I managed to get some free time over the weekend and decided to blow the dust off of the PS3 and play Grand Theft Auto 4. While I was driving through the virtual metropolis of Liberty City, one of the fictionalized advertisements played over the in-game radio advertising a musical entitled, WTF: A Tale of Online Love. The premise behind this musical was a ‘love story’ based on the internet.
Now, anyone who has played GTA or know of Rockstar’s work, would know that this is commentary about how large a part that Internet culture has in our lives as well as the weirder musicals that are shown on Broadway. The premise of a musical based on the internet seems like a stupid idea meant to cash out on a subject matter that is vast and almost impossible to describe. But, I think that it is possible to create an entire musical by not focusing on one particular story line, but rather a series of different stories focusing on several different concepts centralizing around the internet. I will give a few examples later, but let’s talk about the weirder side of Broadway.
Broadway and musicals in general have been known to take a different and strange approach when it comes to the creative process. The more traditional means of creating musicals has been to adopt other forms of media such as books and movies, turning them into musicals. This has been incredibly successful in creating musicals and plays that have captured the hearts and minds of people around the world such as Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables or ‘The Miserable Ones’ (1980) detailing the story of Jean Valjean as he tries to find redemption after twenty years of imprisonment as revolution looms overhead. Though some of the most successful musicals were not based on adaptions, but were created through creative writing such as The Music Man (1957) about Harold Hill, a con man who tricks a town into buying instruments and soon finds himself teaching the children how to play.
But as normal as some Broadway plays seem, there are always a few that makes people question what the playwright was thinking. Some of the better examples would be Cats (1980), Carrie (1988), Urinetown (2001), and many others. Now, I have nothing against Playwrights as a whole. I believe that there are many talented people who are capable of creating productions that leave lasting memories upon the masses, but I have to ask, ‘How did you come up with this?’. One of the more unlikely productions that I have seen personally was the Evil Dead Musical based on Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s Evil Dead Movies. I admit that it was incredibly funny to watch and would love to see it on Broadway. Another weird Broadway production that I have grown to know and love would be the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I originally saw it on VHS when I was young (parents were working a lot and my sister and I had access to the VCR and the vast collection of tapes) and we fell in love with it. It was not before long that we memorized the songs and were doing the Time Warp. Besides, Tim Curry could pull off the black lingerie and pearl necklace.
To go back to how the Internet Musical could work out, I mentioned that it would have to be divided into several different stories rather than one whole story arc. These are some of the ideas for what could be the Internet Musical. Names of the songs in Italics.
- Act One: The Meet Up
- A story about younger man (30’s) wanting to find love through the chat rooms without having any luck. He eventually receives a message from a ‘young woman’ who claims to be barely legal and wants to ‘date him’. The stage is split to show two different rooms; The young man’s office/bedroom on the left, while on the right, an office with three government workers/cops standing around a computer. During the first song(Chat Room Romance), the man sings along side a young woman’s voice at the computer (the woman is never seen) while the government workers type the dialogue on the computer while insulting the man, eventually agreeing on meeting up. The next scene shows the man walking to the door with flowers in hand. The door opens to reveal Chris Hanson (To Catch a Predator), offering him to come in and take a seat while the both of them discuss the conversation between the man and the ‘young woman’ in another song (Take a Seat, Take a Seat, Take a Seat Please!). He is soon arrested by the three government workers/cops from before. Act one ends on the young man reflecting on the conversation in jail while another prisoner proposes romantic relations (In my Cold Cell/A Glass of Toilet Wine).
- Act Two: Lamentation of an Online Gamer
- The stage shows a young man playing World of Warcraft (WOW). He is called from offstage by an older woman to come down to eat dinner. He refuses to do so, wanting to continue to play his game. As he mocks other players (Griefing), he starts to fade in and out of unconsciousness. The stage’s lights dim before showing the young man dressed in ghostly attire standing over his body. He looks at himself, overwhelmed with what he had become and sings a song about what led him to begin playing WOW, how his addiction has taking over his life and the opportunities he let slip by, including social events and a girl willing to be his girlfriend (Lamentations of an Online Gamer). His body is soon discovered by his mother who weeps over the loss of her son to the game (WOW killed my Son). Act two ends with the young man’s funeral that his family, a few friends and cos-players attend, ending with the priest making a bad joke about the young man ‘re-spawning in Heaven’.
- Act Three: The Cam Girl
- Act Three opens to a young woman’s (in her twenties) bedroom as she sits on the colorful bed with a laptop computer sitting in front of her. She starts to sing a song about her alternative line of work and how she rakes in cash without doing much, even to the extent that removing her shirt nets her an easy couple hundred dollars (Confessions of a Cam Girl). She soon hears a ping on her computer that someone has paid her for a private session. From there, she looks at the screen and sees that the man in the private chat wants her to do the most abnormal fetish play such as covering herself in milk and honey, and pleasuring herself with a plush animal resembling Sonic the Hedgehog (You want me to do what with what?) Disgusted with what the man is asking her, she disconnects the private conversation calling him a freak. She soon starts another private chat with another man, who she discovers is her father leading to a duet between herself and her father who is offstage (My Daddy is a Pervert/My Daughter is a Cam Girl). Act Three ends with an awkward moment of silence before the father tells her that he will see her at dinner.
- Act Four: Fundraising
- The stage is empty except for a large screen. A lone man walks to the center of the stage, clearing his throat before beginning his proposal for an abnormal and irrelevant tech device as images of the device are projected on the screen behind him.(The Start-Up). Offstage, peoples comments about the device can be heard as various voices begin to ask questions about it as the man begins to answer them (The Kickstarter Ballet). As the song ends, the stage darkens for a moment to show a progression of time. The stage lightens up to show the man counting a wad of cash, reveling in the success of the funding. He then proceeds to state how the project’s completion will be ‘delayed’ due to unforeseen circumstances. Act Three ends with him proceeding to flee with the money (The Clean Getaway).
- Act Five: The Ballad of a Modern Day Political Activist
- The stage opens up to reveal a man sitting at a computer with several devices around him as he browses through news stories. He soon comes across a news story of a social injustice, which in this case is the use of unspecified chemical in a commonly eaten food product which leads him to begin to voice his objections to the product’s use of the chemical (The Call for Social Justice). The stage darkens for a moment to signify a period of time has passed. The stage becomes illuminated to show the man walking across the stage to check his computer to see if the food producer has stopped the use of the chemical. He finds out that the chemical is still in use and becomes outraged, leading to a song about using guerrilla hacking as a form of protest against the company (DOS Attack). He revels in the success of his hacking and decides to celebrate with pizza. The stage becomes dark again to signify another period of time passing. The man goes back to his computer and listens to a news report saying that the food production company was hacked. Act Five ends with the man continuing to celebrate until three SWAT members burst into the room and arrest him for a completely different crime than the hacking much to his dismay (Success/The Bust).
These are just ideas for what the Internet Musical could be. But please, do not try to create a musical about the internet.