A Comic Opera by Trav S.D. and David Mallamud
Gilbert and Sullivan, classic Universal horror films, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Raiders of the Lost Arc, and the writings of Sigmund Freud converge in this post-modern musical mash-up by modern vaudevillian Trav S.D. and composer David Mallamud.
TRAV S.D. (Book, Lyrics, Concept)
Trav S.D.’s most recent theatrical triumph was “Horse Play, or the Fickle Mistress” presented at LaMama by Theatre Askew in 2015, starring Everett Quinton and Molly Pope. Among his six hit shows in the New York International Fringe Festival, the high-water mark was “I’ll Say She Is” the first ever revival of the Marx Brothers’ first Broadway show, which he produced and directed in 2014. Past collaborators have included David Yazbek and Coney Island USA’s Dick Zigun. Besides NYC, his plays have been produced in London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Austin, Seattle, Providence and Portland. He is perhaps best known for his 2005 book, “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous”, recently cited by Bette Midler in People Magazine as her personal favorite.
DAVID MALLAMUD (Music)
Award-winning composer David Mallamud writes music that transports his listeners to a dazzling Parisian music hall, a species-altering glam metal firestorm, a fantastical beach of Sneetches, or the hidden recesses of Nijinsky’s psyche—all with equally imaginative insight. He has composed for venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to Off-Broadway, where his music for the recent production of Flight School: The Musical (currently running in NYC and touring China) was lauded by Laurel Graeber of The New York Times, saying: “The production’s biggest boon, however, may be its score. Here, Mr. Mallamud has written music worthy of bigger stages, variously embracing classical lyricism, pulsing pop, the poignant ballad and at least one all-out, Alice Cooper-style rock rant.”
Recently Mallamud was thrilled to work with Mike Mills (of R.E.M. fame), arranging and composing additional music for his Concerto for Rock Band and Violin, written for violinist Robert McDuffie, who premiered it with Mills and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in June 2016. His CD, The Wild & Whimsical Worlds of David Mallamud on Broadway Records, featuring a cast of wonderful performers from Broadway and beyond accompanied by The Albany Symphony's Dogs of Desire, won a 2016 Broadway World Album Award for Best New Compilation. Mallamud’s other recent and current credits include music for a stage adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches, in collaboration with playwright Philip Dawkins for the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis; performances by the Albany, Harrisburg, and New World Symphonies; and projects with Emmy-nominated lyricist Alisa Hauser, playwright Joshua H. Cohen, and librettist Len Schiff.
A 2016–17 Dramatists Guild Fellow, Mallamud has received many other honors, among them a prestigious Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Morton Gould Young Composer Awards from ASCAP, and the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship at Tanglewood. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and master’s degrees from both Juilliard and NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, and pursued additional graduate studies at Yale with Ned Rorem and Evan Ziporyn. davidmallamud.com
(Can be done with a minimum of 8 actors (4M/4F) or expanded to included a large ensemble.)
SNAVELY: English explorer in khakis and pith helmet
DUMBARTON: English explorer in khakis and pith helmet
MAYOR: a plump burgher
DOCTOR: an old man, somewhat out of his depth
DR. JUNG: The actual Dr. Carl Jung
GENERAL STOUT: An Edwardian Army general with muttonchops
CHORUS OF NATIVES, led by “M’Butu”
CHORUS OF NAZIS, led by “Hauser”
CHORUS OF TOWNFOLK/CITEZENS
CHORUS OF RATS
Running time – approximately 1 hour without intermission.
1. Two British explorers, SNAVELY and DUMBARTON and their BEARERS ply a harsh jungle clime in search of the fabled Ratsmanian Devil, or “Rat Man”, a rare totem necklace said to be worth a fortune. They sing about their twenty year ordeal in searching for it (“Twenty Years of Searching”). Then – the moment of triumph! They unearth the object in a temple ruin and unleash a song of jubilation (“At Last! At Last! At Last!). Then – a struggle for possession of the treasure between the two men ("There's No Need For Violence Snavely"), in which both are killed and the Rat Man falls into the hands of their NAZI RIVALS.
2. Some weeks later, in central European village flea market, we meet THE PEDDLAR, who sings to us of his business (“I Run an Honest Flea Market”). He encounters a down-on-his-luck NAZI, who helps to sell the Rat Man. The pair dicker in recitative. The PEDDLAR purchases the Rat Man and puts it on. Straightaway he encounters a mystic HAG who warns of the totem’s evil powers. When the “moon is made of green cheese” he will transform – into the Rat Man, a foul sub-human monster. After she departs, the PEDDLAR is attacked by THREE HOODLUMS. He changes into the Rat Man, and scares them off. He sings (“The Song of the Rat Man”).
3. Across town, at the city hospital, the TOWN DOCTOR apprises the MAYOR of a growing emergency (“Somebody’s Been Biting Their Butts.”) The Mayor has his own prescription: (“Crazy Rats Must Die”). Then THE EXTERMINATOR arrives to make his contribution (“I Am Your Exterminator”).
4. Hours later, the Exterminator and his posse search for the Rat Man but to no avail. The moon is out of its cycle – it is not “made of green cheese”. Unbeknownst to them, he is reverted to his natural form, the PEDDLAR.
5. The Mayor and the Doctor confer on this new state of affairs. They resolve to call in an expert on mass psychosis – Dr. Carl Jung.
6. One month later: The VILLAGERS all welcome DR. JUNG to the village (“Dr. Jung”). The Hag comes to warn them that it is once again the Time of the Green Cheese. Jung resolves to counter the situation by jarring the villagers to reality by making them relive a story they all know: The Pied Piper of Hamlin. He sings a beguiling song (“A Paradise Under the Sea”). Unaccountably, Dr. Jung is too good at his job. He leads all of the villagers into the ocean, where they presumably drown. Then, the villagers all emerge from the water, transformed into rat people. They sing a creepy song (“Whiskery Water Rats Are We”). Then comes to the rescue GENERAL STOUT of the King’s Dragoon, who introduces himself and announces his intention (“General Stout of the King’s Dragoons.”) Then he realizes that these creatures will make an excellent asset for his army and enlists them. The Rat people sing their celebratory song of jubilation (“So We Are Rats!”)
1. Twenty Years of Searching
2. At Last! At Last! At Last!
3. There's No Need For Violence, Snavely
4. I Run An Honest Flea Market
5. The Song of the Ratman
6. Somebody's Been Biting Their Butts/Crazy Rats Must Die
7. I Am Your Exterminator
8. Dr. Jung
9. A Paradise Under the Sea
10. Whiskey Water Rats Are We
11. I'm General Stout of the King's Dragoon/So We Are Rats!
Michael Mott, Baritone (Stout/Jung/Ensemble)
Kamala Sankaram, Soprano (Ensemble)