Ed. Note: Please welcome Douglas Miller to Big Hollywood and encourage him to return. — JN
In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is lashed to the mast so that he can hear for himself the Siren’s song, which lures men to their deaths on the rocks. I had to be lashed to my chair to watch the 65th Tony awards and, as I feared, despite the ginned up hoopla, Broadway is on the rocks!
The Broadway Musical is America’s gift to the world. In its Golden Age – the 1940s to the early 1960s – the creation of the Musical was raised to a fine art; from Oklahoma to My Fair Lady, the Musical reached its zenith. But then the Sixties took hold, along with its Progressive agenda, and the downward spiral began. The always prescient Ayn Rand foresaw the enshrining of mediocrity as a means to control the hearts and minds of the public in the person of arts critic Ellsworth Monkton Toohey, who aimed to create a society that would be “an average drawn upon zeroes.” This is Broadway today: the sum total of zeroes.
Since the onset of the Obama regime, the Great White Way has become the Great White-Guilt Way, with racism redux and the red nail polished talons of the GLAAD-iators bared reflexively at the imagined ignorant and the homophobic. J’accuse! Come to the theatre and pay $195 to feel bad about being an American. When John Kander was asked about the relevance of his latest musical, The Scottsboro Boys, a minstrel-style retelling of the 1931 trial of nine teenaged blacks accused falsely of rape, he snapped, “Of course it’s relevant. America is still a racist country!” He said this despite the fact that America had just voted in a black president.
Is it a coincidence that when Rocco Landesman, producer and president of the Jujamson Theatre group since 1987, was selected to head up the National Endowment of the Arts in 2009, Broadway joined the nexus of Washington, DC, Hollywood and the Main Street Media in promoting a pro-gay, Anti-American left wing agenda? Since Obama and his crew came to power, the planned assault on the hearts and minds of the theatre-going public has been inescapable. Gone are the lighthearted musicals that were the staples of Broadway; enter the era of pandering to the politics of special interests. A list of the shows that have been produced on Broadway since 2008 says it all:
BILLIE ELLIOT: A musical with a Socialist/Gay message. The score is by gay icon Elton John and features a big production number featuring a cross-dressing 12-year-old boy who sings of the joyous freedom of dressing as a girl. The number climaxes with the gay 12-year-old giving a full on the lips kiss to the title character. This show is aimed at kids. Margaret Thatcher is demonized in this show in the persona of a giant, looming marionette clutching at a chorus of striking miners.
HAIR: The iconic anti-war musical from the Sixties was dredged up again with a cast of squeaky clean “hippies” regurgitating the tired, and incoherent, deconstructionist bilge that connected with an earlier generation in free fall. This musical fulfills the baby boomers’ desire to recreate their glory days.
YANK: A play about a gay GI love affair in WWII. This was produced at the same time that DC was deciding about gays in the military and the future of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
MEMPHIS: A rock musical about racism and rock ‘n’ roll in early 1950s Tennessee. Yet another white-guilt orgy in which an illiterate DJ rises to prominence through the promotion of black music on his radio and TV show despite the furor of the racist southern whites. This show is a barrage of clichés followed by the kitchen sink, with a score that is about as reminiscent of early fifties rock ‘n’ roll as Lawrence Welk was of progressive jazz. This show won the 2010 Tony Award for best original score; however, it was the only original score that was nominated for a Tony Award that year.
SCOTTSBORO BOYS: A musical about nine African American teenagers who, in 1931, were falsely accused of raping two white girls. This embarrassing attempt to dredge up the past sins of Jim Crowe was presented as a Minstrel Show of all things; the Interlocutor was, of course, a white man. This show opened and closed off-Broadway, was transferred to the Guthrie Theatre in Indianapolis, and then opened on Broadway for the 2011 season. It opened and closed in a blink of an eye, but was nominated for 12 Tony Awards.
NEXT TO NORMAL: A turgid rock musical about a mother with worsening bipolar disorder who talks to her dead son (he committed suicide) while ignoring her husband and daughter. This exercise in angst plays to the Left’s continuous assault on the strength of the family; attacking the idea of family unity has long been an objective of both Communists and Progressives, and this brain numbing rock melodrama served the cause so well it was awarded Pulitzer and Drama Desk Awards.
THE BOOK OF MORMON: This slick, potty mouth attack on the Mormon Church and Christianity, not to mention ridiculing tribal Africans, is the critics’ favorite this year. It has been hailed as an old fashioned musical; it is no such thing. I do not recall an old fashioned musical that revels in gutter language and a continuous assault on decency. I don’t recall any of the past masters writing lyrics like, “F**CK GOD/ F**CK HIM IN THE ASS/F**CK HIM IN THE C*NT/ F**CK HIM IN EYE” Of course, the real motivation behind this foulmouthed show is to attack and ridicule the Mormon Church because of its refusal to recognize gay marriage. Politically charged organizations like GLAAD are obsessed with attacking the Mormon Church and this is a particularly offensive example of their obsession. And of course, the Mormon boys in this diatribe are closet gays. Set in an AIDS ridden African village, the critics swooned over the “sparkling wit” of The Book of Mormon. Well, if having an AIDS infected villager running around yelling he wants to rape a baby to cure his disease and another complaining that his scrotum has maggots is the height of wit, then the Algonquin Round Table was just a nattering kaffeeklatsch.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg that sunk Broadway. I heard of two extremely talented writers who were told by a Broadway producer that, “your work is brilliant, but you won’t get it produced in the present climate’;” the present climate meaning, their work did not conform to current low standards and prevailing politically correct content. As if any more proof of the incursion of Progressivism on Broadway is required, then consider this: on the 23rd of June, the Broadway musical Sister Act will be hosting a political fundraiser for Barack Obama. The price of admission will be $250 for the Mezzanine, $1,000 for orchestra, and $10,000 for tickets and a photo with Obama. Of course, all these examples could be brushed off as circumstantial; but, as a Southern friend of mine observed, a thousand flies don’t lie!
I am barely skimming the surface in this article; I would have to write a book to encompass the tendentious, stifling climate of Broadway. A climate in which straight men have to remove their wedding rings when auditioning and writers have to dumb down their work and lean to the left if they want to get produced. As the infamous Ellsworth Toohey opined: “Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men. Don’t deny conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept – and you stop the impetus to effort in men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection . . . Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity – and the shrines are razed.”
Ellsworth Toohey has won and the lights have gone out on Broadway.