Bathtubs Over Broadway
MAD | Music/Art/Design
Where did stars Chita Rivera, Martin Short and the late Florence Henderson (all present here), and Broadway composer Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago) get their starts? In an obscure corner of the entertainment world known as "industrial" musicals: all-singing, all-dancing musicals commissioned by corporate America from the 1950s through the 1980s to entertain employees and celebrate, say, bathroom fixtures or Fords. Dava Whisenant’s supremely entertaining film follows industrial-musical obsessive Steve Young (a former writer for David Letterman, who puts in an appearance) as he uncovers a hidden world that is as delightful as it is tacky. And lucrative, as well—Young details how performers could make much more money singing and dancing their way through odes to the wonders of sliced bread than they could make on Broadway. Special emphasis is given to the legendary (among industrial-musical nuts, at least) The Bathrooms Are Coming and its creator Sid Siegel, the acknowledged king of the genre. No amount of description can really do justice to the inspired and often-hilarious earnestness that went into these productions—they have to be seen (and heard) to be believed.
"Audiences having no familiarity with the wacky world of industrial musicals are in for a treat! Get ready to laugh, sing, cheer, and be dazzled by the unsung art of capitalist show tunes."—Patrick Mullen, POV
Best New Documentary Director, Tribeca 18