This has nothing to do with the "Tape Recorder"
collection we're putting out, but so what?
I CAME TO MUSICAL THEATRE by David Yazbek
Something you should know that goes a long way towards explaining
my work and my refreshingly abrasive personality, is that I was
what used to be known in 18th century Europe as a "Wild Child",
a human infant raised by wild animals and trained to survive in
My foster family was a small pod of Loggerhead sea-turtles (caretta
caretta) who adopted me after I was sort-of-pushed off the side
of a whale-watching boat by both my parents at the same time. I
have vague yet pleasant memories of learning the Ways of the Deep
sheltered beneath a canopy of sargassum, my Turtlemommy's horny
beak gently prodding me towards appropriate drifts of protein-rich
krill and the odd jellyfish. Sometimes, when I feel very lonely
or when I meet a critic in person, I think of Turtlemommy and wonder
what her advice to me would be. I think she would say "David,
you have to be strong to avoid weakness." This is what my first
two albums are all about.
Soon I reached puberty and started dating but man, it's hard to
find the "honey-spot" on a female loggerhead. I came to
realize that I needed to be with my own kind so I swam to a cruise
ship where I was picked up and put to work as a chorus-boy in the
ship's production of "The Boyfriend". Well, needless to
say, I caught "The Bug" and I was well on my way to becoming
"Broadway's Famous Guy Named David Yazbek™".
But before I could reach that Pope-like position, I had to do something
that some call "Paying Dues". Others call it "Giving
Lots of Blowjobs" but that kind of vulgar honesty has no place
in my world of Theatre with Music and Comedy all Together with Singing
I like to say that I feel deeply that Musical Theatre is the greatest
form of expression I know. I think that this is because the people
involved in it are bossy and I'm afraid to disappoint them. They
are loud and yell at me with very sibilant "s" sounds
which hurt my ears and make me jumpy. But I love them nevertheless
because they send me chocolates and heavy glass mementos on opening
nights and gifts that are clever puns on whatever show it is. I
have a sterling silver goblet that is inscribed "May All Your
Montys Be Full!" It still makes me laugh.
THE FULL MONTY
After recording a series of dozen-selling rock albums, I burst upon
the Broadway scene with the smash-hit Tony-losing comedy "The
Full Monty". What a year! I bought a Civic, met Weird Al Yankovic,
ate out a lot, had my foreskin reattached, learned how to macrame,
invented a portable lazer-death-ray, fell in love with crack, joined
the 700 Club and, most importantly, discovered free internet porno.
Also, I released my album "Damascus" which Jon Pareles,
in the New York Times, called "Almost 42 minutes long".
But it wasn't until that magical moment when two of the three original
waitresses from the TV series "Alice" came to see my show
at the same time that I knew I was truly, irrevocably, a major fixture
in the glittering, spangled, big-money, marginal world of Broadway!
DIRTY ROTTEN WHATEVER
A year or so into the Broadway run of "Monty" I made the
important decision to utterly neglect my wife and child and begin
work on a new show-- a piece of work that would teach the world
to open it's heart and sing aloud of hope and faith and pay a hundred
dollars plus a one dollar theatre service charge and whatever Tickmaster
gets. The problem was-- what would the show be?
The answer came in the form of a dream, a nightmare really, in which
a drunken, naked Carmen Electra swung upside-down on a giant Twizzler
suspended over my bed while whistling the theme-music from "Lou
Dobb's Moneyline". I woke up drenched in sweat but giggling
like a schoolgirl. My wife, a light sleeper, hit me very hard with
her great- sounding Bose clock/radio and threw me out of the bedroom.
I snuggled up on the living room couch and turned on the TV hoping
for the kind of relaxing programming that Showtime sometimes offers
late at night with girls in genie-outfits touching each other vigorously
but I happened onto a little something called "Dirty Rotten
Scoundrels" starring a little someone named Steve Martin and
a little someone named Michael Caine. I instantly knew I had found
my next project.
THE END (?)
Well, it didn't take me long to write, direct, choreograph and produce
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels the Musical using twelve-million of the
dollars I earned on "Monty" and on the "1-800-USA-LOAN"
jingle I wrote. I was also slated to play the part of Lawrence but
I tore a ligament in my ass and the role went to Lithgow.
So what's it like to be referred to constantly as "The Verdi
of Rockland County" and "King-God of the American Musical
Theatre" and the "Future of Broadway and Smiter of All
That Is Unholy" and "Fudgie-Pants McGraw" ? Well,
it feels good. Damn good.
Because when I look around at the audience in the Imperial Theatre
on a sparkling Thursday night, and I see the smiles on their weathered,
sun-beaten faces and I hear their hoarse, tortured laughs and the
brittle sound of their leathery, wrinkled, calloused farmers' hands,
I know that I've given these salt-of-the-earth Americans a true
gift-- a solid hour and a half of pure musical theatre joy.
Unfortunately, the show is almost 3 hours long.