Going Rogue: The Musical

Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch… Again!

We hate to let a good idea go to waste, and Pedonator’s inspiration the other night deserves more than languishing in an off-topic comment thread.

So let’s catch up.

Our project is to crowdsource a Sarah Palin biopic. But not just any movie — a musical.

It’s such a fabulous idea, we’re afraid to mention it in public without registering it first with the Writers Guild. Think Sound of Music meets Little Shop of Horrors. Think Gypsy meets Rocky Horror. Think My Fair Talibunny.

The key to the project is that it must be directed by John Waters, although we’ll settle for him as executive producer. And we’re very partial to Marc Shaiman as lyricist/composer — not just because of his fine work on Hairspray, but his peerless effort for the best musical of the ’90s, the South Park movie. The dude has cred.

We also need to cast the principals. There’s Sarah, the brash yet vulnerable Alaskan girl plucked from obscurity by craggy patriarch John McCain to help him lead the free world. Todd, her loving yet gruff husband, torn within from supporting his soulmate’s ambition while advocating Alaskan secession. Bristol, the ingenue daughter, so sweet and innocent that she was never told what to be abstinent from. And Levi, her charming rascal of a boyfriend, who by convention must remove his shirt as frequently as possible.

And how could we forget Trig, the most important character in our plot? For the Big Reveal in our movie (as in real life) is that the 2008 fall campaign never happened, but was instead a dystopian musical nightmare dreamed from Trig’s perspective by Rachel Maddow, who awakes surrounded by her closest friends.

There’s so much more — songs, people, we need songs! — and you’re invited to review the initial thread to steal or elaborate ideas. Later, in our role as dramaturg for the Stinque Players, we’ll attempt to collate an initial treatment from both threads and see whether we can nudge this baby towards an off-off-off Broadway workshop that Benedick promises he can score.


Well, if we involve Trig, can we write something like The Sound and the Fury and set it to music? He’s probably the only one in the whole clan who has good sense.

Sarah: Reese Witherspoon
Todd: I kinda like Brad Pitt but we need someone who can sing
Bristol: Miley Cirus, natch
Levi: the vampire dude or the guy from Gossip Girl, but again don’t know if they sing
Tracksuit: (the older son who was shipped off to the army): Adam Lampert
The other two daughters: ?
Trig: Mini-Me

Here’s where I need help casting
John McCain – Clint Eastwood
Bill Kristol – ???
Katie Couric –

I still vote for the Coen Brothers directing. John Waters can produce/write the script.

this has to happen

and yes to John Waters. Waters is to white trash as NatGeo is to nature photography.

you might want to consider an outside of the box pick for director.
check out this production number from “Meet The Feebles” Peter Jacksons surreal puppet movie.

“open up your ring and try it front to bum. bum bum. bum bum!”

IMO Jackson is one of the only people working now who have Kubrickish genius. every one of his films is perfect. within their genre. from Bad Taste to Meet the Feebles to Forgotten Silver right up to the rings movies.
perfect within their genre. I am really looking forward to his adaptation of The Lovely Bones

Another idea for Levi, especially if this is going to the stage first: Cheyenne Jackson. He can sing, too.

Nojo, thank you for keeping the dream alive!

Bill Kristol: John Stewart
Katie Couric: Reese


Going with the obvious here, Tina Fey (I’ve seen her sing). Failing that, the pron actress from Nalin Palin.

There’s a bright golden haze on the wall-mart,
There’s a bright golden haze on the wall-mart,
The meth freaks are as high as a snowbird can fly-
And Vlad Putin’s head is not up in the sky!

Oh, what a day in Wasilla!
Also, It’s sunny out, too,
I’ve got a mid-western accent
That helps me get money from you!

(I will go on later, but shall I continue in this vein? Or are we aiming for something more Sondhiem-y? After all, I’m not sure we can afford a professional lyricist at this point. Once word gets out that Benedick is connected with the project, maybe, but then he may want to save his juice for the negotiations with Peter Jackson. Oh, and can we put Mario Lopez in it, just for fun? Can he wear a jockstrap throughout? )

But what about Piper?

I mean, really, peeps. Forget about Trig. He’s nothing more than an accessory. Piper is the real star of this show.

Think Cinderella,, mother’s little helper, fly-on-the-wall …

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I think the whole musical aspect of things should be somewhat country-western in style, if that’s possible for a stage musical or…dare we say, comic opera?

And a good patter song is always memorable. It’s too bad we lost Anna Russell a few years back. She could have made some fine contributions to the effort.

@SanFranLefty: Katie Couric: Meredith Vieira. Practically separated at birth, no?

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I will go on later, but shall I continue in this vein? Or are we aiming for something more Sondhiem-y?

I think it’s too soon to limit artistic choices — and for sketch purposes, we may need to go with Mad/Manchu-style lyrics to known songs.

But broadly speaking, a classic approach fits the subject. The meta aspects will take care of themselves.

Todd = Bill Pullman. He’s good at keeping quiet and looking pained.

Sarah = Kristin Chenoweth

Katie Couric = Kirstie Alley

John McCain = Brian Dennehy

Bristol = Minnie Driver

Other children = cardboard cutouts

Levi = Wentworth Miller

Bill Kristol = Robert Morse, reprising his Broadway role of Truman Capote in “Tru”

@ManchuCandidate: We should go for the EGOT.

Has no one even given a thought to a minimalist thing with a Phillip Glass score?

