Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: red roses green gold

The Musical Never Stopped

Hey, Jeff Chimenti. How’s Broadway?



“I hate it so much and want to go back to the Grateful Dead.”

But the Dead doesn’t feed you and won’t put your name on the poster.

“Don’t care. Do you know what time they start practice in the legitimate theater world?”

The morning.

“Yeah! And the early part of the morning, too. The real morningy morning. Oh, and speaking of starting: do you know when things start?”


“When they’re supposed to! I’m used to easing into things 45 minutes late, or whenever Bobby shows up. It’s bordering on militaristic around here.”

That’s a bit hyperbolic. Overalls Wolverine is completely out of regs.

“I’ve been calling him Mister Muttonchops.”

That works.

“Dude, do you know how long a 20-minute intermission lasts here?”

20 minutes?

“Yeah! Isn’t that fucked up?”

No! That’s the way professionals behave.

“Exactly! I wanna go back to the Bush League. This whole environment is too tense for me.”

Okay. You making a move on Dita Von Teese?

“I’m gonna let her watch me shampoo.”


Red Roses, Green Gold, Silver Mane

Hey, Jeff Chimenti. Bobby looks weird.

“That’s not Bobby. She’s an actress from Red Roses, Green Gold.

Oh, right. The jukebox musical with all the Dead tunes in it that you were the musical director for. How’s that going?

“I do not like these musical theater types.”


“They never stop singing. All day, nothing but show tunes in 95-part harmony. And I don’t know if you know this, but they sing loud.”

I did. Theater kids can weaponize Sondheim.

“And their hand gestures are so dramatic.”

That, too.

“And there’s an AIDS benefit every fifteen minutes.”

Broadway cares.

“Plus, the smell is unbelievable. Backstage, I mean. It’s just rectal sweat and feet, man. These kids work up a frothy lather. You know what Oteil smells like after a show?”




“I went backstage after opening night and I couldn’t get the funk out of my hair for days.”

Oh, not your beautiful hair.

“I know! Had to get it professionally laundered. I was about to go buy a couple gallons of tomato juice.”

Ew. So I guess this means you’re not gonna be the next Lin-Manuel Miranda?

“No way, man. I’m sticking to rock and roll.”

You rule, Jeff Chimenti.


Boogaloo Down Broadway

Oh, yes, Enthusiasts. You forgot. You tucked the information away in the back pocket of your mind, forgot it there, left it when you put your mind in the wash. I now take that information and place it in a sealed bag of rice. This promotional still–and you can barely call it a “still,” there’s so much exuberance in the shot–is from Red Roses, Green Gold, which is what’s referred to in the theater world as a “jukebox musical,” which is a show biz term for “not an actual musical.” Musicals are damn near impossible to write–Steven Sondheim went insane for a year or two and thought he was living in Rome around 100 AD; Rodgers ate Hammerstein–but jukebox musicals are simple. You go down to your local Sam Goody’s, buy a group’s greatest hits, hire some actors, rent a theater, and wait for the money to roll in.

Except when it doesn’t. For every jukebox musical that runs for years, such as Mamma Mia or Jersey Boys, there’s a The Times They Are A-Changin’ or Tonight’s The Night. (Based on the work of Dylan and Rod Stewart, respectively.) Even the good ones are pointless, other than as revenue sources, but tourists and the middle-class enjoy sitting in pretty buildings while young people sing for them, so they’re going to keep making them.

Red Roses, Give Us Your Money tells the story of…well, I’ll let them you:

Did you kill yourself halfway through the blurb? I did, like, two or three times.

But then I horror-vomited myself back to life:

Did you horror-vomit? I bet you did.

Anyway, there’s a plot of some sort:

  • The characters are introduced.
  • Their goal is stated.
  • Comic reversals occur.
  • An ingenue with an enormous voice sings the song right before intermission.
  • Overpriced wine and candy.
  • The comic reversals are reversed once again, comically.
  • The Act Two Hoedown, also known as the Shipoopi number.
  • Song from Act One is resung, but with a different meaning this time.
  • Big finish.
  • You wanna eat or go back to the hotel?
  • I’m hungry.
  • There’s an Olive Garden.
  • Ooh, I bet the Olive Garden in New York is fancy.

And so on.

If you’re thinking about taking in the show, you’d better hurry. The Hollywood Reporter said “If Garcia weren’t dead, this show would kill him” and the New York Times calls the show “cartoonishly corny.” Also: it is an abomination against the Lord AND there are no fucking Bobby songs. On the other hand, Jeff Chimenti was the musical director and did all the arrangements, so he got a check and that is a good thing.


If I really did have a Time Sheath, I’d go back and knock that fucking hat off Garcia’s head.

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