Excerpt: Kung Fu Snow White

When I was teaching drama in Tokyo, I could never find the *perfect* script that I wanted, and had to just rely on “good enough” scripts. I’d happy to report that, regardless of the script choice, we always had a ton of fun and made every performance something worthwhile. Now, I’m not saying that I could ever write an original, “perfect” script by any means, but I’m reasonably confident I could manage an original “good enough” one. And thus was born the idea of “Kung Fu Snow White and the Seven Ninjas.”  Cut to three years later, and I never finished things beyond Act One. Maybe it’s about time I brushed that off and see if I could complete it?  Here’s a sample, when the villains, “Number One Student,” her underlings (Newt and Toad), and a Tournament Planner, wonder what to do about Snow White and the upcoming kung fu tournament…

 

TOURNAMENT PLANNER
You know, speaking of make-up stylists, I have a great resource I can make available to you for just a small surcharge to the “fairy tale set” package. Are you ready for this? A magic mirror.

(TOAD and NEWT react appreciatively)

NUMBER ONE
What kind of magic mirror?

PLANNER
You know, it reveals things. Magically.

TOAD
The future?

PLANNER
Well, no.

NEWT
The past.

PLANNER
Not really.

NUMBER ONE
What good is a revelation if it’s not about the past or future?

PLANNER
It reveals . . . the Truth.

NUMBER ONE
Oh! The ultimate Truth?

PLANNER
Is there any other kind?

NUMBER ONE
Ooh! Well, then by all means, by all means. Let’s bring it in here.
(to TOAD and NEWT, as the PLANNER exits)
I didn’t realize guests like that charming Smile-guy would be coming already. Distract them! Yes, distract them until we get everything … properly ready.

(TOAD and NEWT salute, bow and kowtow, exiting opposite. Enter the MAGIC MIRROR. It can be as elaborate as wheeled prop, as simple as a frame for the actor’s head, or as funny/unexpected as a TV displaying a live feed. The actor can poke his/her head through a curtain when summoned, according to the prop.)

Ah! Truly it is a Magic Mirror, my lucky looking-glass! So far I fail to see my glorious reflection, but maybe it just needs the magic words?
(beat)
“OK, Glass.” Answer me this question…

MAGIC MIRROR
(after revealing its face)
Home screen, start up tone:
“Hello, User! Please sign in.”
Username, password

NUMBER ONE
(sighs, then as fast as possible)
numberone4ever underscore 38 at shifu temple dot CO dot CN password beiberfever 1234 baby baby oh

MAGIC MIRROR
Welcome screen home page
“How can I help you today?”
Search field, cursor blinks.

NUMBER ONE
Answer me this question. Who is the best, most brilliant, skilled, sexy, and, most humble, most deserving, and all around ultimate student of the land?

MAGIC MIRROR
Unfortunate beep.
Question is not recognized.
How can I help you?

NUMBER ONE
Don’t tell me.
(checks behind the mirror)
Of course. “Made in Japan,” so it’s set on Haiku mode or something. All right, let’s see–
Student falls, pleading.
Who is the most ultimate?
The mirror reveals!

MAGIC MIRROR
That’s better. Ahem.

Winter fields of snow;
Stepping prayer-like through her forms,
Lowly woman bows.

NUMBER ONE
That doesn’t sound like me at all.

MAGIC MIRROR
It’s Snow, Okay? Snow.
(Pause, then counts the syllables with his/her fingers)
Snow-Snow, Snow-Snow, Snow-Snow-Snow.
Just so you know– Snow.

NUMBER ONE
Okay, Glass… Take a hike!
(recites)
One swift uppercut.
Thousand shards of glass falling.
SMASHED like all my hopes!

MAGIC MIRROR
Gulp! Screen saver, on!

EXIT MAGIC MIRROR

 

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Captain Marvel: The Musical, Part 2

Welcome back from the intermission!
(Act One & Two are here.)

Captainmarvel

ACT THREE— Our big number here is “The City Needs a Hero” with Mr. Tawky Tawny Chorus-ing it up as Captain Marvel performs various acts of do-goodery, mirroring Billy Batson’s opening number from before. There’s even some of that sadness from before, too. His heroic acts are also a search for Dudley and Freddie, and he still feels as lonely as before.

Before he can be too glum, the song reprises almost immediately, into the “I Need a Hero” torch-song/lounge version, as Lust makes her appearance. Ultimately, however, a sultry dance number like that ends up lost on Captain Marvel, who of course is really a boy at heart, and he transforms back into Billy! His longing is for something more meaningful. He wants a family, and for now, the City will have to do. That sense of security is enough to melt Lust, and Mr. Tawny points out with pride that Billy has found the true way to defeat the Seven Deadly Enemies, by feeling their opposite.

