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Literature, the musical

Need tickets for the hottest show in town, the all-singing-and-dancing extravaganza based on The Inferno—“The Full Dante”? Care for some haute cuisine after a matinee showing of “Non, Non, Colette”? Is it true that for those of a Thoreauvian cast of mind, “Gentlemen Prefer Ponds”? For this year’s Humor Contest, Literary Supplement editors Mikhail Horowitz and Nina Shengold invited readers to create titles for the Broadway musical versions of classic works of literature that Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, et al., have heretofore overlooked, and also provide (for extra credit) a few representative songs. A small but select group of contributors rose to the challenge, weighing in from as far away as Louisiana and Idaho. Herewith, the whipped cream of the crop.

Our very first entry was a list of six howlingly funny musicals from the shared household of John Berryhill and William Levitt Jr. (one can only imagine the dinner conversation and original cast album collection at this address). The toughest editorial challenge was choosing the best of the best. John’s Brokeback Mountain musical “Oklahomo!” (“Getting To Blow You”) and William’s Mein Kampf musical “Herr!” (“Aryan, Madam Librarian,” “Puttin’ on the Blitz”) seemed a bit raw for a family publication like Chronogram (though perhaps not as sublimely tasteless as “Little Orphan Annie Frank” and “Eenie-Meenie: Sophie’s Choice, the Musical,” whose authors shall go nameless).
Much as we enjoyed John and William’s more spiritual offerings, “Hello, Dalai!” (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the musical) and “Call Me Adam!” (The Old Testament, the musical), the Grand Prize for inspired concept and execution goes to:

Pest’cide Story
Metamorphosis, the musical
“Pretty Vermin”
“Hey, Turn Me Over!”
“I Might Have a Thousand Eyes”

—John Berryhill, Red Hook

Slow Boat
The Odyssey, the musical
“Drink to Me Only with Thine Eye”
“Greece (is the word)!”

—William Levitt Jr., Red Hook

The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, the musical
“Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells Are Ringing”
“Thump! Thump! Thump! Went the Floorboard”
—Laura Covello, Ulster Park

The musical diaries of Anais Nin
“C’est Moi (and Plenty of It)”
“No Sexus, Please, We’re British”
“June Is Busting Out All Over”
—Djuna Millay, Coxsackie

My Fair Junkie
Naked Lunch, the musical
“The Fury with the Syringe on Top”
“Just ’Cause I’m Nodding Don’t Mean I Agree”
—Karl Thropp, Germantown

Outstanding Musical Concept & Title

South Horrific
Dracula, the musical
—Sharon Cousins, Viola, Idaho

Heads Off!
A Tale of Two Cities, the musical
—Linda Freeman, Marlboro

The Unsinkable Laura Brown
The Hours, the musical
—Diane Elayne Dees, Covington, LA

Best Concept

Eddie Puss
The Cast of “Cats” sings and dances the world’s greatest tragedy
—Amlin Gray, Bronxville

Nominees for Best Song

“I’m a Bad, Bad Berber”
from “Sunday in the Casbah with Paul,” the Paul Bowles musical
—Al Packer, Andes

“A Hell of a Way to Be Wounded”
from “Bull!” (The Sun Also Rises, the musical)
—Amlin Gray, Bronxville

“It’s Just a Cigar”
from “Id O, Id O!” (the Sigmund Freud musical)
—Dora Jungsdottir, Yonkers

Best Song

“The Thane, Insane, Slays Mainly in Duns’nane”
from “It’s A Mad, Bad, Sad, Plaid World: Macbeth, the musical”
—Laura Covello, Ulster Park

All winners not deemed by the Nom de Folie squad to be intimate relatives of the judges will receive Chronogram T-shirts. Thanks to everybody who entered!

Illustrations by Diana Bryan.
  • Illustrations by Diana Bryan.

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