Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Beckett: The Musical
The Saugatuck Center for the Arts will present musicals “Kinky Boots” and “Jersey Boys” this summer. Energetic, infectious, boffo on Broadway scores and scripts sung, acted and choreographed by pros? What is not to hate?
I’ve always left Mason Street Warehouse shows buoyed. Add a nice meal with vivacious company on a summer night in Saugatuck; sticker shock goes away remembers it’s less than half what you’d pay on Broadway. How much heaven can you endure unjuxtaposed against hell?
My efforts to sell the SCA a summer bill of Samuel Beckett musical comedies, enlivened between acts by John Paul Sartre-speaking mimes, have fallen on deaf ears there, in part since I’ve never voiced them. The prospect of empty seats, mutinous cast and uncapped production costs needs to be rolled out carefully.
Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot“ playing to a dead audiences should be a cinch. Present it like Broadway’s “Annie,” short in this case for “Anhedonia”:

Vladimir: The sun will come out, well never.
Estragon: Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s bliss.
Anhedonia: I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

You’ll tap your toes, sing along and marvel at the country-road, lifeless-tree setting with even-less dada stage designs while demanding your money back and suing all responsible. Title tune “Nothing to Be Done” will be hard to keep out of mind.
Laughs will keep coming with Sartre’s “No Exit” done in Mack Sennettt slapstick:

Groucho: I refuse to join any club based on delusions we are important.
Barbra Streisand: Hell is other people.

… headed by a director who is insensitive and insane. Wait, there’s less. Nothing grieves me like joy that has no choice ending, forever gone. But hope springs eternal. Up next, “Jack Kevorkian: The Musical.” Think: The Rockettes kicking cans as choreographed by Baryshnikov, score by Geoffrey Fieger’s brother Mark, who gave the world “My Sharona” by his band The Knack:

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up for a touch of the younger kind
My, my, my dead body
Ba-ba-ba-ba-bump, ba-ba-bump, ba-ba-ba-ba-bump, ba-ba … My dead body.

No one likes my theater ideas, especially me. With a new pit bull puppy I favor absence. Saga is everywhere, falling over herself with affection, curiosity and incontinence — to much much. I prefer it where sensory deprivation tanks are redundant and my fear of death becomes joyful anticipation. I know, a Spice Girls revival:

I’ll tell you what I want,
What I really, really want:

I can’t get enough. Which doesn’t mean misery’s mystery breeds nostalgia. I recalled “December 1963,” a Four Seasons song the SCA’s “Jersey Boys” will reprise this summer:

Oh, what a night
I felt like a rollin’ ball of thunder
Spinnin’ my head around and taking my body under

As JFK’s had been one month earlier. Ah, Camelot’s end on live TV, flag-draped coffin on horse-drawn caisson, son John John, 3, saluting. At 39 John John flew his plane, wife and sister-in-law aboard, into fog and then the Atlantic Ocean.
My wife and I took a jet from Bangor, Maine to Boston the night before and got stranded. United knew better than send out commercial flights, but Kennedies can pilot the world through anything. Look how John John’s stint as publisher of George was going. United put us up overnight in a dive outside Logan Airport, proving every dark cloud has a darker lining.
Everyone loves puppies but me; I hate her. (See photo of Saga, the Great Hunter, at upper right. She found a place to poop in the leaves.) Who cleans it up? I asked my wife.
“Commitment is not a word, it’s an act,” she said.
Sartre and Saga? Perfect pairing, I said. Picture the puppy and existentialist downing espressos at a Paris café when James Joyce and Martin Heidegger, looking attenuated, join them. They do barbershop singing to a marimba band.
“You’re going to write that?” my wife asked.
My genius will be cemented.
She summoned the Jimmy Hoffa Enshrinement Team, which showed up with an earth mover and cement mixer. I just want to put on a show that spreads joy, I protested.
“No escape,” she said.

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