Friday, September 11, 2020

338. MAN ON THE MOON. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Monique Van Vooren, Eric Lang.

MAN ON THE MOON [Musical/Romance/Science-Fiction] B/M/LY: John Phillips; D: Paul Morrissey; S: John J. Moore; C: Marsia Trinder; L: Jules Fisher; P: Andy Warhol i/a/w Richard Turley; T: Little Theatre; 1/29/75-2/1/75 (5)

Keitha McClean called this musical produced by pop culture artist Andy Warhol “excruciatingly bad,” and Brendan Gill dubbed it “totally mindless. On opening night, it produced more excitement in the house, where a glittery audience of the Beautiful People attended in full regalia, than on the stage, where the amateurish, low-budget, low-talent show was enacted. Some thought there were a few decent songs in the 22-number show, but these were embedded in a script and production of egregious banality performed by a largely inadequate cast in a setting Clive Barnes called “cheap-looking.” John Phillips, a singer formerly of the bigtime pop-rock group the Mamas and the Papas, wrote the entire thing.

The story, which Martin Gottfried considered “infantile,” has to do with a mad German scientist, Dr. Bomb (Harlan S. Foss), who wants to bomb the moon and thereby alter its course so it will throw the planet of Canis Minor into darkness. The astronaut, Ernie Hardy (Eric Lang), and the rocketship charged with the mission, land instead on Canis Minor, to which the female love interest, Angel (Genevieve Waite), and her parents, Venus (Monique Van Vooren), and King Can (Dennis Doherty), were exiled years before by Bomb. The astronaut and the girl fall in love at first sight. And so on.

In John Simon’s estimation, Man on the Moon was “a crashy, campy, lobotomized bore from beginning to end.” In other words, to borrow a character’s name, a bomb.