…The further we get from shows with a valid role for Barbara Cook, the further we get from what is enjoyable. This may be an insufferably eccentric opinion, but I don’t want to see a musical treating Christina Rossetti, a transsexual rocker, or a bat. (Ethan Mordden, The Happiest Corpse I’ve Ever Seen)
The Happiest Corpse, widely considered Mordden’s worst book, is a goldmine for stupid quotes, but I chose to start it off with one that’s a little bit different. Now, the problem with this quote isn’t that it’s patently stupid on its face. It isn’t even that it’s a completely indefensible position. No, the problem with this quote, as anyone who’s ever read Mordden knows, is that Mordden doesn’t actually think this. He just came up with a clever quote and didn’t want to waste it because of something as unimportant as ‘logic’ or ‘consistency’. We are talking a man who literally considers Michael John Lachiusa to be the next Sondheim. Hell, this line comes right after the end of a chapter where he discusses ‘new talent’, and of the shows he praises in that chapter, only _two_ have any roles that Barbara Cook could possibly play (they are Big River and Floyd Collins, if you were wondering). And yes, I know what he actually meant by that, but the presence of The Falsettos (about a neurotic gay couple, one of whom dies at the end), Floyd Collins (about a man who gets stuck in a cave and dies), Sunday In the Park With George (about a painting), and Marie Christine (about a modern-day Medea) pretty much prove my point anyway. Usually, as far as I can tell, Mordden’s batshit-crazy opinions are really what he believes, but here, he’s just blatantly contradicting himself for the sake of sounding clever.