Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

Who doesn't love 'em?

Okay, granted, some people will say they don't like drugs, but watch 'em pick up a cup of coffee or a beer right after they tell you that. Then they'll get home and pop a couple aspirin and maybe an Ambien before bed. Americans love their drugs. Case closed.

And rock & roll? Well, I might concede that folks born before 1940 might not all love rock & roll, but you can't really escape it anymore, now that Madison Avenue is targeting the Baby Boomers with commercials for retirement plans, investment firms, life insurance, pills for hard-ons... and a lot of those commercials use (misuse) rock & roll. (The one that just makes me squirm is the one that uses "In-A-Gadda-da-Vida" to sell 401k's or something. Must they pee on the 60s like that?)

And then there's sex. 'Nuff said.

So why not a show about all three? Especially after working on and researching Grease and Johnny Appleweed, it has become clear to me that sex and drugs have always been the most powerful cultural forces in the world since before recorded history. (Cannabis was the first crop humans ever cultivated, going back about 5,000 years!) And though rock & roll has only been in existence for about fifty years, it's certainly one of the most powerful cultural forces in the world today, arguably the most powerful.

Musical theatre chronicles America's emotional and cultural life like no other art form, so what could be more interesting or more insightful than exploring these three ubiquitous forces through the songs of the American theatre?

New Line hasn't done a revue in our regular season in a quite a while. Past revues include A Tribute to the Rock Musicals (our first show in 1992), A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim (1993), A Tribute to the Dark Side (1993), Out on Broadway (1996), Extreme Sondheim (1997), and Out on Broadway 2000. We've done some concerts at the Sheldon Concert Hall, but those really were concerts, not revues. (The difference is in the level of production and in the sense of unity the show has.)

My friend and board member Alison has been pushing me to do another revue in our regular season for a long time, but it's such a hassle to create this kind of show. But once we agreed to move to the Ivory Theatre this season, it seemed a revue would be a good first show -- lower budget than a regular book show, fewer technical demands, and pretty good commercial potential (anything with the word rock in it usually sells pretty well). And, like our Sheldon concerts, it's a chance for our audiences to experience really amazing theatre songs without the "distractions" of plot, sets, costumes, props -- here they can focus solely on the wonderful music and smart, funny, emotional lyrics.

So here we are. We've got a kick-ass cast (including 9 people who were in our critically acclaimed production of Urinetown) -- Aaron Allen, Kiné Brown, Zachary Allen Farmer, Nicholas Kelly, Matthew Korinko, Aaron Lawson, Khnemu Menu-Ra, Isabel Pastrana, John Rhine, Michelle Sauer, Kimi Short, and Scott Tripp. We go into rehearsal August 6 and we open the show September 27 at the brand new Ivory Theatre! This is gonna be a fuckin' blast!

Long Live the Musical!