Come this fall, New Yorkers will get a taste of the craze that swept L.A. this past winter. As reported by Theatrical Index, Reefer Madness, the campy satire of America's "war" on drugs, may see an Off-Broadway mounting in autumn, courtesy of producers James L. Nederlander and Verna Harrah.
The comedy lit up the West Coast, winning five Ovation Awards, including Ensemble and Best Musical in a Small Theatre; and seven L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards, including outstanding production (a tie with Interact's The Cherry Orchard), Musical Score, Lead Performance (for Christian Campbell) and Choreography.
Reefer Madness is based on a 1936 drama that was meant as a cautionary tale to keep young people away from marijuana. Over the years, the movie's exaggerated acting, ham-fisted dialogue, one-sided viewpoint and medically questionable storyline turned it into a cult favorite of grade-Z movie lovers -- not to mention potheads, who'd line up for midnight showings and watch the flick through a vale of smoke and a pile of munchies.
Seeing the comic potential in musicalizing the material were Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, who collaborated on the book, with Studney composing the tunes and Murphy providing the lyrics. According to Theatrical Index, Paula Abdul has been tapped as choreographer for the upcoming Gotham mounting, man. -- By David Lefkowitz
and Willard Manus