A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Ersatz Elevator”

Down the Elevator Shaft

That evening, the Baudelaires get to plan. Klaus mentions that there are two sets of elevator doors at the penthouse floor while every other floor has one. Thus, one of them must be fake which would explain why Count Olaf was able to sneak away without the doorman or anyone else seeing him (save Esme). But how to tell them apart? Well, Sunny figures that the button panels would have up and down buttons on them. So since you can’t go higher than the penthouse, they press the up button. Inside they find a bare shaft that’s nothing but blackness as the elevator is ersatz. So how to go down? Well, they decided to make a rope of extension cords, neckties, and curtains. Because they have to find Count Olaf to rescue the Quagmires.

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The song I chose for this is Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” which is a trippy tune by lead singer Grace Slick about Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. She stated the original version was a slap to parents who read children such stuff but wonder why they end up using drugs later on. Also, she claimed to write this song after an acid trip. For her, the white rabbit symbolizes a pursuit of curiosity since drugs were about mind expansion and social experimentation. Not to mention, she often read Alice in Wonderland as a child. And it was one of the first songs whose drug references went past the censors on the radio, according to Wikipedia. But I highly doubt this since there are a lot of earlier songs replete with drug references as well. In this version, I have the Baudelaires going looking into the ersatz elevator shaft for the first time and going down.

 

“Ersatz Elevator”

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

Klaus:
On set has an elevator
And one set just has a shaft
If we want to know Olaf’s hideout
The second one’s is that
Sneak past Squalors
To tell doors apart

Violet:
How to tell which is genuine
And which is just a set of doors
Look at the buttons as Sunny told us
Don’t need “up” on top floor
Let’s press it
Since these are just plain doors

Klaus:
As the elevator doors start to open
Nothing but darkness from inside
No ropes, this elevator is an ersatz
As the long dark shaft terrifies
It’s just blackness
From a deep well’s side

Violet:
But we must all go down there
To find out Olaf’s plan
Forget about asking Jerome and Esme
Get some cords, drapes, and ties for a rope
While I tie them with the devil’s tongue
Down the shaft
Down the shaft

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A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Do It Again”

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When Jerome and the Baudelaires return to 667 Dark Avenue that night, the doorman tells them that Gunther didn’t return and that they can’t leave the lobby until he shows up. But Jerome figures that since it takes a long time to go downstairs and is on his way out so he ignores the doorman. Yet, when they reach the penthouse, Esme claimed that Gunther left a long time ago. So how did he leave without anyone seeing him? Obviously, this has the Baudelaires very worried since this means that Count Olaf could be anywhere in the building, which is a very scary prospect for them. So the next morning while the Squalors are out, the Baudelaires search for their dreaded enemy. They first search the penthouse using a trail of breadcrumbs to keep track of the rooms they looked in since it’s a ridiculously large place. When there’s no sign of Olaf found, they turn to the other apartments in the 66 story building, thinking they could listen in. When that proves fruitless, they ask the doorman in the lobby. But he gives them the same answer and keeps them there until the Squalors show up. Yet, as they wait, the doorman slips something that gives Klaus an idea about the second elevator at the penthouse that’s not at the other apartments.

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The song I chose for this is Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” which was their breakthrough hit. The original version is said to be about some combination of addiction, second chances, and the inevitability of fate. Though many also have their interpretation such as the corruption and destruction pertaining to violence, sex, and money. In this version, I have the Baudelaires searching for Count Olaf at 667 Dark Avenue.

 

“Do It Again” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

“Do It Again” (ASOUE Version)
(Based on the song by Steely Dan)
Sung by Violet and Klaus Baudelaire

Violet:
In the morning Jerome goes shopping
To stock up on parsley soda
Esme’s out to go hobnobbing
With the king of Arizona
Doorman thinks Olaf’s still here
While Esme claims he left
He might be inside the building
Or the penthouse apartment

We go back Jack do it again
Use breadcrumbs to check rooms
We go back Jack do it again

Klaus:
He may be in one of the apartments
Perhaps rented by a henchman
Did he hijack a compartment
And have tied up the hapless tenant?
Though it’s not right to go prying
Count Olaf can be anywhere
We don’t know where he his hiding
But must check the building here

We go back Jack do it again
Listen through doors and walls
We go back Jack do it again

Klaus:
Doorman still insists Gunther’s still here
Now we’re stuck back in the lobby
Wonder how he gets some sleep here
Says he drinks a lot of coffee
He says sometimes all the answers
Can be right under our noses
We must check the spare shaft elevator
Though I’m not sure what he knows

We go back Jack do it again
Let’s check that spare elevator
We go back Jack do it again

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Mr. Cellophane”

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While Jerome Squalor is nice to the Baudelaires, he doesn’t believe in confrontation of any kind. Which means that he’ll go with whatever his wife Esme wants, even if her actions could harm the kids. And while he dislikes the idea of fashion in his wife’s eyes, he usually goes along with her anyway. Since he’s a walking, talking doormat, it’s fair to say that Esme abuses his position to gain access to the Baudelaires and wear the pants in the relationship. Still, Jerome is kind of a pathetic character who would’ve been much more likeable if he could just grow a pair. His self-absorbed, fashion-obsessed wife obviously doesn’t care about him (or anyone else). And he could certainly do better. Seriously, he’s rich and successful with a penthouse. I’m sure any woman would want him. Then again, his aversion to conflict really doesn’t make him good relationship material. Anyway, you can’t help feel sorry for him since Jerome’s life with Esme kind of sucks since it’s all about her.

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The song I chose for him is “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago. The original version focuses on Roxie Hart’s husband Amos, who’s basically Jerome Squalor’s working class counterpart. Both men are kindhearted doormats who are married to self-absorbed blondes who care nothing for them and see them as only a means to an end. In the original version, Amos sings about how he’s often ignored by everyone around him. And I’m sure Jerome gets the same feeling on many occasions. For I had to change very little of this song.

 

 

“Mr. Cellophane” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Jerome Squalor

If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised his voice up way out loud
And waved his arm and shook his leg
You’d notice him

If someone in the movie show
Yelled “Fire in the second row
This whole place is a powder keg!”
You’d notice him

And even without chirping like a wren
Everyone gets noticed, now and then,
Unless, of course, that personage should be
Invisible, inconsequential me!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

I tell ya
Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

Suppose you was a little cat
Residin’ in a person’s flat
Who fed you fish and scratched your ears?
You’d notice him

Suppose you was a woman, wed
And sleepin’ in a double bed
Beside one man, for seven years
You’d notice him

A human being’s made of more than air
With all that bulk, you’re bound to see him there
Unless that human bein’ next to you
Is unimpressive, undistinguished
You know who…

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…
I tell ya
Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there
Never even know I’m there.

 

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 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’ll tell

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 and 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