“Wa Wa Wa Wa
Wa Wa Wa Wa
Wa Wa Wa Wa
Ah Ah Ah Ah
Ah Ah Ah Ah
Ah Ah Ah Ah “

this seems worthy of a stinque post. Somali pirates have opened what is basically an exchange where people can invest in their piracy business.
sounds strange but with their recent success and our shitty economy it might not be such a bad idea.

@RomeGirl: Can Dennehy sing? Because Bobby Morse as McCain seems the more delightful bet.

@redmanlaw: Glass musicals are a bit abstract, but if you’re going that direction, John Adams is your man.


Or we can just do it A La Yoko Ono.

You know, the musical equivalent of crap in a borrowed silver gravy boat.

Songs should include rewritings of:

American Idiot by Green Day, with no lyric changes, sung by Levi.

Baba O’Riley by the Who, sung by Todd to himself in a mirror while practicing being the First Dude

Rainbow High from Evita, sung by Sarah after she learns of her VP nomination

Maria from West Side Story, sung by Kristol after his fateful luncheon with her. For full creepiness, Springsteen’s I’m on Fire, with no lyric changes, during the luncheon.

The Who’s Who Are You, sung by McCain to Sarah backstage before his concession speech

Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Mis, sung by Sarah and chorus for her debut speech. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina is just too much.

@Pedonator: Nojo, thank you for keeping the dream alive!

And I’m really serious about this, at least for initial development purposes. I want to see how far we can nudge this along — there really is a musical in this story, and we just have to find it.

@nojo: See my song choices. I think he could scream out Who Are You. God knows Daltry did.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Son of RML called “Mishima” by Phillip Glass “the best hip hop I ever heard.” He was about eight then.

@RomeGirl: A Green Day musical based on American Idiot is already in the works.

@Capt Howdy:
Stock symbol: ARR*

*borrowed from my own comment on io9

@redmanlaw: Oh, I know. But I don’t think they’ll mind us borrowing that one for our precious Levi.

a while back I got hold of a cd of dance remixes of Glass music.
it was great. and blessed by Glass I was surprised to find out.

@ManchuCandidate: Talk about your grand slams.


Tip the veal. I gotta get some work done. Justice denied, etc.

@RomeGirl: Excellent. Part of what I’m looking for early on is the dramatic structure — I think we can get a proper three acts out of this, although I’m not yet sure where they slice.

Toward that end, we need to identify the Significant Scenes, which is where your suggestions help. My hunch is that (per Benedick) we start with the Kristol Cruise, and end (picking up on your suggestion) with Sarah delivering the concession speech she was denied in real life.

And that’s where “Don’t Cry for Me” fits in.

Note that because of dramatic requirements, we don’t necessarily need to stick to facts on the ground. Moments can be merged and simplified as required.

“Don’t Cry For Me, Alaska?”

@nojo: I’d also like to see Bristol do a Celebrity Skin rewrite, perhaps before that speech where she and Levi are in the balcony looking marital.

I love the Don’t Cry For Me as the lost concession speech. Although DCFM could be her debut speech, and Hear The People could be her concession speech, done really defeatist and cringe-y, which would then give rise to her post-election stuff.

Act One is before the election. Act Two is the election. No need for an Act Three unless it is some kind of complete Whatever Happened to Baby Jane breakdown.

@nojo: Definitely John Adams if we’re going for full grand opera. Sarah in the Real America? One of my favorite songs of all time is I Am The Wife Of Mao Tse-Tung from Nixon in China.

complete Whatever Happened to Baby Jane breakdown.

what would it have been like if Jane could have tweeted?

I think we should include zombies. cant go wrong with zombies. perhaps an invasion from Russia that she see from her house and gives early warning.

can you tell I make video games?

@RomeGirl: I’m thinking Act Two is the convention and immediate aftermath — including the Couric and Gibson interviews. Act Three (which can be short) is the campaign, with everything going downhill fast.

Or maybe Act Three opens with the interviews — Act Two ends on an ominous note that they’ve been scheduled.

Act One needs to build up the story, climaxing with the announcement of her selection. It needs to have an Everything’s Coming Up Roses feel, all good news.

The debut speech has to be a showstopper, a big production number as the crowds begin to love her. Seventy-Six Trombones and all that.

@nojo: Did I say Seventy-Six Trombones? I meant Trouble in River City…

@nojo: The end of Act One has to end on a high note in musicals. It should be a number surrounding her accepting the nomination.

Then, Act Two always opens strong – either a large number with Dennehy singing Who Are You, with a chorus of members of the press doing the whoooooooareyou part. Then Bristol’s Celebrity Skin. Then Sarah’s big speech. I think it has to be Hear The People Sing, with the chorus being sycophantic fans in front of the podium, played straight and anthemic. We can do it again at the end, ala Sir Weber, in dissonant tones with a real Natural Bork Killers’ sitcom scene feel to it – showing how ugly and hateful her followers really are.

@RomeGirl: Lost Concession Speech is indeed tricky — it has to be a powerful song, especially since it’s a downer. Gotta send the audience out with strong feelings.

Mood? Something like Nowadays.

@RomeGirl: You got it, Annie vet: The acceptance (Friday before the Convention in the real-life timeline) is the Act One closer.

Act Two then indeed opens with Mucho Scurrying — not only Who Are You, but news of Bristol breaking. Big complicated piece, people shouting from every direction. Everything seems to be falling apart (we’ll pick up on some other storylines here), and then Sarah steps forward with the boffo nomination speech. As the applause dies down, we hear offstage something like “I’ve got Couric and Gibson scheduled!” Curtain.

t should, you know, roughly follow the theme of Going Rogue.

