Dying to get onto Broadway

January 26, 2009

Not that I’ve ever been a big follower of the hit musical seen, but Broadway has finally gone too far. CBC is reporting that Broadway musical producer James L Nederlander is going to make a new musical based on the Michael Jackson video “Thriller” (which was directed by John Landis way back when). Holy shit. It’s enough to make your jaw hit the floor, and then spur you to go shuffling off without it in search of some brains.

harrysaxon’s the zombie fan around these parts (as a teen, he even had a car nicknamed “Zombo”) so maybe he’s more qualified to comment on this than me, but still… With all the money this producer’s got at his disposal, he couldn’t find something better to base a musical on? Seriously, a Michael Jackson video? I seem to recall SF Signal mentioning a while ago that “Evil Dead” had been made into a stage play, and so be it, it certainly has a strong cult following, but there’s gotta be something out there with more body than “Thriller” to reanimate on Broadway. Isn’t it pretty much all but forgotten except in Hallowe’en music video retrospectives? And I’m not just taking shots at this lumbering pile of celluloid decay because “Thriller” scared the crap outta me when I saw it as a kid, I’m saying this because in the horror genre alone there are probably hundreds of stories, movies, TV shows, whatever that would make a better musical and probably have more staying power than this thing. In fact, in terms of sheer camp value, I’m suddenly in mind of that old Simpsons episode where Troy McClure stars in the stage musical adaptation of “Planet of the Apes” – no zombies and no horror (beyond the realization that they “blew it all up!!!”) but even that would make more entertaining theatre than “Thriller”.

The great names of the stage must be rolling over in their graves.

One comment

  1. Honestly, this whole trend of adapting major works of popular fiction as stage plays is kind of silly. The amount of money and effort that was poured into failures like the Lord of the Rings musical is sad. Broadway attendance is down in general, but the massive success of original productions like Jersey Boys (based on the life of Frankie Valli) shows that there’s a market still.

    This is a particularly bad idea. Thriller is not a story. Dude goes on date to see werewolf movie, walks girl home, dances with some zombies, tells her it’s a dream before revealing he’s really a werewolf. Very high-concept for a 1984 music video, the basis of 2+ hours of high-priced entertainment… not so much.

    Speaking of zombies, though, I just finished Max Brooks’s “World War Z” and I was absolutely shocked at what a fine piece of fiction it was. I would highly recommend it to all spec. fiction fans, not just zombiephiles; he wisely keeps the gore the genre is famous for to a minimum and instead spins incredibly well-researched allegories for global and local disaster reaction. Think I might write up a review when my sinuses finally drain.

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