Perfect Team at Work on Musicalizing Men

News   Perfect Team at Work on Musicalizing Men
 
Now that I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change will be beginning its third year at the Westside Theatre on Aug. 1, its producers James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff and Jonathan Pollard have commissioned the creators of that hit -- Jimmy Roberts (music), Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Joel Bishoff (direction) -- to come up with a second stage musical.

Now that I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change will be beginning its third year at the Westside Theatre on Aug. 1, its producers James Hammerstein, Bernie Kukoff and Jonathan Pollard have commissioned the creators of that hit -- Jimmy Roberts (music), Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Joel Bishoff (direction) -- to come up with a second stage musical.

The property they'll be tuning up is the German film, Men, a big art-house hit of 1986.

"It's a very modern love triangle comedy," says DiPietro, "but it's got a little of The Guardsman in it, and it has some of the same issues as I Love You, You're Perfect.

"I felt the plot itself was great, but I thought I could make it funnier. Basically, it's about a middle-class suburban couple who are cheating on each other. He's an advertising executive who comes home one day and finds his wife with her lover, and he follows them home to the lover's East Village loft. The lover is a longhaired bohemian artist who never settled down. Turns out, he needs a roomate so the husband moves in and starts trying to change him."

There are two unusual things about the film Men: One, it was a comedy -- from Germany, which is not famous for comical output. Two, it was directed by a woman, Doris Dorrie, more or less putting her on the map of international filmmakers. Indeed, it brought her to Hollywood, where she managed to get off at least one notoriously weird little movie, Me and Him, starring Griffin Dunne. It was about a man and his penis, and the screenplay was by Warren Leight, who's enjoying great Broadway acclaim for his hit, Sideman. DiPietro has also written a non-musical and expects it'll see the light of Off-Broadway before Men. It's called Over the River and Through the Woods, and it will be directed by Bishoff and produced by the same Perfect trio -- plus Tony Converse, a TV producer who was the play's dramaturg when it was presented at the O'Neill Center three years ago.

"It has had four productions since then -- at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Helen Hayes Theatre up in Nyack and others -- and it's in pretty good shape. It's about four Italian-American grandparents and their grandson trying to understand one another. It's very much about my family so it's very personal. They've seen it. Two grandparents have passed on, and one got to see it right before she died. The other two are alive and around 90. They get a kick out of it because they can see snatches of their lives and they can see who is supposed to be who."

-- By Harry Haun

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