Transgression: Turn-Kick-Turn/One-Two-Kick-Turn

September 26, 2014 5:21 PM

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Transgression: Turn-Kick-Turn/One-Two-Kick-Turn

"The desire of a middle-aged audience to be 'with it,' is not to be underestimated," Stephen Sondheim remarked to me recently, as we kicked around news of American Psycho "The Musical" having been swiped away from its planned Off-Broadway premiere at Second Stage Theatre to instead open on Broadway directly (in due time). The hijacking of American Psycho puts a hot spotlight on transgression as a commercial Broadway musical commodity. Not just because American Psycho's new Broadway producers scandalously transgressed a few unspoken laws of producing etiquette themselves, in lassoing the show away from Second Stage. More to the point: American Psycho is a musical that blithely sings of serial murder and bloody misogyny.

What was the first transgressive Broadway musical? Sweeney Todd, you well might say, with a title character who murders in song before grinding his victims into meat pies that are consumed in song by a ravenous Broadway chorus. But what about Hair - the most popular countercultural musical of them a...

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