Thursday, July 20, 2000

Madness in New York



Reefer Madness! will soon be hitting New York. James Nederlander Jr. has joined with Middle Fork Productions to produce Reefer Madness! this fall off-Broadway.

Reefer Madness! is a musical based on the 1936 "scare film" of the same name. The Kevin Murphy/Dan Studney musical opened at Hollywood’s Hudson Backstage Theatre on April 30, 1999 and ended its Hollywood run on February 27, 2000. After that a batch of "invitation only performances" of the show were held to test out new material.

The show opens with a Drug Czar-type figure lecturing on the evils of marijuana. The lecturer introduces the audience to a batch of young people who fall into the seamy world of drugs, despair and murder after smoking weed.

Since its closing, rumors have been rampant that a revamped Madness will make its way eastward. Today Daily Variety confirmed the rumors by reporting that the producers are eagerly searching for a theater. According to the article, producers have been looking at numerous downtown off-Broadway houses in anticipation of a fall opening. "Coming next season to an off-Broadway theater near you," Nederlander told

Andy Fickman, who directed in Hollywood, will helm the production again. Nederlander could no confirm whether any of the critically acclaimed original cast members will be in the New York production. "We are in the process of casting so I can’t say who is going to stay from the cast and who is going to go." The producer even joked with that he wanted any staff members who could sing to be in the production.

When the show premiered, The Los Angeles Times said, "The show needs revision. But century's worth of styles, from Reefer Madness! is one small-scale musical with potential to get around." Madness will indeed be reworked before it moves, but it is getting around -- all the way to New York.


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