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Allen in Wonderland

March 29, 2017

The gap since my last post is easily explained.  I’ve been producing a play spoofing Grease, called Wheeze.  It just finished its weekend run.  Two years ago I approached Lois, the affable manager of the venerable Heriot Bay Inn, about doing a parody of The Sound of Music in the HBI dining room.  It was a hit, so last year we mangled West Side Story.

This time around we speculated about what the kids of Rydell High School might have dealt with over the last fifty years.  Hence, the song “Greased Lightning” morphed into “Cialis”: “You’ll be having lots of frolics ’cause it helps with your hydraulics/You’ll be flowing like Niagara as you gobble up Viagra/Go, boners!”

It was a most welcome distraction from a challenging winter and the daily outrages of Aging Orange.  I won’t even attempt to summarize all the shit he’s pulled since I last bitched about him, other than to mention today’s absurdity: him telling a room full of women that he will support their every effort, less than a week after he tried to take away maternity benefits with his abysmal health plan.

So we escaped to Midol High School to see what Sammi, Dandy, Dezzo and Kandinsky had been up to this last half century.  With a talented cast and gifted directors, we regaled 125 patrons over three performances.  It was a lovely way to keep it together until spring.  We used almost every song from the original movie and live TV special, plus this nifty little ditty lifted whole cloth from Grease 2.

I also added a rewrite of the Janis Ian song “At Seventeen” to give the merriment a quiet moment.  This haunting tune from 1975 gave us lyrics like “And those of us with ravaged faces/Lacking in the social graces/Desperately remained at home/Inventing lovers on the phone/Who called to say ‘come dance with me’/And murmured vague obscenities/It isn’t all it seems/At seventeen”.  Besides being blessed relief from the disco sound, Ian’s work has the historical importance of being the first song performed on Saturday Night Live.

Here is our version:

“At seventy I reached a place/Where harshness tacked to gentle grace/And smoother seas were my reward/As deepest feelings outward poured.

The vapid stabs to be uncouth/The folly of my misspent youth/All wasted time to be thought cool/So I sought themes that teach and soothe.

Like all the love we generate/Will someday neutralize the hate/And kindness in our common soul/Will be our foremost social goal.

So those who say ‘you’re not like me’/As they advance their bigotry/Please go away/Don’t bother me/At seventy.

We’re black and white and red and brown/We all touch feet on common ground/So pity, please, who will not see/The spectrum of humanity.

The rich who think they must be kings/And tell the rest to kiss their rings/Come join our walk in humble grace/As others gain their rightful place.

Let’s hope that those who set the game/Will lose their lust for wealth and fame/Humility will rule the day/And all around will be fair play.

The petty minds will open wide/And we will bask in common pride/This is my greatest dream/At seventy.”



  1. Gordon permalink
    March 31, 2017 6:10 am

    Wow! Perfect! What more can be said. The lyrics alone would have been worth the price of admission. Thanks for writing, thanks for sharing what many of us feel but can’t put into words.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    March 31, 2017 9:31 am

    Poignant lyrics, Allen in Wonderland. Glad the creative juices continue to flow. “Wheeze” sounds fun. InveterateTeacher

  3. April 18, 2017 9:07 am

    I agree with Gordon and Anonymous, and am impressed. -Kate

    • April 18, 2017 2:11 pm

      Hey, Kate. Glad to know that you survived another prairie winter. Any Americans wandering around your property yet?

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