Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Melville! The Musical.

I had a meeting last night with a Broadway producer called Cy Bliskin.


My wife met his wife at some cocktail party and, as wives do, my wife told his wife that I had written a Broadway musical based on the life of Herman Melville, author of "Billy Budd," and of course, "Moby Dick."

I met Bliskin, of course, at Sardi's. In a minute the old Italian waiter had  brought me the biggest martini I had ever seen.

Bliskin and I clinked glasses and then he cut to the chase.

"A Broadway musical," he said, lighting a cigar as long as a baby's arm. "That takes big money."

"I know," I answered as demurely as I could.

"I produced 'North Dakota' the year before Rodgers and Hammerstein came out with 'Oklahoma.' I tell you this, not to discourage you, but to let you know that the road to the Great White Way is paved with broken dreams."

I took a long draw on my martini. I almost swallowed an olive whole.

He filled the red-velvet room with the smoke from his Cohiba.
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"But listen," he said, "I think you have something here. 'Melville, the Musical.' It's gold. It's 'Wicked' for the literary class. Sing me that song you wrote." He motioned to a baby grand in the corner.

I drained the remainder of my martini and headed over to the ivories. I was feeling more than a little lubricated,

I harumphed then began. "This is a song I call 'Where there's a Whale there's a Way,' I began tinkling. "This is something Ishmael sings to open the show," I said.

What was I thinking
When I sea,
Not knowing at all
If this life is for me?

What was I thinking,
When I made this decision,
When I ignored all the laughter,
Ignored the derision?

Oh, where there's a Whale
There's a way.
Where there's the sun,
There's a ray.
Where there's a boat filled with men
There is hope,
Oh, where there's a Whale,
There's a way."

Bliskin led the applause and a few others put down their knives and forks and joined in.

"That's gold," he told me. "Melville! The Musical."

He bought me another martini. We were on our way.


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