Hollywood icon Cary Grant, Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, and playwright-turned-politician Clare Boothe Luce had all tripped on LSD during the 1950s, when the psychedelic drug was still legal and the beatniks were the youthful upstarts pissing off The Establishment, not the hippies (that would come a decade later).
Now, a new musical coming to Broadway will imagine these three monumental American figures coming together to, ya know, trip out on some more LSD.
Titled Flying Over Sunset, the show’s first act will depict Grant, Huxley, and Luce getting high as balls separately, on their own. The second act will throw all three figures together — again, while tripping balls — and who knows what kind of down-the-rabbit-hole insanity will come with the third act. The actors will only perform musical numbers while their characters are under the full effects of their ergot-derived hallucinogen.
Speaking of the actors, Grant will be played by Tony Yazbeck (On the Town), Carmen Cusack (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) will play Luce, and Harry Hadden-Paton (My Fair Lady) will star as Huxley.
As for the rest of the award-winning production crew, James Lapine, who wrote the book and will direct the Broadway musical, won a Pulitzer Prize and three Tony Awards. Tom Kitt, who wrote the music for Flying Over Sunset, won a Pulitzer and two Tonys. Michael Korie, who penned the musical’s lyrics, has received a Tony nod in the past. The show will also mark the first theater choreography by Michelle Dorrance, considered one of America’s top tap dancers.
Gallery — Bitchin' Blotter Paper:
“I didn’t know it was around in the ’50s, and it piqued my interest, so I started doing a little research,” Lapine recounted to the New York Times, who first got the idea for the story after reading about Cary Grant’s LSD use in a Vanity Fair article. “I started reading Aldous Huxley, who was writing about it, and discovered that Clare Boothe Luce of all people was using LSD, and it was easy to connect the dots."
“Each of the characters had extraordinary lives, chose unusual paths, and were in some ways self-invented,” he continued. The musical, he noted, “is about explorers — about people who reach a certain age, success, and notoriety, and want more. They want to know what’s beyond the world they live in.”
Well, how about that. LSD is still a Schedule I drug according to the federal government, but it looks like despite its outlaw status, it will take center stage at the nation’s most prestigious theatre network. Flying Over Sunset will debut on March 12, 2020. Its first performance at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, a Broadway venue, will take place April 16 — just before Bicycle Day.
Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter