Music to my ears it’s not

If you like big, brassy Broadway musicals, boy is this the season for you. Lighting up the Great White Way (or the Chicago equivalent) this fall will be “Shrek,” “Spider-Man,” the “Addams Family” and – no wait, “Spider-Man”? I’m trying to imagine a bus full of blue-haired matinee ladies leaving the theater humming songs from “Spider-Man,” and it’s not working. Are the Ramones even involved?

I must have been out of town the day the memo came out directing that every movie ever made had to be turned into a Broadway musical. “The Producers,” “Fame,” “Footloose,” “The Full Monty,” “Billy Elliot,” “Legally Blonde,” “The Lion King,” and “The Little Mermaid” are just a few of the Broadway musicals “inspired” by the movies. No doubt, at this very moment, someone is writing rousing numbers for “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Juno,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Julie and Julia.” Can the all singing, all-dancing “Pirates of the Caribbean,” based on the movie that was based on the Disney theme park ride be far behind?

Even though I only paid $10 for the movie ticket, I can hardly wait to pay a $125 to see the musical based on the movie. Unless I get it from a legal scalper, in which case I will get to pay two or three times that much. Still, there are probably only 10 or 20 movies a year that I want to see performed with a high-kicking chorus line and skimpy, sexy costumes. After Broadway producers run out of movies to scavenge, they’ll have to move on to greener pastures.

I remember there was a fad a few years ago that whenever you opened a fortune cookie after a meal of Chinese take-out, you would add the words “in bed” to the end of the fortune.

“Concern yourself more with others than yourself,” the fortune might read. Then someone would giggle, “In bed.”

“Look for the good in the worst and you will find it.” “In bed.” It always spiced up the lamest, most obtuse fortunes. It sure beat saying, “What does that mean? That’s not a fortune, it’s an aphorism. Give me another cookie.” By the way, if you’re still adding “in bed” to your fortunes, quit it. It stopped being a fad in early 1987.

It’s time we start a new fad. I suggest we add the phrase “the Musical!” to every book, every movie, every CD, every store name you see. Like refrigerator magnet poetry, it works its Broadway magic almost every time. Don’t forget the exclamation point!

Most Popular Ringtones: the Musical! Glenn Beck: the Musical! CSI: the Musical! Beer Pong: the Musical! Dr. Phil: the Musical! No Country for Old Men: the Musical! Shopping at Target: the Musical! Dexter: the Musical! I’m a Mac and You’re a PC: the Musical! Facebook: the Musical! 60 Minutes: the Musical! Texas Hold’em: The Musical, The Nutty Professor: the Musical! Whoops! Can’t use that one, somebody’s really doing that.

Borrowing from previous works for musicals is a long tradition; “West Side Story” is, after all, “Romeo and Juliet” set to music, “My Fair Lady” is the musical of Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” “Show Boat” is based on the Edna Ferber book and “Les Mis” is from the Victor Hugo tome. But of all the possible books, plays and movies in the entire world to turn into a musical, would you have picked “The Nutty Professor”? Over “Eraserhead” and “Con Air”?

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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