by Kevin Burke. @ke7inburke.
NEW YORK, NY - Mamma Mia! A new jukebox musical is set to open on Broadway in 2024, and unlike many of the genre’s predecessors, it will not feature the music of a well-known performer. Rather, sources close to the production have described it as, “mostly just the cast asking the audience for requests the whole time.”
“I’ve been part of the production for a few weeks now, and that’s literally all it is,” said Janet Davis, who reportedly spent six months as an usher before falling into this job as lead light board operator. “One day during rehearsal, someone on stage asked me what I’ve been listening to lately. I said ‘what? Oh, I don’t know.’ And then they all just looked around awkwardly for a while, so I just said, ‘Poker Face,’ and that’s exactly what they did. Full choreography and everything.”
Creator Michael Reading spoke about the inspiration for his new show (tentatively titled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Writing a Musical) and the early buzz it’s been receiving around town.
“It all came to me a couple of years ago,” said Reading, who recalled his musical’s inception like a dog recalls which fire hydrant he peed on. “I was in a Karaoke Bar in the middle of the first big COVID wave – we should not have been there - but everyone was just singing and coughing and having a good time. I thought to myself, ‘Broadway audiences need a show like this.’ You know, something that people absolutely shouldn’t be going to, and that they’ll honestly regret afterwards, but at the end of the day, there’s a certain infectious quality about it.”
Connor Crosby, who was in the audience for an early test run last week, had a lot to say about the show’s spin on jukebox musicals.
“It’s the most literal interpretation of the phrase ‘jukebox musical',” said Crosby, a professional writer and Broadway critic who wonders what sick twist of fate has led him to wander into a show like this. “It’s just like how people go up to an actual jukebox and can tell it exactly what to play and when to play it, so long as they throw enough money at it.”
When asked whether Crosby thinks the show still has potential for greatness, he earnestly replied, “Sure. If the audience requests a better musical, I suppose they’d have to do it.”