A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Scenes From Café Salmonella”

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While Gunther (Count Olaf) and Esme spend the evening at the penthouse, Jerome and the Baudelaires have dinner at Café Salmonella. Though it shares its name with a food disease, it’s actually a restaurant dedicated to salmon. As in everything there contains salmon even the dessert, which is disgusting in regards to ice cream. Oh, and the waiters wear salmon fish costumes while the walls have salmon decor, by the way. Anyway, the Baudelaires don’t have much of an appetite since their nemesis has come back into their lives. But their new guardians don’t believe them. Esme flips out over them. Jerome accusing the kids of being xenophobic since Gunther is supposed to be a foreigner. Yet, the children insist they aren’t. But it’s pointless because Jerome thinks arguments are useless and unnecessary. After all, he doesn’t like salmon but an argument about it would’ve gotten him nowhere. While Klaus states that he and they’d all have a meal they’d actually liked. Of course, Jerome could’ve taken the Baudelaires to a place they liked and lie about it to his wife like she wouldn’t notice. Then again, he didn’t want to see her explode over it when Esme saw them at a different restaurant in The Daily Punctilio.

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For this part, I chose Billy Joel’s “Scene’s from an Italian Restaurant” which chronicles a couple of popular kids who married right out of high school, only for their relationship to go down in a way you’d expect (i.e. a quick divorce). Yet, these two classmates reunite at this Italian restaurant which was most likely the Fontana di Trevi across New York City’s Carnegie Hall, yet there’s more than one real life counterpart. Joel has also called it the favorite song of his own. Yet, I doubt if it’s better than “Vienna,” “Honesty,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Summer, Highland Falls,” “This Night,” or others I can list. In this version, I have the Baudelaires reminiscing about the good old days and mulling over their current situation.

 

“Scenes from Café Salmonella”

Jerome:
A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rose instead
We’ll get a table near the street
At the most fashionable place
All of us face to face

A bottle of red, a bottle of white
What you mean you just have salmon wine?
They only serve salmon stuff
At the Café Salmonella

Violet:
Things are okay with us these days
Live in penthouse, got us new guardians
Got a new room, got a new life
And the family’s fine
Olaf’s at our home
Quagmires? We do not know
City ever looks so nice after
So much time

Klaus:
Do you remember those days hanging out
At the city green?
Reading our books, inventing gadgets
And biting things
Drop a dime in the box play the
Song about New Orleans
Thick books, warm lights
My sweet romantic tweenage nights

Violet:
Olaf and Esme are at
The penthouse
Talking the “In” Auction
At Veblen Hall
Sending us to this fishy place
That’s serves all salmon
We don’t look anywhere finer
I’d rather have steak at the
Parkway Diner
Not sure how Jerome feels leaving
Gunther with his wife
Surely we Baudelaire kids would
Always know how to survive

Klaus:
Jerome and Esme fostered us cause
Esme thinks orphans are all the rage
Hope that fashion continues to trend
Till Vi comes of age
Nice to be back in the city
But Esme sees orphans as accessories
Like how rich celebrities seem to treat
Their own pets
But an hour ago we waved Olaf and
Esme goodbye

Violet:
He shows at the penthouse with knee
High riders
And a monocle under his brow
He’s trying to speak like a foreign guy
With an accent
That makes foreigners cry out
Afoul
She’s hired him auctioneer
Despite our fears
But there’s no way we’re telling
Her now

Klaus:
We tried telling the Squalors
Gunther is Olaf
But it’s always the same in the end
Our pleas went ignored as a matter
Of course
We don’t know what he’s done with
Our friends
I’m not sure we need to go through
Esme’s harsh screeds
When we have to go back
There again

Violet:
Olaf has Esme at the penthouse
Already as we’re at this fish place to dine
From the high to the low to
The end of the show
He is back in our lives
We cannot rely upon
Old Jerome
Cause he’s not a man who
Wants to argue
Now he thinks we’re all xenophobes
As we voice our outcry
Somehow we need to tell
Jerome and Esme
Can’t tell you more since we
Know it already
And here we all as the fish smell
Makes me want to die

Fish Waiter:
A bottle of pink, a bottle of white
Whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight
We’ll serve you up any salmon
At the Café Salmonella

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “I’ll Be Surprisingly Good for You”

