Audiences at the National Alliance for Musical Theater conference in fall 1999 went wild for a two-person show called The Big Bang, about a couple of musical comedy writers trying to raise dough for a show about the history of the universe, from creation to the year 2000.
Set in a borrowed Park Avenue apartment, the work only required two people, one set and one piano, and producers attending the annual NAMT conference nudged each other and saw how inexpensive it was to produce - and how perfect it would be for a staging in New York.
That New Yorky premise (seen only in a bare-bones reading by its authors, composer Jed Feuer and lyricist-librettist Boyd Graham) becomes a promise when producers Eric Krebs and Nancy Nagel Gibbs mount The Big Bang at Off-Broadway's Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, beginning Feb. 15 and officially opening March 1. The run is open-ended.
Feuer and Graham play themselves, in effect, desperately pitching a show to potential investors. The pair, in real life, penned the 1992 Off Broadway musical, Eating Raoul, which has seen stagings around the world, from Munich to Los Angeles.
Graham directs The Big Bang, which offers such song titles as "Free Food and Frontal Nudity" (a song for Adam and Eve), "Pyramid," "Wake Up, Caesar," "A New World" (for Columbus and Queen Isabella), "We're Gonna Fly" (for the Wright brothers) and more. The show within the show follows, roughly, the history of Western civilization. Designers are Edward T. Gianfrancesco (set), Basil De Maurier (costumes), James Vermeulen (lighting) and Ray Schilke (sound).
Standbys for the authors are Kevin Del Aguila (Boyd) and David Benoit (Jed). Albert Ahronheim is the musical director.
Producer Krebs runs Off-Broadway's Douglas Fairbanks and John Houseman theatres. Among his many producing credits are Electra, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, bash and This is Our Youth.
The Big Bang tickets are $30-$45. The Douglas Fairbanks is at 432 W. 42nd St. Call (212) 239-6200 for information.
-- By Kenneth Jones