Dash DeWitt here, finally ready to share the harrowing but inspiring tale of this year’s Broadway pilgrimage. A tale of despair and a tale of hope. A tale of artistic failure and triumph. Let me explain.
This year I planned to see the kicky 1960s romp, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” I was anticipating a fun-filled, raucous evening of catchy songs, pencil skirts and Jonas Brothers. However, due to a grave error, my now former travel agent got me tickets to the Philip Seymour Hoffman revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dash, it’s a classic!” “Dash, it was directed by stage/screen/comedy legend Mike Nichols!” “But Dash, you love Andrew Garfield!” These things are all true. But I am a man of principle, and my number one principle states that it is not worth going to see a Broadway show if there is no singing and/or dancing in it. I went all the way to New York and didn’t see one glittery costume! Talk about “attention must be paid!”
So when I returned to BlueBell, I set out to right this wrong, and four weeks later launched my original opus, the new Dash DeWitt musical “Dance of a Salesman!” (Yes, the exclamation point is part of the title.) An all-star BlueBell cast featured Eric Sunberg as Willy Loman, Beverly Mayfair as Linda Loman, and Tom Long as Biff.
Since the dreary ending of the original play obviously wouldn’t work for a musical, “Dance of a Salesman!” ends with Willy Loman’s proud family watching as his wins salesman of the year. At the ceremony Willy announces he is retiring, so he and Linda can take some time to travel the world. He hands off the family business to Biff, and they do a grand tap number to symbolize the passing of the torch. And then they actually pass a torch! The pyrotechnics in this show were divine, if I do say so myself.
Original songs included, “You Can’t Put a Price on a Salesman,” “Happy’s Happy To Live at Home,” and the big finale, “Attention Has Been Paid!” My original plan for Willy and Linda to ride in on an elephant during the finale did not pan out, so they led Burt Reynolds in on a leash instead. That had its own majesty, but I may try again with the elephant when we revive it.
So although my theater trip this year was incredibly disappointing, I am grateful that it inspired me to create my opus. And what kind of artist would I be if I couldn’t pull a glorious phoenix from the ashes of mediocrity?
Death of a Salesman: C -
Dance of a Salesman!: A+