The Arts and Leisure section of Thursday's New York Times had an article on a recent controversy in the tiny world of Musical Theatre composers. Yes, apparently some of the boys aren't getting along.
Michael John LaChiusa, a composer of some note (uuu, like that pun), wrote an article in the recent issue of Opera News in which he declared the American Musical dead and slammed certain Broadway musicals down to the mat like a WWF wrestler. It wasn't pretty. He called some Broadway musicals ‘faux'. Ahhhhhhh! Obviously, the composers of some of these musicals took offense at such remarks, and one even came out fighting in an internet chat room.
Am I the only one who hears the score of West Side Story in all this?
When you write faux You write faux all the way From your first power hymm To your last soaring A
Reading about all this offstage draw-ma, I remembered that least time I saw a musical by Michael John LaChuisa, whom I did once meet and found to be a most pleasing gentleman with fine manners and a gracious disposition. It was The Wild Party with Toni Collette and Eartha Kitt on Broadway back in 2000. Of course, there's an amusing anecdote about that experience. I wrote it out in rhyming verse.
The Wild Party: Broadway 2000
Michael John once wrote a show about a blonde Who partied harder than the norm And wanted love from everyone. She danced up a storm and shook her ass, And there was talk that she smoked grass. Gasp!
So Michael John A golden boy Who's never coy And not my toy Ran up to me ecstatically In the Broadway Lob-bee. Breathlessly he said to me, Oh you're here! You're here! Cause I was there, yep, I was there.
Up! Up! Up! In the upper balcony In the middle of the fourteenth row I chatted with some people I know They heard it was a romp, But we had all been comped, So we settled down to watch a Broadway show.
Like every other show, there was singing and dancing. But wait! There was more! There was prancing And (gasp) fucking. The show was definitely not sucking. The set looked real neat. The music had beat. The actors had heat. I found it sweet.
Then, I started to smell something strange. I checked my seat and next to me, but it wasn't from our range. Everyone around me smelled it too. We held our collective noses and whispered a collective uuuuuu. Ten rows down, someone had puked, Vomited, blown chunks, hurled. In spite of all the heaving, No one else was leaving While the ushers scrubbed as their flashlights swirled And threw yucky rags Into plastic trash bags, But it still smelled gross and I felt a bit nauseous. I had to get out---at least to be cautious.
Onto the stage came Eartha Kitt, And I thought, okay now Jen, this will be it. She will sing a big song, and they will all clap. During applause, get out of there stat.
So the big song ended and clap they all did. Across the row, like a rattlesnake, I slid. Excuse me, excuse me, sorry, excuse me, getting out. Why is she leaving? I heard one woman pout. Because it smells terrible! I wanted to shout.
But I didn't scream or make a scene. I ran down the stairs to clean New York air.
So much for Broadway And their God Damn eighty dollar tickets I'm going back downtown Where the audience doesn't make me sicket.