Fictional musicals from TV shows that we totally wish were on Broadway IRL
Let me be real with you: I spent an entire day in July hypnotized by Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. As I watched the jazz hands drama unfold in front of, and behind the curtain, at Camp Firewood’s production of Electro/City, I began to think of all TV’s great hypothetical musicals and how great they would be fully realized on Broadway.
Sometimes as is the case with Buffy, The Simpsons and Scrubs, these shows give the people what they want and create an entire episode in song, but I am talking more about the shows within the shows. Those plot point musicals that you you hear just a few lyrics of, or sometimes several songs from, but the ideas are often brilliant. While I realize that writers use these ridiculous musicals for comedic effect or to fill in a frame story, I’m left with the feeling of potential.
I can’t be alone in this. Why else would the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia perform their running joke of a musical, The Nightman Commeth to sold-out crowds? Or why else would the dream team of Nicolas Cage and Nickelback be turning the conceptual insanity that is Con Air: The Musical into a reality. (TV freaks may remember 30 Rock‘s Jenna Maroney starring in this very premise.) These two examples prove that stranger leaps from screen to stage have happened. As they should!
So with all that in mind, here’s my wish list of made-for-TV musicals that I wish would become actual productions. Consider this an open letter to the folks on the Great White Way; these musicals are what the people (or at least I) want to see.
1. Electro/City (Wet Hot American Summer: The First Day of Camp)
This fever dream of a camp performance seems like an obvious choice. Even though I could never quite figure out the plot of this Xanadu-esque theater production choreographed by Amy Poehler’s type-A Susie, I was completely intrigued. Whenever I can see Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black hopping around in an oversized two-man zoot suit, I am 100% on board.
2. Thomas Edison! (Bob’s Burgers)
The Belcher family has a lot of memorable musical moments, but when Gene and Tina band together to help Louise stick it to her Edison-obsessed teacher, musical magic happens. As a science fair project, they write a musical based on the overlooked story of Topsy, an elephant used in Edison’s early current experiments. After seeing this darkly hysterical concept, I couldn’t stop singing “They’ll say ‘aww Topsy’ at my autopsy . . .” From Tina’s homemade elephant costume to the unexpected interspecies love story, it would be a Tony contender for sure.
3. Snow White and the Seven Dorks (Saved By the Bell)
Most people remember this episode as being the one where Jessie and Zack kissed, but I remember it for the killer rap jams. No hip hop aficionado can knock Lisa’s on-the-nose rendition of “Mirror, Mirror from the Mall.” Also, it finally let the stereotypical nerds from class take center stage.
4. Rochelle! Rochelle! (Seinfeld)
The concept of Rochelle! Rochelle! is “a young woman’s erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.” It goes from being a running gag movie in season 4, to a Broadway adaptation in the season 6 episode “The Understudy.” Because the fictional show’s star Bette Midler was injured by Jerry in a controversial charity softball game, the viewers are forced to see Jerry’s girlfriend take over the role. However, from her hospital bed, Bette does belt out the title tune, giving us a taste of all the Rochelle! Rochelle! possibilities. Two words: Lyrical Fireworks. Anytime the Divine Miss M has her hand in something, I’m inclined to buy a ticket.
5. Freud! (Friends)
In the same vein as the Thomas Edison musical, Friends put their resident actor, Joey Tribbiani, in a Broadway show all about one person: Sigmund Freud. Even though the viewers only hear a tiny snippet from this flop, you can tell by the reaction of the other Friends that the production, and Joey’s clumsy box stepping are pretty cringe-worthy. The whole 30 seconds was so intriguingly terrible that I wanted to hear the rest of the show (or at least the rest of the song!)
6. Stephanie Tanner: She’s Dancing (Full House)
Remember that episode of Full House where Stephanie becomes a dance phenom and then immediately regrets her decision to take it full throttle, so she attempts to sabotage her troupe’s performance of Motown Philly? Yeah, how could you forget? Well, crammed somewhere in that indecision phase, Danny and Stephanie have an over-the-top glitzy Broadway dream sequence. In it, the Tanner family, including a quite preggo Aunt Becky, don white tuxedos and do an elaborate homage to America’s favorite put upon middle child. Oh, and did I mention there’s a high jump? Where can I buy tickets?
Which ones would you add to this list?
[Images via YouTube]