I guess I should have realized a long time ago that there really, truly are no new ideas. None. Zero. If nothing else, the impending arrival of Hairspray on the big screen, again, should have been my final hint. (To recap: It was a John Waters cult independent movie, became a big Broadway hit musical and finally turned into a major studio release complete with Disney-ready cast.) But, now, I may have finally gotten the picture as the new Desperately Seeking Susan musical unveiled its cast and new production details yesterday.
As Karman already reported, the project was announced back in December. The musical will preview Oct. 12 and open Nov. 15 at London’s Novello Theatre with hopes of moving on to Broadway. Emma Williams [pictured above, right] will play streetwise Susan (originally played by Madonna) and Kelly Price [left] will be bored New Jersey housewife Roberta (played by Rosanna Arquette some 20 years before she Cherie Jaffe-ed her way into Shane’s bed and heart).
As if defiantly trying to disprove my “No New Ideas” theory, the producers have given the production a twist. The adaptation of Madonna’s debut film will feature classic hits by Blondie and a new song from Debbie Harry. I suppose they switched singers because the Material Girl wouldn’t “Get Into the Groove” with producers (I mean, they had to have asked, right?). But it’s still perplexing that the 1985 movie so associated with Madge — heck, it cemented her iconic look and super stardom — will instead feature such Blondie smashes as “Heart Of Glass,” “One Way Or Another,” “The Tide Is High” and “Atomic.” I mean, that’s like going to the new Broadway production of Xanadu and instead of hearing Olivia-Newton John’s “Dancin’” and “Magic,” getting Linda Ronstadt’s “It’s So Easy” and “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” It’s just, well, wrong.
The musical will still be set in the hot pink– and black lace–loving ’80s. Producer Susan Gallin told the Washington Post that the stage show’s plot should closely follow the film’s madcap tale of romance, amnesia and switched identities:
Sure, that’s all fine and good. But I’m pretty sure the lives they were really meant to have included some music by Madonna. Shouldn’t everyone’s?