We are happy that DPS member William Zeffiro has his new musical opening this week. The Road to Ruin is a throwback to the old musicals of the 1920s. The 1928 Exploitation Musical has “sex, bad mommies, worse daddies, bottled water and Christians conspire to bring down Little Sally Canfield, ‘The Nicest Girl at Central High.’ ”
Bill plays “5 Questions” to talk about the show. Ticket info is on the bottom of the article. We asked Bill:
What would happen if Gov. Sarah Palin attended The Road to Ruin?
If Governor Palin attended R2R she would think it was 100% serious (which it is) and she would be forever bereft that she hadn’t seen the show before her current predicament.
What drew you to this material?
I have always been drawn to the 20’s, as reflected through my lifelong love of Mrs. Parker, the music of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Noel Coward etc, and the plays of Kaufman and Hart. Through my six year friendship with Kay Swift, I was fortunate enough to have a direct connection with one of the great ladies (and composers) of the era. Kay actually knew all of those incredible people and I loved to hear her anecdotes. Because of this, I’ve always felt a bit closer to the 20’s than your average aging baby boomer.
What will audiences see and hear in The Road to Ruin?
I think audiences will be struck by the number of parallels there are between the 20’s and our current insanity. We had three putz presidents in a row from 1921-1933 (Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover) and a lot of the nonsense that we now take for granted began in the 20’s. I have all the ladies of the town guzzling bottled water laced with radium (Radithor) to improve their constitutions and lose weight. Radithor was a real product, and quite successful in achieving weight loss. It also resulted in hair loss, holes in the skull and death. But no one died fat! My character, young Jimmy Goodhue read the best seller of 1925 and ’26, The Man Nobody Knows. This was one of the first books to say that corporate greed and the desire to legally rob the economy had a basis in Christianity. Sound familiar? The show also has fun with meditation, aphrodisiacs, right to lifers and the pro choice folks. The score has the sound of the 20’s and the lyrics evoke the theater songs of the time (although I have allowed myself to be a bit more naughty!)
What has been the most fun about working on this project?
Everything!!! I must hasten to add that seeing this idea that I had in 1998 and began working on it in 2002 come to life with this incredible cast is a dream come true! I can’t believe this many people are bringing so much talent and conviction to one of my ideas.
Have you ever been on the Road to Ruin, and how do others get there?
I have been on The Road To Ruin, The Causeway To Catastrophe, and ever so briefly on The Path To Pleasure.
Thanks, Bill! If you are interested in attending:
The 45th Street Theater at 8PM
September 18, 19, 21, 25, and 28th
October 1 at 4:30 PM.
Tickets are available at www.nymf.org or at Ovation Tix (212) 352-3101.