Shazam! Mr. Tawny watches Marvel fly away, and the spirit of the Wizard suddenly appears, whisking Tawny to the Rock of Eternity– the same cave of wonders Billy had found himself in before, but this time, more of the statues are broken/crumbled. The Wizard’s spirit warns Tawny that Billy, like EVERYONE, must be true to their BEST self. Tawny turns mournful, and sings about his time as a true tiger, and about how he once dared to believe he could walk among humans. But it’s hard. He wonders “At What Cost”– is the price to continue furthering himself too much? Maybe it’s cheaper to give it up and return to what he once was.

Back to the Silvanas– where Freddie and Dudley have been captured and hidden away in a lab, guarded by Silvana and his animated robots, while Mary, a prisoner in a different way, cannot escape Beautia and her legion of maids.

Everyone sings “Is It My Turn?”, split in rounds and featuring their own plaintive hopes, or fears– Freddie wonders where Captain Marvel is and why he can’t be the hero; Dudley is ready to give up and doesn’t want to play anymore; Silvana revels in the power of tapped spirits; Beautia is ready to make Mary in her own image, the same she will do for the City as their mayor, and Mary is just … angry! Mary’s anger crashes the song into her own disruptive, tempo-changing number, “Stop Everything!” Beautia sends her maids-in-arms against Mary, but Mary is more than Mary– she’s become Anger itself, and escapes! For perhaps the first time in her life, Beautia wonders, did she do the right thing?

ACT FOUR—-
Mary/Anger emotions carry her through the City, alternatively reaching out/lashing out. Luckily, Captain Marvel is there! He tries to calm her/it down, staying on the defensive, but it seems futile. As the last effort, Captain Marvel will show his good faith by transforming into Billy Batson. Shazam! The lightening that restores his form also reveals Anger as Mary! There’s a connection there! He could share his transformative lightning, because she’s his long-lost sister! By sharing their common experiences, they realize “I Finally Found You,” and together, they can heal their loneliness, heal their anger. And together, they can find their way back to Silvana’s lab!

The reprise of “The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man,” with Silvana giddy like a child that he’s discovered the secrets of controlling life itself. Just like Mary, he begins the transformation so that Freddie can give in to his Envy, and Dudley his Sloth. There’s just one Deadly Enemy left….

But before that could happen, Billy and Mary try to sneak in. Mary points out the giant power source to try to unplug the various machines, but it’s too late, as Silvana is determined to bring Pride to life! Beautia wonders if it’s possible. Could Silvana have gone to far?! NEVER!!!

Bang! Crash! Emerging from the smoke and light, Tawky Tawny, the embodiment of Pride, in battle array! It’s true! Pride allowed him to transcend from being a mere jungle cat, and now Silvana has brought forth Tawny’s true power! The “The One True Deadly Enemy of Man!” Silvana demands allegience, and will send all he has animated against Tawny/Pride, even Freddie/Envy and Dudley/Sloth!

Billy knows what will really stop this. And with another Shazam, he shares his power– it’s Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel to the rescue. Captain Marvel and Freddie/Envy half-fight, half-talk through their issues, until SHAZAM! Freddie turns into Captain Marvel Jr.! Mary Marvel and Dudley/Sloth half-fight, half-slapstick, because, eh, it’s Sloth after all. Shazam! Dudley turns into Uncle Marvel!

Captain Marvel knows the only thing that can stop Tawny — a sacrifice. He changes into Billy Batson and pleads below the figure of Tawny/Pride, which actually pauses to regard this little hero. He would do this… for him? Silvana is horrified– he would not want to see such power destroyed; it is HIS to control! He rushes toward Billy with a power-sparking conduit, taunting him to shazam his way out of THIS. Captain Marvel Jr. manages to tackle Silvana aside, and Mary Marvel/Uncle Marvel pull the power like her original plan. Billy’s form is lifeless. Tawny/Pride shrinks, mourning the true sacrifice. Tawny has tried hard to avoid the pride that consumes him, and maybe, just maybe, Billy will let him do so again! COME…

Tawny has brought all to the Rock of Eternity, the statues of the enemies, except Pride, have all be restored. Tawny explains Billy’s selflessness has allowed Tawny to once again take up his OTHER self, as one of the Seven Great Angels of Man — Servanthood. With a touch, Tawny gives up his Pride-power so Billy can be healed! Happy reunions are cut off by the sudden blazing of braziers, and the spirit of the Wizard of Shazam appears! He affirms Tawny’s choice, and remarks how never before has the earth been guarded by FOUR Marvels. Truly, Billy Batson is the hero Earth has been waiting for. As for Silvana, he will indeed take the power of Pride, but will remain trapped here, taking the place of Tawny as the embodiment of Pride and transformed into a statue in his stead, with Beautia exiled to the Rock of Eternity to care for the statues as a price for her vanity.

The City rejoices. It’s the joyous final number, a rousing version of “The City Needs(Has) a Hero,” with Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and yes, even Uncle Marvel over there. And at the end, Mr. Tawky Tawny invites the audience, too, to find the Marvel inside of each of them. Wink!

and.. CURTAIN!

