"The Worst"
April 20, 2008 9:17 PM   Subscribe

The Worst Flop in Broadway History? First staged in 1983 for only one night, Moose Murders (wiki) is legendary as the flop-of-flops in Broadway history--and is now being revived for its kitsch value.

From the NYT piece:

...Critics described “Moose Murders” as “titanically bad” and “indescribably bad,” a play that “would insult the intelligence of an audience consisting entirely of amoebas” (Brendan Gill, The New Yorker), that looked as it were staged by “a blind director repeatedly kicked in the groin” (John Simon, New York magazine)....

Years later, Frank Rich, who was then the theater critic for The New York Times, would call it “the worst play I’ve ever seen on a Broadway stage.” (Mr. Rich’s writings about “Moose Murders” have become such a part of its lore that a recent production of the play in Manila credited Mr. Rich with having written the play.)...


Lately, the play has been revived in unlikely places. What makes the play so bad? Perhaps this....

The mysterious moose character was a woman dressed in black holding an inflatable deer head emblazoned with the Miller High Life logo. Sidney Holloway, the mummified quadriplegic, was played by a mannequin, whose head rolled off during the first act.

...is some indication?
posted by ornate insect (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's a shame they couldn't get Lorenzo St. DuBois to play the moose.

At least they didn't have to worry about paying back all those old ladies, though.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:42 PM on April 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm always surprised at the diversity and experience of the Metafilter crowd, so I fully expect one of the next few comments to start out with "I've seen this, and..."
posted by DreamerFi at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


DreamerFi--I was hoping for that too, although the Times article mentions that The number of people who claim to have seen the show, at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, seems to have multiplied beyond physical possibility, like those who claim to have seen the Beatles at Shea Stadium or Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
posted by ornate insect at 9:59 PM on April 20, 2008


The musical version of Stephen King's Carrie can also lay legitimate claim to infamy as the worst show ever. Awful as Moose Murders may have been, it lacked a pig-slaughtering ballet entirely, let alone one scored by the composers of Footloose and choreographed by Debbie Allen.
posted by Epenthesis at 10:17 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a theatre professor in college whose go-to example of the worst play ever staged was--wait for it--The Diary of Anne Frank the Musical.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:42 PM on April 20, 2008


I had a theatre professor in college whose go-to example of the worst play ever staged was--wait for it--The Diary of Anne Frank the Musical.

Reminds me of the infamous movie The Day the Clown Cried, which resembled in some ways "Life Is Beautiful," as this article points out.
posted by ornate insect at 10:50 PM on April 20, 2008


The mysterious moose character was a woman dressed in black holding an inflatable deer head emblazoned with the Miller High Life logo.

Why does that sound fucking brilliant to me?
posted by telstar at 12:22 AM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see someone has already brought up "Carrie: The Musical" which had a longer run (all of five days) but lost over $10 million, making it a larger LOSS than Moose Murders. (If you're tempted by carnage, you can watch the finale of Carrie.)

Anyone really interested in how bad things can get should check out Ken Mandelbaum's book, "Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops."

(Posted on behalf of my Theater grad student partner...)
posted by zeypher at 12:27 AM on April 21, 2008


Rich's original review had stated, referring to the heavily bandaged character Sidney Holloway, "I won't soon forget the spectacle of watching the mummified Sidney rise from his wheelchair to kick an intruder, unaccountably dressed in a moose costume, in the groin."

Paging Nicolas Cage...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:50 AM on April 21, 2008


Cats was such a flop of a flop that it was a success!
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:56 PM on April 21, 2008


Whenever this sort of discussion breaks out, I am compelled to mention Leda Had A Little Swan, by one Mr. Bamber Gascoigne, which was a comedy about bestiality, set in the future when animals were given to adolescents as sexual surrogates to help them through puberty. You can read about it in William Goldman's immortal The Season by doing a search inside at Amazon.
posted by Skot at 3:02 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The Intimate Revue" opened and closed on the same night, March 11 1930; it was a West End production, but it apparently didn' t complete a full performance, since the audience walked out before the show finished and the last few scenes were never staged.
posted by jrochest at 4:54 PM on April 21, 2008


And I have to say that "Moose Murders" sounds considerably better than some things I've sat through at various experimental theatres over the years.
posted by jrochest at 4:55 PM on April 21, 2008


We got the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did we go right?
posted by dhartung at 8:48 PM on April 21, 2008


A moose bit my sister once.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:33 PM on April 21, 2008


« Older Bookmarks Magazine: book reviews periodical   |   Pope Lick Monster - A: “I... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments