It's July 4, 1976 and the greatest party of the 20th Century begins at the opening of The Hercules, billed in its PR as "the strongest building in the world." Only there's a small problem...the strongest building is just a little too heavy for the earth's crust, causing it to race Down! Down! Down!. Then there's only, as the subtitle says, Thirty Second To Hell.
With tunes penned by Clark Gesner, composer of last year's revival, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and a script by Garet Scott, Down! Down! Down! begins performances at the Grove Street Playhouse Nov. 3, opening Nov. 6. Kevin Thomsen (creator of MTV's "Spy Groove") directs.
Set as a 70's disaster flick, Down! Down! Down! follows the heroics of manly party planner and self-taught earth scientist Steve Smith, whose amibition in life is to so alter his profession that "boys across America can say, 'Dad, I want to be a party planner' without their fathers taking a swing at them." His fondue party for the Hercules (a "Disco Fun-do") is staffed by the likes of Hula, the Welsh bartendress with a secret; Serita de Lord, the cocktail waitress who likes a good cocktail; and Henri, the fondue chef who craves the other white meat.
Gesner wrote the book, music and lyrics to Charlie Brown as well as musical revue of his works, The Jello is Always Red. He and Scott collaborated on both Off-Off-Broadway movie parodies, Bongo Fever! (island movies) and A Town Called Shame (westerns). Scott is working on her second MTV animated pilot, "Bitch From Hell."
Starring are Celia Gentry (Serita de Lord), Brooks Braselman (Hula), David R. Gordon (Steve Smith), Justin Christopher (Ricky), John Sama (Dexter Baxter), Lisa Trader (Tracy Hopkins), Soren Oliver (Henri), Jack Garrett (Cheese Man) and Lee Kirkpatrick (Cheese Wife). Tickets are $12 and available by calling (212) 539-2614. The Grove Street Playhouse is located at 39 Grove Street.
-- By Christine Ehren