Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Did you know that they made a musical out of James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story "The Girl Who Was Plugged In"? Yeah, my mind boggled too.

And when I say "they," I don't mean a bunch of clueless amateurs. The music was written by Alan Menken, who wrote the music for a number of Disney's hits, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, among other things. And David Spencer, the lyricist and co-author of the book, and Alan Brennert, the other co-author, are also professionals.

I haven't seen or heard it, but I've read the script. (It's actually a one-act musical, and its script is packaged with another one-act SF musical under the title Weird Romance.) Its plot actually sticks fairly close to Tiptree's story, except for the ending, but the tone is completely different. The musical is a story of two idealistic young lovers crushed by a cruel world, with a hint of "love conquers all": exactly the sort of thing Tiptree's story satirizes. Frankly, I thought the script was pretty bad. (To be fair, though, I might feel differently if I saw it on the stage with the music.) But evidently somebody liked it: Weird Romance premiered off-Broadway and still pops up here and there occasionally, and Columbia even released an original cast album.

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