A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Will It Come Back to You?”

Klaus Hypnotized

Klaus is gone for hours and doesn’t return until the nighttime. The Baudelaire sisters don’t have any idea what’s going on with him or why it’s taking him so long. When he comes back, he has shiny new glasses, but he’s clearly not acting like himself and can’t remember anything. Thinking he’s just tired, Violet and Sunny decide to put him to bed and see if he’ll improve in the morning. However, the next morning, Klaus hasn’t. Even more distressing, when the foreman wakes him up and tells him to get to work, he seems unnaturally absent-minded, robotic, and obedient like obeying orders without question and without bothering to put on his socks and shoes. Something must’ve happened while he was at Dr. Orwell’s optometry office. Then Foreman Flacutono has Klaus operate the stamper which is not something you want a kid to operate. Yes, while Klaus is far more intelligent than most kids, he wouldn’t use a heavy machine without reading a manual which he hasn’t in the stamper’s case. Oh, and he’s not the right state of mind. And Phil just happens to be in the way.

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For this part, I used Steely Dan’s “Peg.”  The original version is about an aspiring actress with the director/photographer promising her a big break. Whether he’s leading her own, we don’t know. But judging that Steely Dan got its name from a dildo in Naked Lunch, you can’t help but wonder what kind of actress Peg is. The title is  said to be reference a Broadway star and onetime Hollywood actress Peg Enwhistle, who’s best known to for jumping to her death from the Hollywoodland sign before her first film was released in 1932. Kind of disturbing stuff. In this version, I have Violet worried about Klaus as he proceeds to go to the stamper.

 

“Will It Come Back to You?”

Sung by Violet Baudelaire

I know you’re in there
I know that you can hear me
What did she put you through?
Cause this is not like you
So why you smile for the foreman
When you said you really hate him, Klaus

You’re acting strangely
You don’t seem to remember
You’re not even wearing shoes
What is wrong with you?
And when you’re smiling in the morning
I know that you’re in trouble

Klaus
Will it come back to you?
Klaus
Will it come back to you?

Then the stamper falls
You can’t recall and see it
As it lands and smashes Phil’s leg

Who is this Orwell?
She really seems suspicious
What does she really do?
To put a trance on you
And when you once leave her office,
Will you cause another disaster?

Klaus
Will it come back to you?
Klaus
Will it come back to you?

Then the stamper falls
You can’t recall and see it
As it lands and smashes Phil’s leg

Then the stamper falls
You can’t recall and see it
As it lands and smashes Phil’s leg

Then the stamper falls
You can’t recall and see it
As it lands and smashes Phil’s leg

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Hard Time Lumbermill Blues”

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At the lumbermill, Foreman Flacutono who may not be Count Olaf. But even the workers think he’s a terrible boss, which says something. I mean he wakes the mill up by banging pans. However, he’s quite terrible to the Baudelaires as they moved through tasks in the mill less suitable for children than the last. Until Flacutono sticks his foot out and trips Klaus over it, breaking his glasses. Sure the foreman denied it, but that doesn’t change how the consequences of his actions are incredibly serious for Klaus. He’s led to Dr. Orwell’s office which resembles an eye that appears on Count Olaf’s ankle. What can go wrong here?

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The song I chose for him is the old blues song, “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” written by legend Skip James in the early 1930s which is in the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The original version is about the instability of poverty which often means having to move from job to job and home to home. And it pertains to working in a slaughterhouse where blacks in Illinois often had the worst jobs, especially if they moved up from the South. Anyway, by the time this song came out in 1931, it was the Great Depression. And due to poor sales of his 1931 album, James all but vanished to become a preacher for 30 years until his 1960s rediscovery. In this version, I have Flacutono sings about tripping Klaus but also how bad his time in the mill is since he’s not getting any shit but coupons.

 

“Hard Time Lumbermill Blues”

Sung by the Bald Man with the Long Nose (as Foreman Flacutono)

Hard time here and everywhere you go
Times is harder than ever been before

Better watch your step wherever you go
I didn’t trip you, don’t blame me for your fall

Did your glasses break? You can’t see a soul
Just go down to Dr.Orwell, she’ll fix them so

Her office is the one, it’s shaped like an eye
Why that so, I really don’t have any idea why

What’s that Charles, giving me flack?
You’ll regret it so watch your back
Mm-mm, mm-mm, you’ll regret so watch your back

And you say you had money, you better be sure
‘Cause these hard times will drive you from door to door

Sing this song and I ain’t gonna sing no more
Sing this song and I ain’t gonna sing no more
These hard times will drive you from door to door

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Whistle While You Work”

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While most of the Luck Smells Lumbermill workers have never seen the owner. Yet, his name is so long and so hard to pronounce, he usually goes by Sir. However, the Baudelaires get to meet him since he’s their guardian. He turns out to be kind of a cigar smoking dick. He treats his partner Charles like crap. While Charles states that the Baudelaires should be treated like family and that having the children work in the mill is a mistake, Sir thinks child labor is all fine and dandy. In fact, he struck an agreement with Mr. Poe for as long as the orphans are put to work, he’d get Count Olaf and his cronies off their backs. To him, this is a fair deal since work will teach the children responsibility but it’s not. Neither is paying your workers with coupons and gum. Also, there are only 3 books in the library which include Paltryville’s constitution, a book about the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, and Dr. Orwell’s book on advanced ocular science. And though Charles seems like a reasonable guy, he’s a complete wuss.

