February 28, 1998
It's February 1999, New York City. Do you know where you are?
Not exactly. You think you're Off-Broadway, like that's an actual neighborhood or something. You look in your hand--you've got a couple of tickets to Bright Lights, Big City. The musical.
The what? The Jay McInerney novel? That thing you read in college?
Your head's kind of hazy--the Dow hit 10,000 the other night, and you partied with Gordon Gekko gusto--but you're slowly getting your bearings.
You remember reading the Hollywood trades last March--Daily Variety, it was. A story about how the director of Rent, Michael Greif, was prepping a stage musical version of McInerney's second-person tome about 1980s' Manhattan excesses.
The show was supposed to open in February '99 at the New York Theater Workshop. That's where Rent started out in 1996 before moving On-Broadway.
The guy writing the book and music--Paul Scott Goodman. He sounded kind of kicky. "I read the McInerney book in August 1996, and it turned me on," Goodman, 37, told Variety.
(He read it in '96--you love that. Where was this guy in the '80s? God, the best thing about the literary Brat Pack was that their stuff, Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, included, wasn't time-consuming. Short paragraphs. Short sentences. Sparse use of adjectives. The better to conjure that dead-eyed, drugged-out effect.)
Anyway, Goodman sounded totally tuned into the project. "I mean, it's about drugs, sex, rock 'n' roll and clubs in New York," he told the paper.
You, you remember the Coma Baby. But in your state, you can't remember if that's really in the book. Or just in the movie with Michael J. Fox.
Whatever. Goodman said the Bright Lights music was going to be 95 percent singing. The other 5 percent spent snorting assorted substances, you guess.
You don't know how, or why, you came by the tickets. Probably curious about what kind of songs magazine fact-checkers sing.
All sounds kind of trippy, yeah. But no trippier than the other thing Goodman's supposed to be working on--a musical version of Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge.
Or how about that other stuff in the works--the Footloose project? Or the Mask one?
"Anything can be done as a musical provided you have the right talent," Backstage magazine's David Sheward told you once.
Even Coma Baby.