Justice_League_0_Shazam_Alt_Cover

Captain Marvel: The Musical

The ORIGINAL Captain Marvel

shazam5

“SHAZAM!” 

Whenever you see that word, doesn’t it just make you want to say it with “jazz hands!” like it’s the title of some Broadway production?

Wait a minute… a 1940s cultural icon, featuring a young but plucky orphan, a talking tiger, and larger-than-life fantastical plots? Why the CC Beck has this NOT been turned into a theatrical musical?

In might go, something like this … Overture, maestro!

tawkytawny

PROLOGUE– Wandering on stage, a Tiger in a Suit. Mr. Tawky Tawny introduces himself– he is our Chorus, after all, and he hints at a world of wonder and spirit just beyond what we can see. And how it doesn’t take a special person to cut through the noise of life. It could be anyone at all…

Billy_Batson

ACT ONE- … like little Billy Batson in Fawcett City.As the City unfolds with its many citizens, Billy sings how “The City is My Playground!” He’s an orphan, living on his own, but he’s also strangely responsible for these people– his presence brings happiness to others and, yes, even inspiration. But it ends on a note of sadness, too, because as much as Billy tries to create a family from the various citizens in interacts with, it will always fall short of his ideal of family.

Other citizens aren’t quite as nice. There’s Dr. Silvana and his daughter, Beautia. Beatuia isn’t convinced that Fawcett City is the crown jewel of the East, but Silvana says it’s perfect for her needs, her drive to become Mayor, maybe even, Governor! Her “Best Foot Forward!” is a perfectly constructed vision of herself– complete with recently adopted daughter, Mary! Too bad Mary is such a petulant brat.

There’s also “Uncle” Dudley H. Dudley and young Freddie Freeman, a couple of con artists who try to run a scam on the Silvanas, you know, the one where the kid pretends to have a lame leg? Well, don’t run a con on supervillains! Silvana flies into a rage, displaying his latest invention, Animatorium, which brings parts of the city to life! With amazing feats of puppetry, costume, and dance, Dudley and Freddie are at Silvana’s mercy, and while Dudley flees, Freddie is hurt– this time for real! It’s up to Mary to save the day, as she convinces Beautia, and thus Silvana, that showing compassion will be good for her upcoming political career. Freddie is thankful, and maybe a bit smitten, but in fact Mary’s just as selfish as any of them– after all, if there is nowhere else for her to go, she is determined to hitch a ride along with Silvanas, who are “On The Way Up!”

Mr. Tawny ‘guides’ Dudley into finding Billy, the hero of the neighborhood. Billy’s heard all about Unca Dud’s kind of shenanigans, though, and is reluctant to help him. As Tawny’s refrain echoes, Billy reaffirms “Help is Where the Heart Is” and tries to make a plan.

sivana BeautiaSivana

ACT TWO–
At the site of Beautia’s upcoming press conference/stadium, Freddie tries (unsuccessfully) to get close Mary, but she does reveal a bit about the mysterious night she was left as an orphan. He at least convinces them to spy on Silvana and Beautia, and Silvana gets to reveal his own purpose for Fawcett City, in a villainous version of “The City is My Playground!” After all, he gets his own city-wide petri dish for his own experiments, such as using the Animatorium to control people’s minds! Well, isn’t that an unfortunate time to catch Freddie and Mary sneaking around!

Equally unfortunate that Dudley and Billy show up, too, posing as reporters for Whiz Radio. They almost convince Beautia, but Silvana soon sees through their ruse. He promises no happy ending. After all, “The World Is a Bad, Bad Place”, using his Animatorium to bring to life literal embodiments of Dudley’s greatest enemies– Greed and Gluttony. Silvana is just playing around because he can, while Beautia sees it as a warning for others. They leave them all to the destruction that Greed and Gluttony brings to the scene.

Billy awakens in a darkened scene, the abandoned subway tunnels he has fallen into. Mr. Tawky Tawny is there to offer “Help (is) Where the Hero Is,” and the two meet. Tawny guides him past the statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, some of which are broken– namely, Greed, Gluttony, and Pride. He leads him to the Wizard of Shazam, who explains Billy has been saved to bring his hope to the city above. He blesses Billy with the powers of Shazam, transforming him into Earth’s mightiest mortal, but another earthquake, thanks to the havoc above, causes the other statues to break, and a rock to fall on the Wizard! Billy is left only with a sacred charge– and, now Captain Marvel, he flies off!

In the City, Greed & Gluttony are twisting the people into a strange Thriller-like dance to “The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man.” It’s a huge showstopper as Captain Marvel descends, fighting off enemy-controlled goons and finally taking out the Big Bad Enemies themselves.

Silvana and Beautia are both intrigued and inspired — inspired to crush this hero before it’s too late!

INTERMISSION …

rossshazam

To be continued, here in Part 2!