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There's something about a flop that sends my heart reeling.
Well, not really. But I do find them awfully fascinating. I'm fond of saying that, for me, there's no such thing as a wasted night in the theater. Even if the show in question is painfully bad, I at least get to blog about it, and, even better, I get to dine out for years to come about the night I actually sat through Lestat, or the pain of suffering through Frankenstein.
And I love poring through books like Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum and Second-Act Trouble by Stephen Suskin, reveling the the process of second-guessing the creators. "A voodoo exorcism on a Broadway stage," I'd marvel, recalling the abysmal musical Roza. "What the hell was Hal Prince thinking?"
This may seem like a non sequitur, but bear with me. I was driving through Boston yesterday, and there was a pretty significant traffic tie-up near Brigham Circle. The source of the trouble was a contingent of official vehicles outside an apartment building on Huntington Ave. The police were removing a dead body from an apartment, and drivers were slowing down in an all-too-familiar instance of rubber-necking. It got me thinking that my interest in flop musicals shares a similar impulse: a morbid fascination with the gory details of failure.
After my recent post about the commercially unsuccessful Marguerite, regular reader Justin asked me what the worst show I've ever seen was, and I really didn't think I could pick a worst. To paraphrase Tolstoy, all unsuccessful musicals are unsuccessful in their own individual way. I referred him to my page of "The Musicals That Suck," but in deference to a faithful reader, I also prepared the following list of my "favorite" flops:
The Most Boring Show I've Ever Sat Through: Lestat
The Biggest Waste of Talent: Lovemusik
Worst Show I Flew to Chicago to See: Victor/Victoria
My First Broadway Flop: Roza
The Most Inexplicably Popular Abomination: Jekyll & Hyde
The Biggest Flop That I Didn't Think Was All That Bad, Really: Cry-Baby
Worst $20-Million Would-Be Blockbuster: Young Frankenstein
Worst Off-Broadway Monstrosity: Frankenstein
Worst Best Musical: Two Gentlemen of Verona
Sorriest Excuse for Gratuitous Nudity: Oh! Calcutta!
Worst Premise: Into the Light (based on the scientific verification of the Shroud of Turin)
Worst Lyric: Into the Light ("Science without the data is like Christ without the stigmata.")
Least Funny Intentional Camp-fest: Evil Dead
Biggest Disappointment: Big
Worst Riverdance Wannabe: The Pirate Queen
Worst Waste of a Promising Property: High Fidelity
The Flop I Really Wish I Saw Live: Carrie
Worst Night in a London Theater: Mutiny!
Worst Blockbuster That Everyone Else Seems to Love: Billy Elliot
Worst Bloated Disney Monolith: Mary Poppins
Worst Excuse for an Andrew Lloyd Webber Show: Starlight Express
Worst Musical I've Ever Appeared In: King of Hearts
Worst Star Vehicle: The Boy From Oz
Most Cynical and Talentless Recycling of an Unworthy Property: Happy Days
OK, dear reader, it's your turn. What's the worst musical you've ever seen on a professional stage? Not the worst production, mind you: the worst musical in which the show itself sucked. We've all seen bad productions of West Side Story and Oklahoma!, but they're still terrific shows. What the worst show qua show that you've ever seen?
Posted at 10:21 AM in Random | Permalink