First act, the Krystol cruise, McCain’s desperate hail mary, poor vetting, half-hidden fired state troopers and meth-dealing relatives in the background while McCain’s vetters blunder around singing “See No Evil,” and the Palin’s sing a song about their big chance finally come, they get a chance to grab the brass ring of big graft. I think this final song should be called “I’ve Finally Got My Chance to go Rogue.”

Second Act: Thrust into the Spotlight, the grafting shopping spree song, but then, dark forces conspiring against her, evil liberals, and McCain’s campaign people do a number together, each with their “These Rubes,” comments and noses in the air. Ends wth the Couric Interview, the interview is reenacted but between actual questions and answers, Palin sings her explanations for why it was unfair and she was simply misunderstood and unfairly pilloried by the liberal elites out to get her.

Third Act, Palin Triumphant, as she finds her role race-baiting and violently inciting scary mobs, and this is presented as the nation’s last hope against the dark threat of Socialist Nazi Obama. Election night, she sings what she would have said in her concession speach, which again is about how its all someone else’s fault, “If only they’d let me be me,” then a sad post-election time, then finally, the last song and scene, kinda like GWTW and the “I’ll never be hungry again,” Sarah comes to see what she must do, she will prevail by quitting her job, and leading america against the evil death panels and muslimic false president. Ends with triumphant quitting scene.

Here are some must, must song titles:

“You Betcha,”
Give em a Wink
Those Lying Liberal Elites
The Runaway Rogue Maverick Also
They’re All Out To Get Me (lots of chances to use her cliches in this one)
Stop Making Stuff Up
“I See Russia” (is there something this would work with from The Sound of Music?)
The Media’s Alive, With The Sound of Liberals
Don’t Cry For Me Alaska (this will be her resignation speach)

I see the shopping scene as a major dance number, the Palin family flinging fancy clothing everywhere, for a title, something like

“Do you have those in silk?”
Or maybe, more critical,

Snowbilly Shopping Spree (its not on me!)

Set loose in Neiman-Marcus
with someone else’s american express
this black card has no limit
and they told me “get a dress,”
But Todd’s old undies are chafing,
and Tripp and chainsaw look like shit,
blah blah blah
I deserve me this Snowbilly shopping spree.

As the governor of Alaska
I learned to grab and grasp and grift
blah blah blah
The liberals try to blame me
they don’t understand, I’m entitled, you see
For all I do for the people of Amurrica,
And our freedoms, and the kids overseas, also
I deserve this snowbilly shopping spree,
this looks nice, I think I’ll take three,
I deserve this snowbilly shopping spree,
because its all about me, me meeeeeeee!

Third Act


“Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of retard fools!
It is the music of a people
Who need charts to tie their shoes!
When the pounding of your heart,
Echoes the rubbing of your thighs,
Send some cash and march along
When tomorrow comes!”

@nojo: Wait, so that means an Act Three then. I think it should open with Kirstie Alley as Katie Couric/Cheshire Cat, in a tree even. Oh, and we’ll need casting for Charlie Gibson – how about Jeff Goldblum?

Can’t resist:

Interview: “All of Them” ” (I read them all – Le Monde, Germond. Jonathan Alter, I never falter. Keith Olbermann – he’s one of them. Washington Post, with my toast. New York Times, all the time. Newsweek, makes my knees weak. {8th notes ascending }And I have a {quarter notes descending} special feeling for Chris Matthews . . . *wink* )

Election night speech denied: “What I Would Have Said” : (It was all in my head . . .speaking from the heart . . . everyone was wrong. . . I had to sing my song . . . We can all be free, if you’ll follow me . . . My eyes are shining bright, gazing on America’s might . . . I was right, but they gave up the fight. Our future is now dark as night. )”

Finale: “Goin’ Rouge”


“Memories! Like the corners of my mind,
Misty, Gubernatorial Memorieeeeessss,
Of the way, I were…”

@redmanlaw: Goin’ Rogue done to Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’mmm, goin’ rogue
OH IIIIIIII”M goin’ rogue!


LOL. That would be a rough wedding night, sweetheart. We could play Barbies, I guess.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:
I just got a surprise “inheritance” of a bunch of silver. gravy boat and chafing dish included. no idea what the hell I am going to do with it.
but you can borrow it if you like.

@RomeGirl: I think in movie terms, so yeah, there’s an Act Three — although the actual production need not be constructed with two intermissions. But the story really lends itself to ascent-plateau-descent, with the convention as the centerpiece.

And yes, I can see Goldblum with glasses ominously hanging down his nose.

@Promnight: Wonderfully meaty, and of course “You Betcha!” has to be one of the major songs. Might even be the song — the Big Nomination Production Number, complete with audience callbacks.

It has a great structure — she opens the speech a little nervous (it’s her big moment), then as she gains confidence, blows the roof off the house.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: @Capt Howdy: Hahahahah love you both! (Capt Howdy for the silver he’s obviously giving to us for the registry.) And I love a Barbie-inspired honeymoon. Everyone’s invited.

@RomeGirl: I think Act One should set the stage, as it were, shifting between scenes depicting a frantic McCain campaign trying to come to a decision on a running mate and some “before they were famous” scenes of Sarah in Alaska. She could have a wonderful introductory song (I lean toward an original score, both music and lyrics) in which she depicts herself as just the salt of the earth, something like Just a Simple Hockey Mom, where the lyrics creepily reveal her unbridled ambition. Act One culminates with the announcement at the convention.

Act Two follows the story of the campaign. Significant Scenes must include the Kristol Cruise, the Couric interview (cue: I Can See Russia and All of Them! I Read All of Them!), and the shopping spree. Act Two culminates with the VP debate.