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Once the Baudelaires and Jerome are out of the penthouse, I’m sure Count Olaf and Esme will be up to no good. After all, they probably spent the evening putting the Quagmires in the shaft and cooking some plan to sneak them out of town. Also, they’re possibly plotting how to steal the Baudelaire fortune again. Anyway, if you haven’t read the book or watched the TV show, you probably stop reading this since there will be spoilers. Okay, Count Olaf and Esme certainly know each other before the novel takes place. Since Olaf was her acting teacher and starred in one of his plays. So it’s very likely the two were intimately involved before Esme met Jerome. In fact, the Unauthorized Autobiography makes it clear that Esme married Jerome for his sweet penthouse and possibly enormous assets. Because the Unauthorized Autobiography has Geraldine Julienne give tips to Esme to “accidentally bump into him” and later marry him after one evening together. Though Jacques Snicket wrote to him stating, “that under no circumstances should you marry that woman.” But thanks to the Hook-Handed Man, Jerome never received that letter. Still, you can’t doubt what Olaf and Esme are doing behind Jerome’s back now that their paths have crossed once more.

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Since this is a musical parody, you need a duet between these two. I decided to go with “I’ll Be Surprisingly Good for You” from Evita. In the original, radio actress Eva Duarte first meets her future husband and future President of Argentina, Colonel Juan Peron at a charity concert. Though Eva tells Juan there’s nothing calculated or planned about their encounter, you have to wonder, especially in a musical with a negative perception of her that Argentinians don’t like. Well, I’m sure they may approve of this version since it’s from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 

“I’ll Be Surprisingly Good for You” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Count Olaf and Esme Squalor

Esme: Count Olaf
Count Olaf: Esme Squalor

Count Olaf and Esme:
I’ve heard so much about you

Count Olaf and Esme:
I’m amazed, for I’m only an actor (a financial advisor)
Nothing to shout about (One of the thousands)
Only a man on the stage (Trendsetting the city she loves)

Count Olaf:
But when you act, the things you do affect us all

Esme:
But when you act, you take us away from the squalor of the real world
Are you here on your own?

Count Olaf:
Yes, oh yes

Esme:
So am I, what a fortunate coincidence
Maybe you’re my reward for my efforts here tonight

Count Olaf:
It seems crazy but you must believe
There’s nothing calculated, nothing planned
Please forgive me if I seem naive
I would never want to force your hand
But please understand, I’d be good for you

I don’t always rush in like this
Twenty seconds after saying hello
Telling strangers I’m too good to miss
If I’m wrong I hope you’ll tell me so
But you really should know, I’d be good for you
I’d be surprisingly good for you

I won’t go on if I’m boring you
But do you understand my point of view?
Do you like what you hear, what you see
And would you be, good for me too?

I’m not talking of a hurried night
A frantic tumble then a shy goodbye
Creeping home before it gets too light
That’s not the reason that I caught your eye
Which has to imply, I’d be good for you
I’d be surprisingly good for you

Esme:
Please go on, you enthrall me
I can understand you perfectly
And I like what I hear, what I see, and knowing me
I would be good for you too

Count Olaf:
I’m not talking of a hurried night
A frantic tumble then a shy goodbye
Creeping home before it gets too light
That’s not the reason that I caught your eye
Which has to imply, I’d be good for you
I’d be surprisingly good for you

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Gunther at the Penthouse”

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Unfortunately, that “friend” Esme has over turns out to be Count Olaf in disguise. This time he’s a foreign auctioneer named Gunther. He’s wearing a pinstripe suit with a monocle and horse riding boots (in the TV show, he has on boots, pinstripes, sunglasses, and a ponytail). The Baudelaires are astonished that he found them this quickly and past the doorman. The children get straight to the point, stating that Gunther isn’t who he says he is and suggest they strip his disguise. Like many of the adults in the series, the Squalors don’t buy it. Though Jerome does try to ask his wife about Gunther. But she threatens to kick him out of the penthouse if he disagrees with her. Though it’s Jerome’s penthouse so he wouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out. Well, unless he forget to sign a prenuptial agreement. The kids all fake apologies and leave the penthouse with Jerome. But not without Klaus complaining about the suits, which sets off Esme again.

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A good song for this I selected was “Eva and Magaldi/Eva, Beware of the City” from Evita. In the original version 15-year-old Eva Duarte takes up with singer Augustin Magaldi and goes to Buenos Aires with her. In real life, this didn’t happen since she more likely went to Buenos Aires with her sister and mom. In this version, I have the Baudelaires accuse Gunther as Count Olaf while Esme’s flipping out at them and Jerome.

 

“Gunther at the Penthouse”

Violet:
How did you find us so fast or get past the doorman?
Who promised to keep you out of this place?

Klaus:
Where have you put Duncan and Isadora?
Listen chump, face the fact
We don’t like your act

Violet:
What kind of plans
You have to steal our fortune?
Put on any ridiculous disguise
But there’s no way you can ever fool us
We’ll tear you apart

Esme:
Now why can’t you be quiet?

Count Olaf (as Gunther):
Hello, please, my name is
Herr Gunther, auctioneer

Esme:
Children, please, his name is
Herr Gunther, auctioneer

Don’t mind the kids, we’re just their legal guardians
It’s illegal to auction them off

Violet:
But, Esme, Jerome, this Gunther is Count Olaf
I’d recognize him anywhere

Klaus:
Listen to what my sister says

Esme:
Those Baudelaires, they’re only talking nonsense
They seem to see Count Olaf wherever they go

Violet:
Maybe we should just make sure

Violet and Klaus:
Perhaps we can both try to strip him down

Jerome:
Count Olaf?
What are you talking about?

Violet and Klaus:
We strongly suspect that this Gunther is Count Olaf
He’s kidnapped our friends and wants to steal our fortune
He must be quite relieved that he’s got past the doorman, so far

Count Olaf:
Hello, please, my name is
Herr Gunther, auctioneer
Who is this Count Olaf guy?
Since I’m new here, so I don’t know
What this man is like

Esme:
Seems to me there’s no point in explaining
Perhaps we should turn to business instead
There’s an “In” Auction I’m now busy organizing
The kids’ concerns are just boring me to death

Jerome:
The Baudelaires are adamant that Gunther is Olaf
Perhaps we might make sure, Gunther isn’t that awful man
Have him at least take off his boots or remove his glass
So the Baudelaires can relax…

Esme:
If you want to live with me, call him by his proper name!
I went through trouble buying smashing pinstripes
And you dare accuse my guest, of being disguised in the penthouse.

Klaus:
Does Esme always put you through this trouble?

Jerome:
Esme, think of the children
They’re nervous and scared, think Gunther is Olaf, it is mad
Maybe we should just relieve their panic
I don’t think they are right yet what better to show that there’s
No Olaf in this room.

Esme:
If you want to live
With me, refer this man properly
This goes for the Baudelaires, he’s Gunther here
Else, you’ll make me regret I took you into my stylish home
Exercise propriety for society
Children, please, his name is Herr Gunther,
Auctioneer

Count Olaf:
Hello, please, my name is Herr Gunther,
Auctioneer

Klaus:
Listen, Esme, we are sorry
And we hope Gunther accepts all our apologies
We’ll now go to Café Salmonella
Though you should’ve bought all our pinstripe getups
In junior, child, and infant size

Esme:
You don’t know what I went through, to give you all those pinstripe suits!
I let you live in my glamourous flat, you spoiled brats.
Orphans may be ‘in’ now, but mine seem rude and loud
Ungrateful children, aren’t you then?
Now you be off to the Café
Salmonella with Jerome

Count Olaf:
Nice to meet you orphaned
Children, Danke Shoen

Jerome:
Children, be polite to our houseguests
Let’s not check Gunther’s brow, ankle, or ask him to leave
If you want to put your minds at ease, slide down these railings
Slide down these railings, so we won’t be late for dinner
And whatever you say, let’s not argue today

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Pinstripes”

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When Esme has a friend coming over one evening so she makes reservations for Jerome and the Baudelaires to have dinner at Café Salmonella at 7:00. I know you wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant that shares a name for a food disease. But before they go, she has them change into pinstripe suits she bought for them from the “In” Boutique. Not surprisingly, the children fake enthusiasm for their gifts despite being miserable since they knew they could’ve got stuff they actually wanted. Even worse, the clothes are in adult-sized which obviously don’t fit them and look ridiculous in them, especially for Sunny who’s buried in hers (this isn’t the case in the TV show). But Violet decides that they shouldn’t act like spoiled rich kids akin to Carmelita Spats since they now have a home, food, and should be safe from Count Olaf as the doorman promised. So they decide to suck it up.

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I selected Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” for this part. The original version is an upbeat song about how all the bad things go away when one’s fallen in love. And it’s been a classic for decades. In this version, I have Esme tell them to wear the pinstripe suits she gave them as well as the Baudelaires complaining about them.

