Last night, a couple of thespian friends asked me to produce their new show. It will be a lesbian extravaganza with dancing girls, big broads who know how to have their way with big songs, and maybe even an animal act.
'Can I stomp around the theater and scream about the budget?' I asked. 'Can I smoke cigars and belch loudly and chase the ingenues around their dressing rooms?'
My friends didn't respond immediately. Instead, they held out their hands and tapped their feet impatiently. Only after I dropped a fat wad of cash into their hungry palms did they tell me that, yes, I can behave as badly as I want. After all, I'm the producer. And the producer's only job is to write the checks and bully the artists.
'Finally!' I said to myself, 'a job I'm overly qualified for.' And I ran right out and bought myself a casting couch.
I can't tell you much about the show, because it hasn't been written yet. We plan on doing that over beers tomorrow night at Charmers. But I can tell you this: it's going to be boffo, baby. The can't-miss-sparkletacular of 2005.
Here's how it all started ( it's important to document these things for future theater historians ) : Late last night, Stacy, Desi, and I were sitting on a couch in my living room, staring at four empty wine bottles on the coffee table. Stacy and Desi were telling me about their plans to stage an Elizabethan drama that has something to do with the Jewish/Christian conflict during the Spanish Inquisition.
'Will it have any ABBA tunes in it?' I asked, hopefully.
'No, but it will have the ritualistic torture and killing of a small boy,' said Stacy.
'Well, that sounds like a crowd pleaser,' I said. Like most intellectuals, Stacy and Desi are much more interested in creating art than in making money. Luckily for them, the only art I'm interested in is the etching of Benjamin Franklin's face on the $100 bill.
So, I opened another bottle of wine and laid out my idea for a show. There will be singin' and dancin' and bad jokes. To paraphrase the great producer Mike Todd: My show won't be Shakespeare, but it will be laffs.
Desi and Stacy stared at me over their wineglasses. I could see their big brains wrestling with a major dilemma: should they sacrifice their artistic integrity in order to make a quick buck ( and maybe meet a few showgirls in the process ) ? I reached for my checkbook and flexed it a few times for good measure.
'If we do your stupid show first, can we use the money we make from it to pay for the Inquisition play?' asked Desi, never taking her eyes off my checkbook.
'Figure out a way to introduce a few scantily-clad handmaidens into the plot and turn one of the Jewish characters into a Borsht-belt comic, and you got yourselves a deal,' I said, sticking a pretzel rod in my mouth and puffing it like a cigar.
( If any of you young lovelies out there have acting aspirations, you can find me every night in my regular booth at Trader Vic's, swilling Mai Tais, barking orders into the phone, and making nice with the money men. )