Act Three is the frantic last few days before the election, the election itself, and as Nojo said, the concession speech she wasn’t allowed to give. You’re Not Gonna Have Sarah To Kick Around Anymore, something along those lines, giving her a chance to lyrically foreshadow the resignation and transition to cashing in on teabagger hysteria.

@Pedonator: The songs write themselves, once you decide what the message of the song is to be, because all you have to do is quote her, she speaks in random 4 word memorized chunks that she cuts and pastes together, you just take her building blocks and re-arrange them.

Would it be bad taste to have a song titled “How can you be so mean to Trig,” which consists of her holding a press conference holding trig, and whenever she gets a challenging question, holding Trig up as a shield, and singing a couplet that always ends with “how can you be so mean to Trig?”

@Pedonator: I made some notes last night, with an opening song entitled “When Will My Ship Come In?” Same purpose — get that ambition expressed out of the gate.

Significant Scenes: Jeez, there are a lot of them, aren’t there? This story is just stuffed with Iconic Moments, which is what makes a musical so inevitable.

“I see Russia!
I see Russia!
I see Russia from out-side my Door!
I see Russia, for that’s what a governor, is for!
(lalala la, la la la, la la, LA)

Who’s that pretty pol on the TV there?
(What TV where?)
Who can that attractive MILF be?
(Which one where who?)
Such a vapid face, still I’ll win this race, everybody look at

@Promnight: The songs write themselves, once you decide what the message of the song is to be

Precisely. For development purposes, references to existing songs are good to capture the mood. But if we can get the themes down, we’re in very good shape.

@Capt Howdy: I like the idea of zombies, if we’re going to make it a fantasia and not just an interpretation of real events. A zombie hoedown interlude might work well for the convention scene.

@Promnight, @nojo: I see many of us independently thought along some of the same lines when it comes to titles for original songs.

This is the brainstorming stage anyway, so reference to well-known songs is great, as Nojo says, to capture the mood. But there really is an opportunity here for the right lyricist to harvest from the fertile furrows, so to speak, of Sarah’s own public record.

Will no-one consider my idea of Mario Lopez in a jockstrap? I have a Master’s Degree in Theatre Arts, dammit, and speaking as a man of letters I can tell you that the mark of any good musical is how many Latinos in jockstraps are present at any given time. Dance belts, even better.

like I said, you cant go wrong with zombies. perhaps “Palin” could do a turn at the convention as zombie Reagan in an homage to Streeps amazing Rabbi performance in Angels in America.

I should probably shut up. I am hopelessly stupid about musical theater which surprises most people. I think it, like hating shopping, has to do with my deficient homo gene.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: During the press conferences, the liberal media devils arrayed against her will be dressed like a gay pride parade, interspersed with dirtie hippies, marxists, and all manner of depravity, so yes, there will be plenty of room for latinos in jockstraps.

“It will be like a combination of Evita and Springtime for Hitler,” isn’t that the usual way one brainstorms?

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Of course we must find a place for Mario Lopez in a jockstrap. That’s all I’m going to be thinking about for the next two hours while pretending to pay attention during a software configuration meeting. THANK YOU TOMMMCATT!

@Pedonator: I’m very partial to a zombie hoedown, but that may be one of our babies we have to kill.

Oh — gotta run, but I just flashed on getting Bob Barker to play Joe Biden for the debate scene.

I really think you kids are missing the boat here by not giving Piper a strong secondary role.

She is her mother’s crutch. During the campaign and now during the bus tour. You can’t think it ends there.

She could have a song — “But What About The Children?” — where she, at different points in each act, alternately sings about missing so much school, never being sure where she’s going to sleep at night, being responsible for the full-time care of Trig at the age of seven, and — the big one — not being allowed onstage for the concession speech.

How could any musical not include Piper, in response to Palin’s request to pray with her before the debate, telling her mother that would be cheating?

@karen marie:

I say we go with a strong Piper viewpoint, and I also say that she should be played by Charles Busch.

@Capt Howdy:

True, and a horrible disadvantage. How can you have buttsexx if you don’t know who wrote the book for Applause?

And the Drive-By Truckers as the citizens of Wasilla!

@Pedonator: I just flashed on getting Bob Barker to play Joe Biden

I owe you a blowjob.

@karen marie: True, the Trig Gag doesn’t really play on stage. And since Bristol is caught up in the Young Lovers storyline, we do need someone representing The Kids.

So there’s a role for Piper, especially since she’s the baby pictured in the Alaskan anti-abortion poster. (And in the book, doesn’t think much of it.) Perhaps a Voice of Reason, as you suggest, to contrast with Kristol.

Peter Marshall is available I think

@nojo: Perhaps Piper could lead a kids chorus in “It’s a Hard-knock Life.”

@Mistress Cynica:
would “It’s a Hard-knocked Up Life.” be trying to hard?

@Mistress Cynica: I like that. Especially if it can segue into Bristol meeting Levi.

@Capt Howdy:

Better as “It’s a Knocked-Up Life, for me!”, don’t you think?

please. Levis Playgirl shoot. perhaps silhouetted on a backdrop with looong shadows.

@Capt Howdy: It’s beyond the scope of our story, but perhaps we can allude to it in the number where Bristol’s pregnancy is announced by the RNC.


definitely seem part of the descent part of ascent-plateau-descent

or perhaps ascent-plateau-crashandburn

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: I’ll let others do the research, but meantime I see a remake of Equus with moose instead of horses.


HA! Equus with Bullwinkle the moose, you mean. THAT’S entertainment.


why are all the mooses (meese) blind Levi?

