When Pigs Fly
A musical revue in 2 acts. Conceived by Howard Crabtree and Mark Waldrop. Sketches and Lyrics by Mark Waldrop. Music by Dick Gallagher
Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, New York 1st August, 1996
This hit Off-Broadway revue takes a hilarious look at gay life in the 1990s. It returns to the revue format (think New Faces of 1952) that worked so well in Howard Crabtree's Whoop-Dee-Doo. It's a grab bag of songs, dances, sketches, and running gags— ' unified by a gay sensibility that combines a love of tradi tional musical theatre, a taste for outrageous visual humour, and a delight in shameless wordplay. These elements are strung upon the slenderest of plot threads.
Once again Howard is a mad genius costume designer, putting on the show he's always dreamed of doing. Once again he's beset by complications brought on by his oversized vision. Once again he triumphs over adversity with a final burst of inspiration. But the linking story is not where the focus lies. The individual numbers are the meat of the show. In When Pigs Fly the empty stage becomes a kind of dreamscape populated by Howard's fevered imagination. The audience never knows who or what it will see next. A bare-breasted mermaid? A Garden of Eden tableau? Bette Davis as Baby Jane slinging a life-size Joan Crawford rag doll around? They all get into the act. Each freshly revealed character will have something to say, usually through song, that provides a skewed but revelatory reflection of what it is to be gay in the 1990s. Though the spirit is gay — in both senses of the word — the tone is inclusive, and always the tilt is towards the universal. When Pigs Fly is completely accessible to anyone who can appreciate being smart and silly at the same time. Welcome to Howard's world....
Story - & Musical Numbers
Excelsior Springs High School, 1972. Miss Roundhole — the guidance counsellor from Hell — and her "sensible" career recommendations will return to torment Howard throughout the show as things go progressively more awry. One question haunts him: could she have been right? (NOTE For those of you who might not know, Dream Curly is a featured role in Oklahoma!. In high school productions it's usually delegated to any boy able—or willing—to dance in a "dream ballet'). We boomerang back to the here and now. Howard, joined by his pastel-clad Dream Curly cohorts, kicks off the evening with a traditional bouncy title song. During the number Howard's high school Dream Curly ensemble (a rather crude attempt at cowboy glamour featuring denim, glitter, glue, and decorative ribbon) is replaced by a snappier, all-pink version with rhinestones and spangled vinyl chaps.
You've Got To Stay In the Game
Advice to the lovelorn from four big queens.The mistresses of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs see what's in the cards for players who've been disappointed in romance.
Torch singers traditionally love someone who doesn't love them. But Jay, clad in an impeccable white dinner jacket and brandishing a chiffon hankie, carries the genre to extremes.
Light In the Loafers
Song-and-dance men David and John strike a blow for daring to be who you are, illuminating their point with light-up footwear.
Stanley as Carol Ann Knippel, a small-town theatrical impresario with a mission: to save musical comedy as we know it. Armed only with paper, pen—and a blissful lack of taste—she gives it her all. Along the way she's aided and abetted by John as Quasimodo, Jay as Esmeralda, David and Michael as gargoyles, and John and Jay again acting as butlers to a certain ageing Broadway diva.
Not All Man
David plays a hunky centaur who's never bothered to look over his shoulder and see what's instantly apparent to everyone else.
Jay serves up another helping of unrequited love. This seems to be a pattern with him.
A Patriotic Finale
Yes, it's that staple of the revue form an old-fashioned flag waver. John, in a Music Man inspired band uniform, leads the cast in a spirited reminder to those who may have forgotten that America's strength lies in her diversity. (Stanley puts in an appearance as the Statue of Liberty.)
Wear Your Vanity with Pride
Restoration-era dandies and their ladies, staggering under oversized wigs and suffocated by their corsets— but willing to endure any torment for the sake of looking good—make a surprising point: the audience has more in common with them than it might imagine. In a typical Crabtree touch, by the end of the number, the ladies are literally wearing their dressing tables as skirts.
Hawaiian Wedding Day
Michael, in sailor's whites, imagines the possibilities.
Shaft Of Love
Jay, as a nearsighted Cupid, presents three hapless victims of his erratic archery: John, Stanley, and Michael, looking like refugees from a bad '70s lounge act.They sport sparkly pink arrows through the heart, head, and crotch, respectively.
Sam and Me
David with a ditty that proves people aren't always who and what you think they are. Stanley, as usual, gets in the last word.
Bigger Is Better
John, plumed and bejeweled à la Betty Grable, becomes a generously proportioned showgirl— the perfect embodiment of Howard's entertainment credo.
This man needs help.
Jay drops the chiffon hankie and addresses audience members who might feel that—in view of what's going on in the world today—the evening's frivolity is... um... inappropriate.
Miss Roundhole Returns/Over the Top/When Pigs Fly
Howard exorcises Miss Roundhole and finishes his show with one bold master stroke: an opulent Ziegfeld-style showgirl parade wherein the "showgirls" are decked out in—among other things— kitty-kat wall clocks, rubber chickens, plastic swan planters, and shower curtains trimmed in toilet brushes. Howard is transformed into the dreamiest Dream Curly imaginable, complete with twenty-gallon hat and white feather chaps sprinkled with strobing stars. Individuality triumphs over conformity. And — oh, yes — a pig flies.