Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Feel-good Broadway Play of the Summer?

Ah...maybe not. "Mickey Mouse Is Dead" opens off Broadway on July 11th. I can't wait... Hollywood, 1952. Are the Communists coming? Senator McCarthy hunts Reds, the Rosenbergs are doomed to die, and Walt Disney spies for the FBI. Harris and Finch, scriptwriters at the Disney Studio, are plotting to unionize. Walt's just been called to name names. How much does he know about them? Can Grace, Finch's trust-fund girlfriend, penetrate Walt's private playground? How far will Walt go to save Mickey Mouse from becoming a Commie Yid? A searing look into friendship, national identity and the politics of paranoia, the Happiest Place on Earth will never be the same. MICKEY MOUSE IS DEAD marks the NYC premiere up-and-coming playwright Justin Sherin. Produced by Spankin’ Yanks, a new production company that draws its creative team from the graduate program at the prestigious Yale School of Drama, MICKEY MOUSE IS DEAD is a gripping piece by a young company that has already made a sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe with 2004’s Fringe First Award-winning production of Rolin Jones' The Jammer. By 1952, Walt's shop was pretty well unionized, and his days of testifying to the House of UnAmerican Activities Committee was five years in the past: Washington -- October 24, 1947 -- Producer Walt Disney today told the HUAC that Communists once took over his studio. He also called the League of Women Voters a Communist front organization... So we're not talking about historical accuracy here. Still in all, it sounds like a fun evening, doesn't it?

2 comments:

justin sherin said...

dear steve - i wrote this play, and yes, i compressed the chronology to raise the stakes, but i tried hard to honour the spirit of the thing. if you or your colleagues are in new york, i'd love to hear what you think.

all best
justin sherin

Steve Hulett said...

Dear Justin -

Actually, I'd love to see it, but I doubt I'll be in New York soon. My old man was working there in '52, also in '41, during the strike.

As you probably know, 1952 was the year the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists -- this organization -- supplanted the Screen Cartoonists Guild at Disney.

If you mount a production in Los Angeles, I'll definitely be there.

Steve H

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