set in a hotel in New York City around the turn of the century. The first act consists of various characters coming and going, including a down-on-his-luck rodeo clown who sings “Minimum Wage!”, and our young protagonist who’s trying to rekindle his romance with Ana Ng. One of the hotel guests reveals his paranoia by singing “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go.” The paranoia turns out to be justified when he’s murdered, requiring the guests to call in a “Hotel Detective.”

Then there’s the big road-trip sequence, incorporating “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, “Road Movie To Berlin” and “They Got Lost.”

And, at some point, Mr. Ensor get injured (perhaps in a dirt bike accident) and consults with “Doctor Worm.”

Somehow we need to have Ensor and Ng sing the love duet “New York City.” (Though why a guy from Belgium and a girl from Vietnam would be meeting in NYC I leave as an exercise for the reader.)

After Mr. Horrible is killed, the whole cast links arms for the grand finale, “Exquisite Dead Guy.”

The opening theme, of course, is “Theme from Flood,” followed by “Welcome to the Jungle.” (Although perhaps that will be discarded in the out-of-town try-out and replaced with “They Might Be Giants.”)

It could be an X-men like action thriller.

Mr. Ensor could be the leader of a secret group of superheroes (like the Civic Minded Five from The Tick) with Particle Man, Chesspiece Face, Rabid Child, and James K. Polk.

Arch-nemesis Mr. Horrible.

Pluck news reporter Ana Ng.

Oooh, I like that idea, Ol’Gaffer!

Darn. I thought this was going to be about the crazy Sherlock Holmes movie.

But… but… Mr Horrible isn’t the bad guy! The Ugliness Men are the bad guys! Mr Horrible’s only problem is someone keeps moving his armchair.

Thank you, Fiat–I was going to point that out. Mr. Horrible is a tragic figure–tormented by those around him in the midst of his grief. Perhaps his friend’s accidental death wasn’t so “accidental”–maybe the Ugliness Man did it. It’s all a part of the plot to burn the playhouse down.

I think The Villain (have we settled on Mr. Horrible?) should sing No One Knows My Plan. It’d be great plot expostion.

Also I’ve had it running through my head all day.

Don’t forget Universe Man!

If Ana Ng is going to be in it, we need a scene at the Dupont Pavilion during the '64 World’s Fair.

We also need a scene where one of the characters is being followed by a scarecrow and singing “Where Your Eyes Don’t Go.”

What a fantastic idea…

“Exquisite Dead Guy” As somebody dies…

“Spiraling Shape” As Mr. Horrible torments our heroes

“Put your Hand Inside a Puppet Head” As Mr. Horrible contemplates how easily people are manipulated.

“Sexxy” as some sort of make out song with Ang Ng

Somehow or other we have to fit in “Robot Parade” and “Whistling in the Dark”

And in the end… Everybody Polka’s!

With my sense of humor, I’d use music by They Might Be Giants, and, for book, the script of the old movie “They Might Be Giants”.

(Wonder if I could get Joanne Woodward?)

At some point, the face which was a paper-white mask of evil has to make an appearance.

Possible sidekick for James Ensor – Mr. Klaw. Mr. Vanity Klaw.

And, perhaps on their way to the '64 World’s Fair, they make a stop at The Edison Museum.

OH! And, at some point, Ensor is tempted by someone dressed only in clothes, from her head to her toes. But, it it really a woman? (Here’s where we can quibble over the meaning of S-E-X-X-Y. Is it just way, WAY sexy, or, is it really about the male chromo pair?)

Governor Quinn, that’s an intriguing idea. Suppose you could take the, ah, “libretto” from the old movie and switch all the dialogue around to give it a totally different story, like the White Stripes did with the Citizen Kane dialogue in “The Union Forever”?

This thread is reminding of many, many cool songs I haven’t heard in ages. Time to go dust them off…