@Capt Howdy:

“Hay Rocky, watch me pull my eyeballs out of this hat!”

Clearly our Sequel is in motion.

@Capt Howdy:

It has to be the right shade of Immigrant, though Radcliffe is toothsome enough to appeal.

I’m detecting a certain amount of, shall we say, levity about this thread which I must confess I find shocking. As if the making of a musical could somehow be considered fun. Musical theatre is the realm of struggle, grief, and madness. Its place in the great forward march of humanity comes somewhere after the cure for cancer but before the cure for male pattern baldness. It is not a place for sissies or the faint of heart. No musical can be considered complete without at least one breakdown; the leading lady, say, pissing on the floor during notes (true) and the entire cast being in tears at some point.

A word of warning: do not let anyone in NYC know that you have even considered 3 acts as being acceptable. This goes for cab drivers, dog walkers and the maitre d’ at Orso’s. Indeed, the server at the 45th street McDonalds. The reaction will not be pretty. A musical is constructed in 2 acts. That is how God intended it and so it must be. Any other construction will expose you to scorn on the IRT.

And all you dear sweet funny people with your dear sweet touching ideas for songs! What you don’t factor in is that you will be working with musicians. They are immune to reason or logic. You can talk to them about story but they only hear horns and the strings in counterpoint going wee-wee-wee-wee-wee!

In case you don’t believe what I tell you from my heart as I sit here dodging calls from a composer I’m working with, here’s an example: why is La Cage aux Folles regarded with scorn by those in the know? (and no, Catt, it’s not because Americans can’t pronounce the title) Because the Really Big Song (and it is a doozy. The kind of song makes you sell your children for the opportunity to sing) The Best of Times is Now (BTW, I adore Jerry Hermann) is sung by a Minor Character Who Never Appears Again!!!!!!!!

Uh huh. I said it.

So. Be brave. Be careful. Do not cross the queens. They will cut you dead at Joe Allen’s. If you think the Kabuki is a world unto itself you have not spent a day at the 42nd street studios.

I tremble for you all.

@Benedick: And if we can’t go rogue with a three-act structure, what are we doing?

But like I say, present it two if you must. The first act merely has to end with the Friday acceptance, the second beginning with Convention Hubbub. If the “third” act is our dirty secret for purposes of plotting, I can live with it.

Proposed pact: Anyone who wins tha Powerball this weekend kicks in a little to set Benny up in residence on this thing.

@Benedick: Or if we have to end the first act on the convention speech — the pinnacle of Sarah’s glory — and devote the second act to the campaign, well, I can live with that. But it’s too early to be looking over our shoulders.

@redmanlaw: It’s either that or sleep with the investors.

@Benedick: You can talk to them about story but they only hear horns and the strings in counterpoint going wee-wee-wee-wee-wee!

As long as it puts butts in seats, I’m game.

@nojo:We don’t do rogue. This is a musical.

When Moses brought the commandments down from Malibu he had a second set. 1st: If your opening number is strong enough (think Paint Your Wagon from show of same name) you can coast for 20 mins. This is not like the ‘Law’. You cannot ‘muddle through’ doing deals with prosecutors and random perps. There are rules and they are immutable. Tenors are not to be trusted. Everybody loves Michele Pawk (especially me). The latest Sonheimery is not as good as the one before. Jerome Kern wrote dum dum dum-dum. Oscar Hammerstein wrote Old man ribber. Dat ol’ man ribber. Nothing you write will ever be as good as Gypsy. Lyricists are treacherous. Never touch a chorus boy even though he is sitting astride a chair facing you wearing nothing but a dance belt. His boyfriend is a Gotti. If the women of the chorus are dancing in 4 inch heels and have to walk backwards up and down stairs to ease the strain on their hamstrings they are not going to take kindly to the costume designer’s boyfriend who has been hired as make-up consultant teling them that they need to do something about the bags under their eyes.

Just a few random thoughts.

@Benedick: Understood. See Addendum in the Saturday-morning musical update.

I’m spending my Friday night in an airport waiting for my delayed flight and I just scared everyone with my screeching. I’m so sorry I missed this thread.

/wonders of wonders, they’re going to start boarding the flight. Will catch up when I’m home with a big martini! xoxo

@nojo: Doesn’t JoeDaPlumber (David Morse, original of “St Elsewhere”, more recently of “House”) deserve a number or three in the final act?

@Benedick: I’m detecting a certain amount of, shall we say, levity about this thread which I must confess I find shocking. …priceless.

@Nabisco: How could we have forgotten Joe the Plumber? If David Morse (first choice, I agree completely) isn’t available, Chris Meloni might lend that role a sinister edge…or maybe Ron Eldard if you want to stay with that masculine yet somewhat wounded-by-life vibe.

I really think my next career will be casting agent. Is there an online diploma factory for that?

@Nabisco: I’m surprised Joe hasn’t come up yet. (Or perhaps he has — I haven’t thoroughly reviewed everything yet.)

Then again, he’s a creation of a McCain debate, although he reflects on our story. I’m not sure he’s a major character for us (discipline!), but I can see him turning up in a medley — perhaps someone who responds to The Wink during the Palin debate.

(Comparison: the NYC solo in Annie, later given to a grown-up Andrea McArdle as a cameo.)

(Benedick’s right. I know too much.)


Something along the lines of “Mr. Cellophane” in Chicago.

And he should be played by a dirty butt plug. For the verisimilitude.

@Pedonator: Well see, now you’re just confusing things. You say Meloni, I insist Todd.

