You saw what Mel Brooks did to Hitler, but wait'll you see what Larry Gelbart is doing to Napoleon, emperor of the French.
Gelbart is collaborating on a new comic musical, Napoleon and Josephine, with composer Cy Coleman and lyricist David Zippel. The trio is responsible for the Tony Award winning musical comedy hit, City of Angels.
"No, Larry is not writing a serious history," Cy Coleman told Playbill On-Line. "It's a real fun show. It's got passion and it's very sexy."
Asked about the concept or plot details, Coleman was reticent to reveal too much about the work-in-progress, but said, "It's passionate, it's funny and it opens up with the Marquis de Sade."
The project was born when the writers were asked to pen a splashy Las Vegas show, Coleman said. "We were asked to do one of these shows," he said. "We got a call from this agent and we were thinking about ideas. We spent a lot of time talking and all of a sudden Larry came up with that idea. Time passed by and nothing happened. In my trips to the coast, I talked to Larry and he said, 'That idea is hounding me, I gotta write it.' So David and I sat down and wrote some stuff for it. It'll take time and we're not in any particular rush. We're nudging it forward." Coleman, who juggles a handful of projects at once, said there is producer interest. After The Producers you would think there would be a lot of "producer interest" in the story of a short, bald guy who conquers the world, with a woman on his arm — particularly when it's from the mind of Gelbart, who co wrote A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum and developed "M*A*S*H" for television.
— By Kenneth Jones