If there’s a stupider thing than this that’s been seen on a Broadway stage, I’m not familiar with it. This piece of rock-bottom literary blasphemy comes from the same guy who gave us the stage versions of Xanadu and Sister Act, but it makes those works look like Pacific Overtures.
If you’re lucky enough to not be familiar with the plot of this theatrical garbage, well, sorry, but I had to listen to it and I’m determined to share the pain with someone. You know how Aristophenes’ classic play Lysistrata was about the women of Athens withholding sex from their menfolk until they agreed to end their war with Sparta? Well, this show turns that into a College cheerleader at ‘Athens University’ named (you guessed it) Lysistrata Jones, who convinces her cheerleading squad to withhold sex from the school’s underperforming basketball team (named, so help me God, the Spartans) until they win a game.
Yes, that’s right…the authors took a work of great literature and trivialized it to such a degree that it makes the A Tale of Two Cities musical look positively reverent by comparison. And yes, I know that Lysistrata was always a sex comedy, but it was a sex comedy with a deeper meaning. This just sounds like another stupid, low-budget teen sex movie in the same vein as the endless string of American Pie sequels, and it certainly has no place on Broadway.
And if you’re wondering, no, the score does not provide any redeeming value. The show opens with a musical fakeout featuring solemn, ominous music of the kind we might actually associate with a great literary work, and then breaks into a raucous pop song, “Right Now”, which actually taunts us with the words “So sue us/it’s public domain”, as if it knew it was pissing all over a great work of literature but was secure in the knowledge that it could get away with it. From there on, the score is basically an attempt to bring the absolute worst elements of modern pop music to a Broadway stage.
The show also seems to be aware of the utter triviality of the plot and is clearly desperate to make you care about it, such as in the laughably intense anthem “Change the World”, or the heavy-breathing first-act finale “Where Am I Now”, or “Hold On”, the show’s only halfway decent song, with its invocation of Susan B. Anthony and environmental protesters, or the cheap, faux-inspirational climactic number “Give It Up”. This may not be the worst musical of the new millennium so far, but it is without a doubt the stupidest.