@Pedonator: I think you’d do well to cast Rosanne Barr as Joe the Wife Beater. She’d look great with her head shaved and would be a very convincing JTWB. She could play the role topless with a huge swastika drawn on her torso from her neck to her gut.


@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Ooooooooohhh.

Besides my reference to Nowadays above, I’ve been thinking about Chicago. Are they still stunt-casting it? Because Sarah would make a great lead.

@nojo: See, this is where we could spin a scene with a Divine reference, having Talibunny take a shit on Barr’s JTWB’s face on the bus in a sort of sacramental scene.

@FlyingChainSaw: Not a bad idea…not a bad idea at all…

@nojo: Meloni could be a good choice for Todd. He’d have to gain a few pounds and tone down the sexual charisma, of course. But he’s already proven himself in comedies. As always, the refrain: can he sing?

And if we’re talking about stunt casting, and if this is still somehow a John Waters production, maybe Patty Hearst could play Piper?

I have to confess I’m becoming concerned. Has noje done a deal behind our backs? Is this to be the Saturday news dump? Is Lord Webber on board?

[Act One. Curtain Opens. Sarah is revealed, jogging through a Matanuska Valley cabbage patch: 40lb. cabbage heads interplanted with towering sticks of Thunderfuck-strain marijuana.]

Opening Aria: I Could Be A Contender!

…I’m just a hockey mom
who happens to be Governor
of this great state, Alaska!

I clawed my way to such heights
pulled myself UP! by the bootstraps
from city council to mayor of Wasilla!

But such a slow pace, such a sleepy town
is Juneau
There’s something much bigger waiting for me
I just know!

I could be a contender!
I belong on a national stage
I could be a contender!
I know I would be all the rage!

I could be a contender!
I know how to read a good speech
I could be a contender!
They don’t know har far I can reach!

Y’all have to help me here, or hire a professional. I’m not a lyricist, though I can be treacherous if I’m backed into a corner.

@Benedick: How long does the above-average musical theater piece spend in development hell? I think we need this ready by summer 2012.

Also, may I suggest La Jolla Playhouse as the opening venue? They have a decent track record.

@Pedonator: 15 to 35 years. La Jolla is totes fab. Let’s send them the script. They might read it in under 4 years.

@Pedonator: @Benedick: If La Jolla’s unavailable, I know the owner of a coffeehouse wayyyyy down Adams.

@Benedick: No deals. Although now that you mention it, I do have a very tenuous connection to Will Ferrell.

@Pedonator: Fair warning: I wrote tomorrow’s post before your suggestion.

@nojo: No worries, as Prommie said, this shit almost writes itself. Serendipity is probably inevitable.

Anyway, theater is a collaborative effort. Cue scathing schooling from Benedick! Though I doubt he has much reverence for a producer’s or, god forbid, a director’s autist auteur vision.

@nojo: I know which coffeehouse you write of, I think. There are at least two now on or near Adams, and there used to be one on Cortez Hill (I wonder if it’s still there?).

@Pedonator: It’s not collaborative. It’s all about the words. No such thing as an auteur director in the theatre. If only more directors knew how to do their job. Likewise producers.

@Pedonator: No, just one in my case — Kensington, across from a Sbux and next to a park. Owner used to manage a coffeehouse in PB.

Not really a performing space, though — the Luna would be better, but I don’t know anyone there. There’s also a good room next to the Remote Office, but I don’t think the Twiggsies are allowed to use it at night, because the upstairs tenants complain.

[Spoken interlude with Bristol and Levi. In front of a mobile home loosely fastened to the spongey tundra near Talkeetna.]

Bristol: Levi, are you sure we’re alone?

Levi: Of course we’re alone, darlin’.

B: But what about your mother?

L: She’s busy cooking meth. She won’t bother us none!

B: I have something to tell you, Levi.

L: Well spit it out girl!

B: You’re gonna be a Daddy,

L: No! No! No! Are you joshing Brii?

(He looks apprehensively but lovingly into her eyes…)

L: Really? I’m gonna be a Daddy?

[Cue intro to Levi’s intro song Gonna Be A Daddy]

…Was just looking forward
To hunting season
Kicking back with my buds
Drinking some suds
Out in the woods…

But Bristol you’ve made me
So happy a boy
I couldn’t be more ready
So bring on the spawn!

(Turning to the audience, bare chest thrust forward:)

Just like the salmon in the rivers
My girl is ready to spawn
Sometimes it gives me the shivers
How will we tell her Mom?

But oh so good it is to be a Daddy!
Todd has to give me some respect
Soon we’ll be camping
In the Governor’s mansion
And all the other boys will genuflect!

@Pedonator: Now we have something to follow the Palin Kids doing the Lonely Goatherd. (Suprise twist: they’re the ones on strings!)

@nojo: I know exactly which place you mean. Thought you rolled with a Twiggs? Unless SD Coffee is now part of the burgeoning Twiggs empire?

@Benedick: It’s all about the words.

Is there no room for interpretation? Choices to be made for emotive inflection? Who makes those choices?

The writer? Is Theatah that different from the other forms of performance?

And, if the Words are Law, why would we ever appreciate tolerate variations of interpretation of, for instance, the Goldberg Variations?

@Pedonator: Twiggs on Park is the Remote Office (in case Fox stalker producers ever want to find me), but the gal I know owns Kensington Cafe. I think Silent Creative Partner and I are supposed to do a website for her one of these days.

@Pedonator: You’re only allowed to fuck with Shakespeare.

@Pedonator: No. Yes. Mozart. Call me.

Emotive inflection is not the issue. The actor asks itself: What am I doing?

