Sit right back, and you’ll hear some news, news of Broadway show / That started as a sitcom back in Nineteen Sixty-Fo’.
Shameful rhyme aside, the news is worth sitting back for: in the wake of the 2012 Tony Awards excitement, Deadline reports that the classic CBS comedy series Gilligan’s Island is in the process of being tackled for a Broadway musical adaptation. In other words, the half-hour sitcom is becoming a three-hour play. A three-hour play. (It’ll probably be closer to two-hours, but that’s not how the theme song goes, so give me a break.)
Whereas certain projects don’t really transcend formats well, Gilligan’s Island has practically been begging for a musical revival for years. The happy-go-lucky comedy enjoyed such a thin thread of reality that it wouldn’t have been all that out of place for a couple of the characters to break into song sporadically. But of course, the score would have to be devised meticulously, with each castaway spouting a ballad illustrative of his or her internal struggle — and if you don’t think these people had internal struggles, you might not have been watching closely enough. But that’s the beauty of musicals: people sing what they’re thinking! And here’s the way that might work for Gilligan’s Island: The Musical…
To star the show, an orchestrated chronicling of the seven’s foray into the wiles of the Pacific Ocean, landing them deserted on the bizarre uncharted isle that they’d call their home for the three acts to come.
The Skipper’s Ballad
Jonas “The Skipper” Grumby was a tragic character — a lonely man who blamed himself for the S.S. Minnow’s failure to make it back to the safety of America’s shores. Thus, the front side of the fist act could feature a soft but powerful ballad, showcasing the blue-shirted man’s inner turmoil. Of course, the mood won’t can’t stay too somber for long…
The Millionaire and His Wife: A Duet
Drawing from something between Cabaret‘s “Money,” and Chicago‘s “All I Care About Is Love,” Thurston Howell III and his wife, almost exclusively referred to as Lovey, should pipe up the mood with a comical lamenting of their loss of their luxurious lifestyle (despite the fact that the show featured them in different outfits every episode, with literal suitcases full of supplies and trinkets… but you can just ignore that).
A Dance Number! Featuring Ginger
The sensuous former movie star never seemed too broken up about crashing onto an uncharted island. In fact, the character maintained a peculiar air of zen from the pilot to the finale, as her values and happiness were invested primarily in her own beauty. Thus, a dance number would be perfect to capture the physically-inclined nature of the movie star’s character.
A Gilbert & Sullivan Style Romp for The Professor
It might be a bit derivative, but Gilligan’s Island is not above parody. Picture The Professor (who, really, was not a professor, but a high school science teacher… but again, you can just ignore that), spouting a fast-paced ditty.
Mary Ann’s Ballad
Perhaps even sadder than The Skipper was the character of Mary Ann, the simple farm girl who never quite felt comfortable in her own skin — especially in the presence of the glamorous Ginger. Mary Ann was so encompassed with envy that she even started to believe that she was Ginger once after suffering one of the island’s oddly frequent head wounds. A strong power ballad detailing her pains could really round out the emotionality of the show.
Of course, the biggest, wildest, and most entertaining musical number in the show must lie in the hands of the unlikely hero, First Mate Gilligan. In one final blaze of glory, Gilligan can overcome his role as perpetual screw-up and rally his friends to safety, all the while delivering the most memorable showstopper in Broadway history. That’s just good theater.
The book for Gilligan’s Island: The Musical was written by the late Sherwood Schwartz, who created the original TV series, and his son Lloyd. Schwartz’s daughter Hope and son-in-law Laurence Juber have created the score. The project is being produced by Dianne Fraser, who is in no way related to Sherwood Schwartz.