Friday, June 22, 2012

Elvis, Marilyn, Jim Morrison Holograms Coming Soon. But What About Bette?

The following is an update and expansion of an earlier blog post:
Broadway producers, I have an idea for increasing your ticket sales, going viral on social media, and injecting an element of shock and awe into your productions.

All you need are a few well-chosen holograms of dead celebrities.
This whole hologram thing came to life, so to speak, back in April, when the late Tupac Shakur performed "live" in concert with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Since then, the concept of insinuating dead performers into live shows is getting legs. Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison may all soon appear on stages again through technological magic (or sorcery, depending upon your view). Jim Morrison may even walk right up to you, look you in the eye, and sing to you, according to Entertainment Weekly. For the long-cold musician, perhaps it will be “Come on baby, light my fire”?
Most of this is just talk for now, except for Tupac. His likeness was projected onto a piece of glass on the concert stage, which then bounced the image onto a Mylar screen. Upon seeing photos of Tupac in the Coachella show, my first thought was: Look at those abs. Tupac should've changed his name to Sixpac.   
My second thought: Who else would I like to see digitally resurrected from the dead and interjected into stage productions?
Bette Davis, of course.
Let's say you're at a Broadway play and there's a scene in which two pretentious characters start speaking French to one another. Suddenly, in vivid black and white, there's Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve, quipping "Enchante to you, too!" That would certainly perk up the audience, n’est-ce pas?
You could make a Bette Davis hologram a recurring gag on Broadway. Audiences would never know when or where Dead Bette might appear and make a bitchy remark. In the recently closed Death of a Salesman, for instance, Bette as Regina in The Little Foxes could have suddenly materialized and said coldly to Philip Seymour Hoffman: "I hope you die. I hope you die soon. I'll be waiting for you to die."
Or how about this? Immediately after a love scene in a play, suddenly there's Bette from Of Human Bondage, shrieking contemptuously: "After ya kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth! WIPE MY MOUTH!"
Some other late, great, dearly missed performers I'd love to see pop up 'live' on stage, in no particular order:
* John Gielgud from Arthur. Whenever a character makes a boring or predictable announcement, Gielgud, as Dudley Moore’s sass-talking butler, would roll his eyes and say sarcastically, “I’ll alert the media.”
* Dixie Carter from Designing Women. No one went off on a tirade more fabulously than Carter. Imagine a dull scene (take your pick) in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, when, quite unexpectedly, Carter shows up to deliver her famous “And that’s the night the lights went out in Georgia!” speech. The result would be spontaneous, heartfelt, thunderous, leaping-out-of-the-seat applause, the likes of which I doubt the Spider-Man producers have experienced.
* Marty Feldman from Young Frankenstein. Want to squeeze a laugh from a script that is supposed to be funny but isn’t? Whenever you feel the audience’s attention waning, simply flash Feldman’s face on stage, with his cockeyed, impish smile. Even better, have him announce that his name is “Aye-gor,” not “Ee-gor.” And while we’re at it, throw in Cloris Leachman (who, fortunately, is still very much alive) proclaiming, “He vus my boyfriend!”
* Joan Crawford from the British horror movie Berserk!, in which she tromped around a three-ring circus sporting tights and a three-ring bun on her head. Picture a digital hologram of circus queen Joan, jumping from one swing to another effortlessly, high above the stage (Spider-Man again?) pausing to peer down with disapproval at the goings-on and command, “Clean up this mess!” To get an idea of a hologram Joan Crawford’s potential, check out the YouTube video in which Rick Santorum, in a TV interview, gets repeatedly ‘Joansmacked.’ And here's the latest Joansmacked video:

OK, let’s recap by doing the math: Holograms of Bette, John, Dixie, Marty, and Joan + viral sensations = theatrical riches. You’re welcome, Broadway!

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  1. A well planned and planted cameo can make or break the whole show. I would love to see Joan Crawford AND/OR Bette Davis smack the crap out of Annie. That gal is too damn perky.

    And this b***ch is crazy.^

  2. A creative person such as you should have been on the team that was called in to try to save 'Spider Man.' Joan, in her 'Berserk' drag, would have been just the thing to save the show and justify the high ticket price.