@nojo: Ah, I understand now. And if the Fox stalkers ever come a knockin’ I hope you don’t turn them down (provided remuneration of course). I would love to see you as a regular guest on the Glenn Beck show. I would watch it for that. You would make him cry so hard, so often.

@Pedonator: Well, unlike Benedick’s BFF Harry Shearer (who was on Not-Keef tonight), I don’t know that I’m sharp enough to play live. But I wouldn’t mind acting befuddled for a stalker producer, and if I actually did a remote for the Beckster, I’d probably just sit there, smirk, and enjoy the show.

The trick — which nobody seems to learn — is to not try to win the argument. Speak when spoken to, keep calm, and let the idiot present the performance they pay him for.

@Benedick: I bow to your superior understanding of the machinations of theater. Sincerely.


@nojo: I suspect Shakespeare was just begging to be fucked with.

@Pedonator: All those young boys doing girl roles. In tights.

[Mall of America. Curtain opens on Sarah, escorted by Todd and Norm Coleman in the clothing section of Nordstrom.]

Todd: This place has some nice underwear!

Sarah: Honey, go for the good stuff, I’ve got a black plastic ticket in my hand and I intend to use it! Look at those silk boxers over there…

Norm: Todd, let me show you how to put your best foot forward.

(Cue intro to shopping spree montage song It’s Good To Go Shopping.)

It’s so good to go shopping when others are paying
They have such nice things here
It’s not like the stores back home in Alaska
I’m sure we can find something here

Todd needs a new set of underwear
One for each day of the week
Meanwhile I’ll look at the pantsuits
That bitch Hillary’s gonna weep!

Oh it’s so good to go shopping
When others are paying your way
I’ve got a beautiful feeling
I’ll find something in my size

I like the feel of these silk boxers
Sarah will surely think so
Someday we’ll get them in cashmere
Then maybe she will swallow

Shopping is such a good feeling
When you don’t pay for yourself
I’m gonna get a new outfit
Tailor it to fit
And if the campaign contributors complain
They can suck it!

@nojo: If only Glenn Beck would sell vials of his tears I would buy them as Xmas presents for so many people I know. He’s really missing out on an opportunity there. So unlike him.

@Pedonator: And Norm Coleman would, of course, be played by Al Franken.

@Pedonator: That sounds like a frothy Act Two opener. Lots of hubbub. RomeGirl sez we need hubbub there.

@Pedonator: Y’know, the reason I have a widescreen TV is so we can haul it around for Silent Creative Partner’s stage show. (He plays live, his “band” — also him — plays on video “via satellite”.) So if we actually nudge this to the point of a coffeehouse performance, I have the means to provide backdrops.

Plus a music track, if it comes to it. I know a couple of local composers, but I’m not sure their styles lend themselves to musical theater. (Unless you want Bad Rock Opera…) But we won’t get ahead of ourselves.

@nojo: RomeGirl sez right.

As for structure, I think we could easily collapse a brief Act Three into Act Two; nobody would care, except Benedick. I think I was confusing grand opera with comic opera with musical theater with just plain theater. With movies, of course.

@nojo: Does the story not lend itself to Bad Rock Opera? Not that that is what we’re trying to create here, of course.

And of course I use “of course” too frequently here, because of course the nature of the comments just follow of course-ly. I will stop that now, if I can.

@nojo: I want to ask about Silent Creative Partner, who He is, where He performs, etc. But of course I know the first rule of Stinque is that you don’t ask about Stinque.

@Pedonator: But it’s been suggested we need Bad CW. I don’t think the composers I know can stretch that far.

@Pedonator: You’ll see in the Morning Blather that I start out wedded to a solid movie Three-Act, then switch gears in an Addendum to Benedick’s Inviolable Two-Act. So Act One ends with the Nomination Speech, and Act Two begins (perhaps) with the Shopping Spree — which is a better curtain-raiser than the debate prep I suggest.

And although I’ve spend much of the day getting used to it, I don’t think we need to sneak in a secret third act. Instead of Ascent-Plateau-Descent (movies), we have Ascent-Descent — straight up to the Speech, then straight down to the Concession.

This may actually help plotting as well: Build-build-build, destroy-destroy-destroy. We can get to the Friday announcement quicker than I thought, dwell a bit on Pregger Monday and such when it looks like her candidacy may fall apart before it happens, then a triumphant Speech overcoming obstacles at the curtain.

Once we reach a certain point in the story, it’s just a matter of sorting index cards to get the proper dramatic order of iconic events. So my own attention right now is thinking through how the first few scenes set the stage.

@Pedonator: He’s in Tahoe right now, so we haven’t been able to put together any shows lately. (We’re tossing around ideas about animation, but it’s very early.)

But since my own privacy is an illustion (check the domain!), here’s a vid we did a few years back.

@nojo: Is that somehow a nod to Khaled’s Aisha? Not his best work, he was way more funky years ago, but I do love me some Khaled.

@nojo: Also, um, I’m not sure how to respond to that video. It was so gay.

@Pedonator: It’s an early ’90s song by Another Bad Creation, a kid group overseen by Michael Bivins. (Chris plays live covers during the show itself, from his own backing tracks — he plays guitar, bass and drums, the multitalented bastard.)

The video itself is entirely Chris’s concept, although if the camera moves, I’m holding it. (My other job is to stitch all the Chris’s together.) Sooner or later we’re going to do ABC’s other hit, “Playground.”

@Pedonator: Chris used to be afraid to walk around Hillcrest, for fear of being assaulted. And Benedick thinks I’m latent…

@nojo: OK, sounds good…you go, grrl?

