Adaptation of Douche-Lit Classic Premiering Off-Broadway in June
A few years ago at the Tony Awards, Neil Patrick Harris famously sang of Broadway’s frequently-pigeonholed appeal, pleading with his audience that "it’s not just for gays anymore," that the theatre was more than the domain of people of certain faiths or sexual orientations or socioeconomic status. Of course, he was singing this at the Tony Awards, so it was kind of preaching to the choir. Anyway, the Cabaret at Roy Arias Studios may attract some very different audiences with their upcoming limited-engagement production, as Christopher Carter Sanderson directs I Hope They Serve Beer on Broadway, in which a small group of actors re-enact scenes from Tucker Max’s frat-lit Bible, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. The shows begin June 5th, with talks of main stages and a national tour in the future. And really? I thought we were done caring about this dude after the movie adaptation, America. You know, the one with the totally skeevy and gross and rape culture-enforcing marketing campaign with slogans like "Deaf girls can’t hear you coming." Gross. Gross gross gross.
Come on, Broadway. When we said we wanted fresh perspectives and appeal to a wider demographic, we didn’t mean it like this. Not like this. But maybe we’re just being bitter—maybe this staged reinterpretation of Max’s bawdy prose will echo strongly in the tradition of the early, raunchier days of Greek comedy (as in actual Greeks, not the Greek system) and be presented in a manner where it is a radical satire of the life of the American Douche as opposed to some kind of celebration, which it often feels like (whether that’s how Max means it or not).
And it’s certainly not a bad thing that Broadway is trying to appeal to bros—the theatre should be for everyone. But surely there was another way than bringing I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell to the stage. Surely. Hell, rewrite some Andrew Lloyd Webber lyrics and give us some "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Frats!" Do a boozy, collegiate take on Tom Stoppard and call it Brosencrantz and Chilldenstern Are Dead. Or, you know, create a space where playwrights with new, fresh ideas—even frat-tacular ones!—can get space on New York’s most popular stages. Because the only thing worse than a Tucker Max play is another Romeo and Juliet.