Via Galactica or What the Hell, Broadway?

Opened: November 28, 1972

Closed: December 2, 1972

Number of Performances: 7

There has been much talk and debate over what is the worst flop in Broadway history. A lot of people point out the musical version of Carrie. It should be noted that though Carrie is a hard musical to watch, swallow, or shoot up; it at least had a plot. The same cannot be said for Via Galactica.

Via Galactica, from what I can gather, is a musical about… something. The basic gist is that there are a group of outcasts that are living on an asteroid. Oh, yeah, and the year is 2972.

On this asteroid, we find a man named Gabriel Finn. Gabriel Finn is a blue (literally) “space sanitation” man that picks up trash in garbage shipped named the Helen of Troy. This ship leads him to the above mentioned asteroid (named Ithica) and beyond that I have no idea what is going on. The songs, and almost the entire show was intended to be sang rather than spoken, leave no clue as to what is happening and I honestly could not care less.

The most interesting thing about the show was what was involved with the production. The show, which played in the Uris (Now Gershwin) Theatre on Broadway, made heavy use of trampolines onstage. Even better than that, laser light shows, random trapeze dances, and a man who was nothing more than a head all make this show interesting enough to see.

Who cares if it’s absolute drivel? Give an trampolines covering a stage as part of a musical, and you’ve got butts in your seats… sometimes.

Interesting Fact: The musical was originally titled Up! Producers felt that that may look awkward with “Uris Theatre” following it on the marquee.

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Oliver Richman-Defying Gravity

Nine year old Oliver Richman has become an overnight sensation to anyone that knows or cares about anything Broadway (about seven people). His performance of the song “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked has left more people spellbound than the top ticket price for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. So what’s so special about him?

I was introduced to Oliver when creepy pictures of him kept popping up on the ad-bar for Facebook. These I chose to ignore. When he began making appearances on the news sections of many Broadway websites, I still ignored him. It was not until he began popping up on message boards and people began ripping on him that I decided to check out his video.

It needs to be said that obviously Mr. Richman is talented. He could be out in the world, tipping over old ladies and drinking glue like a normal nine year old, but no. Oliver chose* to show the world his gift of a magical voice, and for that I applaud him. Some other people might not, so here’s hoping that he attends a performing arts school.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what really needs to be discussed is this music video. How has thing won no awards? I was in tears when the old woman** at the beginning of the video expressed her sentiments to the kid. Put this woman on Broadway and give her a Tony***.

Then the singing began. For those of you that are familiar with the song probably know that it is typically sung by a girl with a bad complexion and an unnatural ability to fly****. In this video, none of that happens. Instead, Oliver Richman has to suffer the trials and tribulations of a sunny day on some beach. As he belts through the song, we see him strike the infamous Titanic Jack and Rose pose with someone that can only be considered his sister. Awkward.

But the fun does not end there! Oliver proceeds to move onto many more locations, while clad in a red shirt and sunglasses.  We see him running down a row of miniature columns, looking something like if John Doyle had tried to direct Gladiator*****. The scenes continue as Oliver can be seen twisting, turning, and having a seizure whilst running down a boardwalk, some more beach, and a rather odd looking hill.

The highlight of the entire video occurs right on that rather odd looking hill. Oliver proceeds to tell all of Oz that “No wizard that there is or was is ever gonna bring me down!!!” complete with epic riffs. This is fine when watching Wicked. It’s a bit odd when a nine year old screams it at the hills of California.

All in all, the video is amazing. Watch it, learn it, live it, love it.

6/5 STARS

*Or at least his mother did.

**Mother? Grandmother? Sister with an aging defect?

*** I’ll settle for a Drama Desk Award.

****WITCHCRAFT.