 

“Pinstripes”

Esme:
I’ve got a friend who’s coming tonight
Got to have you out before he swings by
Before you go to Café Salmonella to dine
Change in these suits I’ve bought you to shine

Pinstripes
From In Boutique
Got to have pinstripes
To look chic

Pinstripes
Make you look right
Got to wear pinstripes
For tonight

Klaus:
Why do we have to wear these ill-fitting suits
When the Squalors could buy better books
This one isn’t even in my size
I’m merely twelve, not twenty-five

Pinstripes
Not for us please
To eat where its name is
A food disease

Violet:
Maybe we’re being a bit out of whack
Maybe we’re acting a bit like Carmelita Spats
We got a home, food, and away from the Count
But Duncan and Isadora are certainly not

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Killer Queen”

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The Baudelaires’ life with the Squalors is rather mixed. On the bright side, they’re back in the city where they were born and raised while Jerome takes them on outings to their favorite places like the Jules Verne Invention Museum, the Akhmatova Bookstore, and the Pincus Hospital. On the downside, the penthouse is ridiculously large with bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, breakfast rooms, snack rooms, standing rooms, ballrooms, kitchens, and other rooms that seemed to have no purpose at all. So it’s easy for the Baudelaires to get lost since the Squalors didn’t give them a map of the place to find their way around. In addition, despite being promised rooms that would appeal to them, things aren’t great either. Violet may have a room with a workbench but no tools to invent stuff with. Klaus’s bedroom is next to the library but the books are records of what’s in or out in the past. Definitely something a 12-year-old boy would be interested in, especially a precocious bookworm like Klaus. And Sunny’s room is no good since it’s full of soft baby toys so she can’t have fun biting things instead of dog toys and teething rings. They’re also unsettled since they don’t know what’s going on with their friends. And then there’s Esme who just sees the kids more like accessories than any kind of responsibility. She’s bored listening to how the Baudelaires are worried about the Quagmires. In fact, she’s more concerned with organizing the upcoming “In” Auction in which she’s raising money for a good cause like herself.

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A song I chose for the Baudelaires’ perception of Esme would be “Killer Queen” by Queen, which was their breakthrough hit. The original version of the song is about a high-class call girl because according to songwriter Freddie Mercury, “I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well.” In this version, I have Violet and Klaus sing how much of a bitch Esme is, a word which here means, “a selfish and unpleasant woman with no consideration for other people and always expects others to toe the line.”

 

“Killer Queen” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

Klaus:
She keeps Moët et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
‘Let them eat cake,’ she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
Rich bitch guaranteed
A vain fashion devotee
Always has an invitation
You can’t decline

Violet:
Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily vile

Violet and Klaus:
She’s a Killer Queen
Always on the scene
A fashion crazed queen of mean
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

Klaus:
To avoid complications
She always keeps the same address
In conversation
She speaks just like a baroness
Met a man from China
Went down to Geisha Minah
Then again incidentally
If you’re that way inclined

Violet:
Perfume came naturally from Paris
For us she couldn’t care less
Fastidious and precise

Violet and Klaus:
She’s a Killer Queen
Always on the scene
A fashion crazed queen of mean
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Violet:
Drop of a hat she’s as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of tact
To absolutely drive you wild, wild..
She’s all out to get us

Violet and Klaus:
She’s a Killer Queen
Always on the scene
A fashion crazed queen of mean
Guaranteed to blow your mind
Anytime

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?
You wanna try…

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “You Need to Be In”

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Reaching the penthouse, the Baudelaires meet their fabulously wealthy new guardians, Jerome and Esme Squalor. Jerome is a rather decent man, but he doesn’t have what we call balls. Since he’s a walking doormat because he thinks any confrontation is a waste of time despite being rich and successful enough to afford a penthouse. Since according to Lemony Snicket’s Unauthorized Autobiography, he bought the place at Jacques Snicket’s suggestion. Then there’s his wife, Esme, who’s a fashion-obsessed maven as well as the city’s 6th most important financial advisor. Very materialistic and vain, she treats her life like a fashion show, wearing stuff and doing things that are “in” with no regard to practicality. She even said she took the Baudelaires in her home because orphans were “in” while her husband just wanted to take care of them as soon as he heard of their troubles but Esme refused since they were “out” at the time. Nonetheless, she’s very selfish and inconsiderate toward everyone.

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The song I chose for her introduction is Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine,” which he composed during a cruise trip in the Pacific. Now a beguine could mean 3 things. Its original meaning was a Christian lay woman living in the 13th and 14th century who lived in a religious community without taking formal vows. In the Caribbean creole, it meant “white woman.” The word was then applied to a slow couple’s dance that’s a combination of French ballroom and Latin folk which became popular in the 1940s thanks to the Cole Porter song. The original lyrics are just a plain romantic ballad. This version just illustrates how fashion obsessed and self-absorbed Esme is.

