I don’t know about you, but I ‘m recognizing a trend lately.
The linking of the odd, odder, oddest in life,
With the over-abundance of bad, badder, baddest,
you guessed it:
Laugh, laughter, laughtest.
A new musical has just opened over here:
The miracle of Bern.
Extolling the merits of the football team that won something like the first FIFA (world) cup after the war.(1954)
Hey, what do I know? I still call it soccer.
But whatever you call it, the ads now are everywhere:
a stage filled with the dancing populace of a stage-version of a real town,
dancing soccer teams,
Hey, they’ve even got a dog.
You know you can’t go wrong with a musical with a dog in it.
Hey, would, the person who has watched Toto every year since it came out,
well, at least since early childhood,
lie to you?
Or was that a football under his arm?
And then there’s the ambient.
A HUGE super glass and steel dome,
big enough to put the Hamburg harbor to shame.
And the come-on in the papers:
“come to watch the MIRACLE happen,”
Wasn’t there something about oil lamps not going out even though there was no oil,
or fishes that miraculously fed the 5,000-
The second biggest miracle of all?
to keep this one non-secular,
The press is great, greater, greatest,
The ambient is big, bigger, biggest,
And the dog is…
Miraculously Lassie-like in his perfect performance in the role of a football.
So what exactly is the problem?
Well, as I see it…
Musicals have been around for a while.
Like in the depression,
When people needed entertainment,
And a place to eat all that popcorn-
Survival food at the time.
And where you go to eat the seaweed that is slowly replacing it,
At least in California,
I really don’t know.
Perhaps the aquarium?
But the musical of the late twenties, early thirties, wasn’t all fun and games.
There was Showboat, for instance.
Where two people in love,
not of the same race,
found a place for themselves on a showboat-
where people don’t judge one another-
and the middle of a river-
where the societal laws don’t apply.
And with a smart, God-like captain who wishes them well,
And finds a solution.
Heavy stuff for 1927.
And then we had the war-time musicals:
Esther Williams and her swim-suited nixen ladies,
Swimming in perfection unison to form an underwater American flag.
But aside from the novelty stuff,
A sort of huge-vista-ed vaudeville,
The big thing all the musicals from then had,
And huge and dramatic backgrounds.
Oklahoma- war between the cowmen and the farmers,
South Pacific- World War Ii and the race question again.
Hey, even in the sixties, A Chorus Line had monstrous amounts of gold lame and tapping feet.
A struggle of the talented to survive long enough to practice it.
So what happened?
In my opinion, the struggle of the individual first became political-
Starlight Express, about a group of trains that…
Sorry, but I never really understood the plot,
Except that it is political,
And the best song is given to Belle, the sexy sleeping car,
(And if you want to struggle politically, Mr. Lloyd-Webber, why ever did you steal a poem by brilliant, but most say schizophrenic, T.S. Eliot, about Mr. Possum and his book and turn it into a musical about-
With an awful lot of homage to Verdi?)
So, ok, these times are long over-
Or would be if busloads of tourists didn’t keep arriving in London to see Cats,
Which has now prompted the world-wide building of musical domes,
Which brings us back to Bern.
And since I see the writing on the wall for musicals,
ie Wicked, where good is bad and bad is good,
Or the Dance of the Vampire, which, at least in the film was funny,
Or our latest horror creation,
Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria…
So in the spirit of union of helpful noodgers everywhere-
of which I am a genuine, dues paying, but only rarely practicing, member,
Ben and Jerry’s: A Musical In Five Acts
The action takes place in a small village near Woodstock NY,
At the time of the famous Woodstock festival.
The two heroes,
Ben and Jerry,
are contemplating the small farming community,
And discussing what to do with the overabundance of milk that year from all the happy
And as they discuss…the music comes up.
And they burst into song:
The hills are alive, with the sound of music…
The cows are in their barns,
Heads sticking out of the windows,
Rocking to the distant sound of Jimmy Hendricks.
Perhaps they could make those mechanical metal ones like in War Horses,
And walk them around the stage a lot for the audience to admire.
Happy hipppies, in flower-painted VW vans,
“Hey, man, Starshine said you’ve got some good stuff here.”
“Have an ice cream, friend. That’ll be a dollar.”
The happy first factory…
Modern, clean, the workers being paid well,
You get the picture.
The labor unions,
a scandal pumped up by the press,
They fold the place,
set up in South Dakota,
Set up the icemen weather underground,
Pump lots of money into fixing all the problems,
And even more into the next political campaign,
We find them back at the remains of their factory,
Strong, tough, ready to go back to their job.
The first happy cows are brought back in,
The entire cast starts singing
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
copyright Dunnasead 2015