Friday, October 28, 2005

I Take Back Anything Nice I Said About Garry Marshall

"Happy Days Musical To Spin in 2006 Los Angeles Debut"

"Kicking off 2006 will be the world premiere of Happy Days, a brand new musical which I wrote with Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer/lyricist Paul Williams, with a book based on my successful TV series," boasted [Garry] Marshall in the company's season announcement.

"It's May, 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Fonzie is still the king of cool at his favorite malt shop, Arnold’s," reads show materials. "The school year is coming to an end and the rest of the gang, including Richie, Lori Beth, Potsie and Ralph Malph, are getting ready to graduate from Jefferson High School." The musical "celebration of nostalgia" will feature appearances by Pinky Tuscadero and the Malachi Brothers as well.

This one has been in the works for some years -- I read about it three years ago, when a book had been written but a songwriter hadn't been hired. I'd make fun of the choice of Paul Williams, but actually I think he's kind of talented, so I'll stick to making fun of the above description, which sounds cobbled together from every bad episode of the "Happy Days" series, and seems predicated on the assumption that anybody even wants to see freakin' Lori Beth or Pinky Tuscadero again in any form.

Actually, "Happy Days" wouldn't be bad material for a musical if you based it on the early, good years when Richie was the star. A musical based on the Fonzie-is-God years (and I never tire of reminding people that it was Michael Eisner who suggested making Fonzie the star), which this seems to be, mostly just begs the question of whether it'll be more crass than All Shook Up.

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