Marc Shaiman is a Hollywood songwriter and arranger. I especially admire his parody lyrics for Billy Crystal on Oscar night. This Sinatra rewrite from the Academy Awards a few years back I like so much I sang it late one night on last month’s NR cruise:
You see a pair of laughing eyes
Your hand stands creeping up her thighs
You hurry to that spot
You’re hot to trot
For this dame
It’s The Crying Game..
Sadly, Prop 8: The Musical (with an all-starrish cast) is not his best work. Indeed, the stern-faced theocratic bigots in monochrome Sunday-best underline Jonah’s point that Hollywood liberals are beating up on Mormons because they’re the softest targets. If every single Mormon in California had voted for Prop 8, it would have been overwhelmingly defeated. Instead, it passed – in part because of Obama’s coat-tails: He drew a large black turnout, and regrettably for Mr. Shaiman the majority of those blacks voted ”anti-gay”. What, no “Ol’ Man River” parodies about homophobic stevedores?
How about the Hispanics? “Ev’rything’s Straight In A-me-ric-ca!” And, if it’s religious intolerance you want to take a swipe at, where’s the big dance number set at the Oakland Halal butchers?
Ah, but then you might get a more motivated crowd waiting at the stage door, right?
As I said, Mr. Shaiman is a talented guy. But this is a feeble and dishonest work of which he should be ashamed.
[UPDATE: A reader writes in defense of the casting:
It seemed nearly every group of Christians was represented. Catholics (a black priest), charismatic afro-american worship (black woman with the “crown”,) and various other groups. I don’t believe I heard the word Mormon once. The attack, if you can call it that, was targetted at all socially conservative faithful.
Second, the number of black people on the prop 8 side correlated to the pop. percentage of blacks who voted. Shaiman made sure they were highly visible. This seems quite honest.
I confess I hadn’t counted up the blacks. But why the stereotypical Garb of the Uptight? The cunning thing about all these Prop 8 homophobes is that many of them dress in the same bright, life-affirming colors as the smiley-faced gays stage left.
Also: Mr. Shaiman’s suggestion that, by voting down gay marriage, Californians are missing out an economic boom is the kind of shaky arithmetic that’s reduced the Golden State to a basket-case begging for a bailout.]