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However, nobody quite remembers how they decided on 11-year-old Ralph Carter (who is black) to replace 23-year-old Geer (who is white).
June 20, 2010 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Dude. Articles on the failed musical Dude by Hair cocreator Gerome Ragni. Where to start? Well, there is this summary of the disaster by the New York Times, which is just mind-boggling: "He also made demands, phoning Adela Holzer at 2 A.M. to say he wanted a hundred butterflies let loose into the audience before each performance. No? Well then what about having a couple of oinking pigs and chickens run down the aisle at intermission?"

But how was the show? Here are some reviews:

-- We forced ourselves to listen for the new humor and we heard: "The house that Shakespeare built must have been some erection.", "Get down there off your asteroid", "Did you ever see a whole bunch of human organisms playing the organ with their organs?"

-- Dude unravels a numbingly incomprehensible allegory ranging from the dawn to creation to the limbo of suburbia, or something like that. Galt MacDermot's rock score is a wall of inchoate sound, and Tom O'Horgan stage-manages this debacle like a mass epileptic convulsion.

-- This show, by the co-author and composer of Hair, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot, was a stupid mess, a fake "multi-media" idiocy that suppurated gruesomely on the ramps, catwalks, causeways, columns, trapezes, trapdoors, and waterholes of the rebuilt broadway theater. It's the first time I ever felt sorry for a theater.
posted by Astro Zombie (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hadn't heard of this; until I read the synopsis I was terrified this was a story about someone trying to make a musical version of The Big Lebowski.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on June 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was terrified this was a story about someone trying to make a musical version of The Big Lebowski.

I dunno, I'd enjoy seeing a big production number to the song "Forget The Fucking Toe."
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude.
posted by Flashman at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2010


I dunno, I'd enjoy seeing a big production number to the song "Forget The Fucking Toe."

Please, dear? (you ought to know!)...For your informAAAAtion....The Supreme Court (SCOTUS!) has roundly rejected prior restrAAAAIIIINNNTTT! (It's a legal term for censorship!)
posted by rollbiz at 9:03 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's Nell Carter singing country. How bad could it be?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was a great read. Thanks. I went to the Wiki page hoping to see a happy final act. We'll probably have to change that part in the screenplay.

And, I suppose we should be grateful he wasn't using NEA money.
posted by Trochanter at 10:16 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of the many reasons I want a time machine, one of the biggest is so I can go back and see legendary Broadway flops like this. It sounds amazing. We still get terrible musicals, but I think the time has ended where we could get something as magnificently wrong headed as this.
posted by Ruby Stevens at 10:48 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I should point out that Ruby was the one to uncover this gem, and it was her Tweets about it that caused me to write this FPP.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:52 AM on June 20, 2010


A time machine to go back and see legendary Broadway flops.

Now THAT'S a money maker.
posted by Trochanter at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2010


Now you've got me thinking about how great it would be to go back in time to see great theatre moments.

Gielgud and Olivier did a "Romeo and Juliet" where they switched playing Mercutio and Romeo on alternate nights. God, I'd love to see that.
posted by Trochanter at 11:09 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having just graduated with a generally useless MFA in Fine Arts, I've spent the last few days trying to figure out how to eek out a living again. I've been trying to decide whether to attempt return to my earlier career in the theatre or instead pursue work in interactive/graphic design. This post came at a rather coincidental moment, particularly because I was just at a very rag-tag local performance of a new musical where I sat next to James Rado (Gerome Ragni's "Hair" co-creator, who had lent some input into the production).

My immediate reaction after reading these reviews was that I wish I could have worked on as gloriously a tanking mess as "Dude". The stories and experiences that come out of the bad productions are so much more interesting than the successful shows. Makes me miss the theatre world intensely.
posted by stagewhisper at 11:11 AM on June 20, 2010


Carrie is another legendary Broadway flop, which is a shame. What's a better idea for a musical, really, especially in these times?

A few days ago, I found a link to Ed Gein: the Musical. I'm very open to musicals on dark subjects, but . . . all I can say is, I question the wisdom of a big link reading "Order Gein Wear."
posted by Countess Elena at 11:24 AM on June 20, 2010


I think the time has ended where we could get something as magnificently wrong headed as this.
posted by grumblebee at 11:30 AM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know, man. With a bunch of Cirque de Soleil type stuff, live Spidey could be fun.
posted by Trochanter at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2010


Oh, WOW.
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on June 20, 2010


The full final paragraph from the Time Magazine review makes me want to see it, just to be able to witness such a total calamity:
This theatrical decade of short cuts is perfectly epitomized by Dude, a bulging trash basket of a musical, and an open declaration of total aesthetic bankruptcy. It combines the worst of Hair with the worst of jesus Christ Superstar - a void-plumbing feat. Dude unravels a numbingly incomprehensible allegory ranging from the dawn to creation to the limbo of suburbia, or something like that. Galt MacDermot's rock score is a wall of inchoate sound, and Tom O'Horgan stage-manages this debacle like a mass epileptic convulsion. This time around, more is being buried then the $700,000 production cost, and taps will not be sounded.

posted by zarq at 12:33 PM on June 20, 2010


If only you could be certain that a show would flop and close immediately, you could get more investment than it takes to actually produce the show and make a killing...
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


awesome. thanks for posting!
posted by ms.jones at 1:03 PM on June 20, 2010


Sweet!
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:46 PM on June 20, 2010


Video or it didn't happen.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:31 PM on June 20, 2010


Dude, where's the book?
posted by Splunge at 4:15 PM on June 20, 2010


Dude wasn't frozen until two nights before opening (from the NYT article)

That's insane--just insane.
posted by librarylis at 8:17 PM on June 20, 2010


If anyone is really interested in a detailed Broadway flops, I highly recommend the book Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum (cited in the Wikipedia article). It's excellent, though I did have to paper over the cover (Carrie drenched in blood) for subway reading.

I spent the past year heading up an archival project in the home of one of the greatest musical comedy writers ever, and through all of it the weirdest piece of memorabilia I found was a program for Via Galactica, a similarly (and possibly even less comprehensible) failed musical also with music by Galt McDermot (one of the first musicals to lose more than a million dollars and the second total flop for McDermot in five weeks), signed by Fred Astaire. I have less than no idea why Astaire would have wanted his name associated with this show, though he was likely just at the opening. Of course, at a certain point having seen these massive flops becomes a major badge of honour for us theatre nerds; as Frank Rich puts it in his review of the legendarily bad flop play, "from now on, there will always be two groups of theatergoers in this world: those who have seen Moose Murders, and those who have not."

In any case, I can't decide whether I'd rather have a totally ludicrous original musical on Broadway, or a competent by-the-numbers retread of another movie. I'm tempted to go with the former; at least a thrilling crash isn't stagnant.
posted by ilana at 11:24 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"from now on, there will always be two groups of theatergoers in this world: those who have seen Moose Murders, and those who have not."

How bizarre. I had never heard of this play before, and have now heard something about it twice in two days.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:11 AM on June 21, 2010


What, not one single Producers analogy/joke?
posted by Davenhill at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2010


What, not one single Producers analogy/joke?

Nope, not a one...
posted by FatherDagon at 12:03 PM on June 21, 2010


Does this have anyting to do with Lady GaGa?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2010


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