ByGary Nelson Fish, writer at
A true believer of art and entertainment. From comics to film, good writing and music, I get down with the fun stuff.
Gary Nelson Fish

Later this year, Fox is going to broadcast another live musical, but it won't be your typical Sound of Music. Instead, it'll be the edgiest live production of a Broadway musical on network television since the inception of the trend. The cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show twisted the idea of your quintessential musical by celebrating androgyny and an open-minded libido. The live event has found its cast leading with Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank N. Furter, as well as Victoria Justice, Christina Milian, Adam Lambert, and the legend himself, Tim Curry, in other notable roles. They are currently rehearsing, but still no mention of an air date.

I would have enjoyed seeing Lady Gaga's take on the role of Frank N. Furter, and Victor Zsasz from Gotham (Anthony Carrigan) as Riff-Raff, but this cast still has plenty of intrigue. It also would be fantastic if these networks continue to take risks on their live performances with more absurd productions. In light of this desire, here are 7 other wacky musicals that should be considered on the heals of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Event.

1. 'Monty Python's Spamalot'

Arguably the greatest comedy film of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, took Broadway by storm back in 2004 with the musical adaptation Monty Python's Spamalot. This run on Broadway had an all star cast and a few members of the original team to produce, so the multi-Tony Award winning Spamalot quickly became a theatrical favorite. As a satire, the script leaves holes for relevant jokes, and constantly roasts the format of a traditional Broadway musical. It is also perfectly acceptable for broad audiences (for the most part) by only pushing the edge of the politically correct envelope. The support of this production would be huge, and it would be interesting to see who they would cast.

2. 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Little Shop of Horrors originally came to the stage back in 1982 from creators Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. This musical is about a man-eating plant convincing a meek little shop owner to commit heinous murderous acts in order to stay fed. The outlandish songs and clever use of puppetry make this one of the strangest and most brilliant productions of all time. The most interesting thing would be how the network would decide to execute Audrey, the giant Venus Mantrap (more or less). Also getting Steve Martin to return as the dentist would be classic.

3. 'Young Frankenstein'

Young Frankenstein found its way to the stage in 2007, strengthening Mel Brooks's ties to Broadway. As a take on the original Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the film parodied the concept of playing God by scientifically creating life. Almost every scene of the movie was absolutely genius, and with additional music by Mel Brooks himself, the Broadway version was a smash hit. I can picture a broadcast of the live performance entirely in black and white, as well as a new take of the classic dance number 'Puttin' on the Ritz.'

4. 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is based on an improvisational play C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E created in 2004. The musical takes an amusing look at a notorious middle school spelling bee with the hilarious use of flashbacks and absurd characters. Since the original production, a few players in the cast have gone on to have relatively successful film careers, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Dan Fogler, but I'm sure they would consider rejoining the cast on television. With only a few changes to the set and costumes throughout the play, this would be play fairly easy to produce for a live broadcast.

5. 'Urinetown'

Urinetown is a full on political satire and directly parodies The Threepenny Opera, The Cradle Will Rock, and Les Misérables within the play. Created in 2001, the musical was adapted from a book by writer Greg Kotis, with music and lyrics from Mark Hollmann. A show about pay-per-use public toilets and the regulation of water quickly became one of the most beloved musicals to ever make it to Broadway. It is not always in the network's best interest, but a live production of Urinetown would certainly make a statement (with the convenience of bathroom breaks).

6. 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'

They are currently working on a Broadway adaptation of classic Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to be ready in 2017. However enthralling this might be, it would be nice to see a live version of the 1971 film classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. With a touching yet biting script, uplifting psychedelic music, and a bizarre set design, this film would lend itself to a highly entertaining stage play adaptation. The biggest dilemma would be trying to find someone to fill the shoes of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, but there are plenty of people I'd like to see try.

7. 'The Producers'

To either end the trend or cause it to skyrocket further, the networks should consider broadcasting The Producers live. This version of the musical could poke fun at itself by making shocking production decisions as a way to outdo themselves. Basically, it's always a smart idea to get Mel Brooks involved since he has the curse of the Midas Touch. It would also be pretty insane to see the celebration of Springtime for Hitler in Germany on national television.

Mainly, it's great to see Fox take a chance on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although that might not be the right way to put it as Rocky has some of the most die hard cult fans in history. Other musicals a little too edgy for network but that also deserve a live broadcast and honorable mention include The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Reefer Madness, and the blood covered Evil Dead The Musical. Maybe other networks will also take a crack at the live format, and we could get high-quality, unfiltered productions on channels such as HBO. Until then, it has been convenient watching high class productions without having to pay the Broadway price.


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