Thursday, December 22, 2011

Songun: the Musical

One wonders what Andrew Lloyd Webber is thinking now that Kim Jong-il has passed away? As you may recall ALW was the composer of the huge hit Evita, based on the life of Eva Peron and the myth of KJi has all the ingredients for a great musical. In order of importance here are the keywords one would imagine accompanying any post about the musical worth its salt: Crowds (KJi drew huge crowds willing to starve for him), Trains (he had his own luxury train similar to the one that Franklin Delano Roosevelt cruised across the country in when he was seeking his office), Platform shoes (KJi who loved film and kept a large collection of Western classics probably got the idea of wearing them from Saturday Night Fever), Shades (KJi got the idea of wearing them from another popular 70's film Superfly, which had a famous soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield), WMD’s (KJi presided over North Korea’s entrance into the nuclear arms club and dreamt of sponsoring a meeting of the club in Pyongyang as a way of sticking his tongue out at the South Korean leadership who once hosted the Olympics in Seoul), Army (got to give it to you KJi or your policy of "songun, or 'army first,'" reported in the Times; creating the "fifth largest" standing army of 1.1 million in a country of almost 30 million mostly starving people is nothing short of amazing and merits its own tune---how about “If I were a Manchurian Candidate…” to the tune of Elton John’s “Your Song.”), Hair (KJi had a legendary hairdo that was created for him by the famed salon Helena of Pyongyang but do we envision the KJi of the musical as Warren Beatty in Shampoo or as one of the cast of John Waters’ Hairspray?—probably the latter), charm (KJi was secretive and murderous, but apparently could be quite engaging; the Times obit, "Kim Jong-il, Dictator Who Turned North Korea Into a Nuclear State, Dies,” NYT, 12/18/11 quotes the State Department’s Wendy Sherman as saying, “He was smart, engaged, knowledgeable, self-confident, sort of the master-director of all he surveyed.”), Secrets (Mike Meyers and Sacha Baron Cohen are definitely candidates for the part of KJi as KJi was obviously influenced by both Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Borat to the extent that like a lot of imaginative people he exercised a certain degree of self-invention in the creation of his own persona, based on the many of the films he saw), Bergman (apparently Kji possessed the Criterion Collection version of The Seventh Seal, but apparently was offended by the scene where the Knight plays chess with Death.) Shogun was the title of best seller by James Clavell. Why not call this musical Songun or You’re in the Army Now?

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