Not to denigrate Chris’ talent in any way. There’s something there, definitely. I’m just not sure it’s being deployed in the right direction.

OK, now I’ve watched it again and read some of the YouTube comments. This is one of those things that, for me, is so close to something I would accept as real, not having any concept of how seriously or not White Rap is accepted, other than Eminem or such…it’s disconcerting.

Because at face value, I might think it’s kinda real, but then I can’t accept it…somewhat disturbing. I think that’s a compliment.

@Pedonator: Well, it works best if you’re familiar with the original. And played live, at the close of a show, it kills.

@nojo: OK. I think I want to see that show. Just to be sure of my own feelings. Because I’m really confused, y’know?

@Pedonator: The premise of the show is that he’s the lead singer and guitarist for a band that can’t stand performing together, but has to pay the bills. So while he’s live on stage, two other Chris’s (bass and drums) play “live via satellite” from Vegas, and the other two (rhythm and keyboard) play via satellite from Austin.

The covers themselves? Standard ’80s and ’90s pop. There’s more hip hop in the Iesha video than in the show.

We also have some 2001-style “satellite connection” graphics to spice up the videos. We play it straight, but we don’t play it serious. Yet inevitably, someone asks how we get the satellites to work. I blame alcohol.

@nojo: OK, I think I kinda get it.

Meanwhile, I feel bad for linking to the least funky Khaled song I know. So here’s some much better stuff: Didi, Ne M’en Voulez Pas, Alech Taadi.

Not a rai expert by any means, anyway I like his more modern dance-y stuff, some of it is beyond anything you can find in the Western World. Check it out, peeps.

@Pedonator: Nothing really to get — he just likes being silly. I, on the other hand, am dry as toast. Makes an interesting combination.

@nojo: OK, I think I want to meet Chris. In a Biblical manner. I don’t have cats, and I can appreciate his dry humor. Tell him that for me. But he needs to be ok with my doggy (who has never, ever peed on the bed).

@Pedonator: I should also mention that he’s a kick-ass film director and editor, with one of the best visual imaginations of anyone I’ve known. If we had a proper dolly, crane, and steadicam, we could really get the shots he wants (and storyboards clearly). Short of that, we cheat where we can.

The humor has its audience, although folks here may not share a taste for it. Chris likes Adam Sandler; I like Adam Sandler when he’s not trying to be funny.

@Pedonator: I’m sure he’s okay with the doggy. But I’m not sure his girlfriend would be okay with you…

(And just to be clear — it’s a long-running gag — he’s quite comfy with getting attention from both sides of the aisle. But he can only return the favor to the laydeez.)

Oh, I forgot to mention my contribution to the cat movie

7/8’s in: Three-foot-long end credits. We needed something under the music.

(ADD: Looks like I have a cameo in Reel 2 as well…)

@nojo: OK, if the girlfriend can just look the other way, so can I.

But seriously, he could be Todd in the musical, with a bit of ageing make-up artistry. Crucial question: can he ride a snowmobile? While singing, and firing shots at errant polar bears?

@Pedonator: Actually, I see him as more of a Levi. If we’re desperate for a Todd — a tall, silent type — I’d have to recommend myself.

@Pedonator: I think you could have a subplot in which Todd falls in love with a polar bear and Talibunny discovers his bestial bent and has to try to woo him back while she is campaigning.

@FlyingChainSaw: But only after the polar bear has its way with Todd. That is not negotiable.

@nojo: Just work on that five-o-clock shadow and you’re there. Grrr.

@FlyingChainSaw: Does it matter, what with the claws and 2-ton weight advantage? I think either way Todd ends up fucked in that scenario.

@nojo: OK, maybe you want to reconsider the role of Todd.

Can we have a scene where the polar bears rise up in rebellion?

When I lived in Anchorage 25 years ago, it was a regular occurrence for moose to invade the city and stomp on automobiles, setting off alarms and causing all sorts of mayhem.

Okay, aside from my reminder not to forget JoeDa, I’ve really had to hold back on this. As soon as I mentioned David Morse I got covered in an avalanche of male actor types of whom I know nothing. “Chicago”, to me, is either a windy city or a band from the 70s.

However, this as well as RomeGirl’s insistence to loop Pete Townshend’s prodigious writing skills into this show, obliges me to suggest that “1951/What About the Boy?” (from “Tommy”) be considered thusly:


Gotta feeling 2008 is gonna be a good year,
Especially if you and me see it out together.

(Bill Kristol)

So you think that O-8 is gonna be a good year.
We’ll marry forces and see it out together.


I have no reason to be over-optimistic,
But somehow when you smile (Ed: just consider B Kristol’s smile) i can brave Alaska weather.
What about the ‘tard?
What about the ‘tard?
What about the ‘tard, will they find his papers after all?

(Kristol )

You didn’t hear it, you didn’t see it!
You won’t say nothin’ to no one,
Ever in your life.
You never heard it.
How absurd it all seems, without any proof!

I don’t think this thing can skate without pulling some of the sexual confusion and artistry that Pete plowed into both Tommy and Quadrophenia. For your consideration…

Apparently the Sandy Eggo Bureau never sleeps….

@Nabisco: So whoever is cast as Kristol needs a shit-eating grin.

@Pedonator: We can always mix some moose and polar bears in the crowd for the opening scene.

@SanFranLefty: Inspiration doesn’t punch a clock.

@nojo: So whoever is cast as Kristol needs a shit-eating grin.

Billy Crystal

@Nabisco: That makes me feel so bad, it must be good.

@Nabisco: Would Jim Carrey accept a supporting role at this point in his career?

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