 

“You Need to Be In”

Sung by Esme Squalor

When you need to be in
You’ll always be with all the latest fashions
Wear these pinstripes, you’ll look smashing
You’ll be all the rage on the scene.

How about you try these water martinis,
They’re non-alcoholic to retain PG ratings
But that’s what you drink while rich and famous
When you need to be in.

Though I am rich, just call me Esme,
Since orphans are in, I’m happy you’re here
For you’ll make my friends sick with envy
So if they see you, they might just leer

Please bring out the dark, and bring in the light,
Being in fashion’s work so I’ll learn your names later,
So rest from climbing the stairs since we can’t use the elevator,
Since elevators are now on the outs.

So I’ll make sure we all can stay in
Wear pinstripe suits for a night at Café Salmonella
Enjoy this ocean décor which I bought on special
When you need to be in.

Oh, yes, it’s always great to be in, know the trends
As the city’s sixth most important financial advisor
Make yourself at our penthouse home
You will be fine here
So pick out your rooms you’ll want to sleep in,
When you need to be in.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Stairway to Penthouse”

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In The Ersatz Elevator, Mr. Poe dumps the Baudelaires at the large city apartment building 667 Dark Avenue which is said to block out the sunlight. Mostly because they’re sent to live at a luxurious penthouse belonging to Jerome and Esme Squalor. Mr. Poe doesn’t accompany the children inside because he’s Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs, a position he totally gained through his hard work and dedication (according to his superiors anyway, but I highly doubt this). This means he’ll be looking for Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, which means they’re screwed. For if he or the police had brains in this series, they’d keep watch on the Baudelaires 24/7 and expect Count Olaf to be about as recognizable in his latest disguise as Tom Cruise was in Tropic Thunder (though I’m setting a high bar). Anyway, once inside, a strange doorman tells the Baudelaires that they’ll have to climb between 45-84 flights of stairs since the elevator is out. Not out of order but out of fashion, which I don’t get. Because obviously, if I want to go up 50 floors, I’d definitely use the elevator whether it’s in style or not. Since it’s 50 freaking floors. At any rate, the Baudelaires will have to spend hours climbing the stairs by themselves. Add to the fact that the spiral staircase is dark and only lit by candles. Seems like Count Olaf’s S.O.R.E. training will come in handy.

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I chose Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” for this sequence due to the stairway presence in the song. Written by member Robert Plant, it’s considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The original version according to him, as Jimmy Page recalls, “was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration.” Gee, I wonder who that reminds me of? In this version, the Baudelaires go up the dark stairwell reflecting on their old lives and wondering what their new guardians will be like.

 

“Stairway to Penthouse”

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

Violet:
This place is so dark so Poe knew not where to park
While we’re climbing the stairway to penthouse.
Streetlamps and candlelight, don’t make things all much bright
As we go up to meet our new guardians.
Ooh, ooh, while we’re climbing the stairway to penthouse.

Klaus:
Well, we can’t take a lift since they say it’s not in
Though I don’t have much concern for the fashions.
Not sure how many floors or how long it’s been,
Cause the staircase seems like never ending.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

Violet:
There’s a feeling I get when I think of our friends,
And where Count Olaf has them.
Mr. Poe tries to assure that we need not be concerned
That he’s been put in charge to go find them.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

Klaus:
He’s head of Orphan Affairs, not sure he even cares
But it gives me no hope for the Quagmires
He’ll be out for three weeks, but will come up empty
Since he probably won’t find the Quagmires.

Violet:
What are the Squalors like we don’t know, are they quite decent,
To live there will sure make us wealthy.
They must have no fear of great heights, unless they’re shut-ins
Since climbing all these stairs takes forever
And it makes me wonder.

Klaus:
Recall when Mom and Dad were so spent, they were exhausted
They cooked on the kitchen floor.
They didn’t use the stove, Aunt Josephine would’ve loved it
But we know what befell her before.

Both:
As we climb up through the stairs
We hear the voices through the walls.
Hope Count Olaf won’t find us here
Though he seems to tail us everywhere
He could be just right down the hall.
Our school friends can’t be far
If Count Olaf soon draws near.
Will our new home be safe from him
Or will he cause danger from within?

And we’re climbing the stairway to penthouse.