BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY
This delightful documentary follows comedy writer Steve Young on his deep dive into the forgotten history of the elaborate, corporate-sponsored spectaculars known as industrial musicals.
After decades working at LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, self-described “cynical comedy writer” Steve Young isn’t easily amused. But in combing through bins of dusty records, Young stumbled upon a source of real joy: the industrial musical. Hitting their stride in an era when both industry and Broadway innovation were booming, these original productions were performed solely for industry insiders at corporate meetings and trade shows. With titles like “My Insurance Man” and “The Bathrooms Are Coming,” they took humble subjects like wheat, plastic wrap, and ball bearings and endowed them with pizzazz and surprising pathos. Director Dava Whisenant follows Young on his quest to learn more about these mysterious productions, tracking down the composers and performers who brought these shows to life. While some of the featured subjects of BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY (including Martin Short and Chita Rivera) went on to considerable renown, the true stars of the film are the many talented people whose contributions to musical theater remain unsung. Though numbers like “Detroit Diesel Dazzle” remain hilariously strange, audiences will come away from this fascinating, big-hearted film sharing Young’s sincere appreciation for the artistry and optimistic spirit behind these quintessentially American extravaganzas.
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