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For the meeting with Sir, I used the song “Whistle While You Work,” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The original version is about enjoying yourself while doing chores with the assistance of the woodland creatures, which Disney lied to us about. But in this version basically involves Sir and Charles trying to get the Baudelaires to make the best of things while in a ridiculously unpleasant situation. Mostly because Charles wants the kids to lift their spirits while Sir really doesn’t give a shit.

 

“Whistle While You Work” (ASOUE Version)

Charles:
Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully you’ll bear working in this horrid place
So hum a merry tune
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace

And as you saw the logs
Imagine that the log is someone that you love
And soon you’ll find you’re – no that came out wrong

Bald Man with Long Nose:
Oh, no, no, no, no! Put them in the mulcher

Charles:
When hearts are high the time will fly so whistle while you work

Just whistle while you work
Put on that grin and start right in to whistle loud and long
Just hum a merry tune
Just do your best when you can’t rest to sing yourself a song

Sir:
When there’s too much to do
Don’t let it bother you, forget your troubles,
When you’re working here for free

And whistle while you work
Come on get smart, tune up and start
To whistle while you work

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Keep on the Sunny Side”

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In The Miserable Mill, the Baudelaires a befriended by a Lucky Smells worker named Phil who does what he can to help them adjust to their wretched new lives. However, the children don’t really share the guy’s eternal optimism. And by the way, Lemony Snicket’s definition of an optimist is summed up this way: “For instance, if an optimist had his left arm chews off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, ‘Well, this isn’t too bad. I don’t have my left arm any more, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right-handed or left-handed,’ but most of us would say something more along the lines of ‘Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!'” Though in the TV show, it’s “half-priced manicures for life.” Anyway, Phil fits this to a T.

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When it comes to a good song for Phil, I chose to parody “Keep on the Sunny Side” which was featured on the O, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and was most famously performed by the Carter Family in 1928. While most of the song parodies for A Series of Unfortunate Events I selected mainly pertain to musicals or rock, this one is an exception. It’s actually a traditional Christian hymn written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899, inspired by her wheelchair-bound nephew’s instance to be pushed down the “sunny side” of the street. The Carter Family’s performance made it a staple in bluegrass and country music. In this version, I took the Christian stuff out and replaced it with how ridiculously horrid the lumbermill conditions are.

 

“Keep on the Sunny Side” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Phil

Well there’s a dark and a troubled side of life.
There’s a bright and a sunny side too.
But if you meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life.

Oh, accidents always happen every day,
Crushing legs that we cherish so dear.
But old Sir will in time pass away.
While the injuries will eventually heal.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,
If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life.

Let us greet with a song of hope each day.
While we’re paid in coupons as fare.
Let us go and work our 12-hour days
So Sir won’t kick us out of his care.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,
If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life.
If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “Heigh-Ho”

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In The Miserable Mill, Mr. Poe brings the Baudelaires to Paltryville which is a very depressing place full of bare trees with no undergrowth and houses with no windows. Nor is it listed on a map and there’s no guidebook of the place of any kind. Their new guardian is the owner of the Lucky Smells Lumbermill whose name is utterly unpronounceable so he’s addressed as Sir. Anyway, once Mr. Poe dumps them off at the train station, the children go to the lumbermill where they learn that they’re to sleep and work there. Why anyone would think it’s perfectly fine for children to work at a dangerous place (particularly a baby like Sunny), I have no idea. But the conditions are beyond shitty. Even the ever optimistic Phil and the other workers question such a notion. Not only do mill employees endure long hours in a dangerous environment, their new foreman is a scumbag, they’ve never seen the owner in years, they’re paid in useless coupons, only take a 5 minute chewing gum break each day, and get beef casserole for dinner. But the Lucky Smells workers seem oddly complacent over the whole thing, despite how any normal adult would never agree to work under such terms and conditions.

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Perhaps a good song in this sequence would be “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Though in the original version, the seven dwarves work in a gem mine from dawn to dusk and yet they live in a cottage where they allow Snow White keep house for free. Makes you wonder what they’re working for or what their boss is like. Then again, in fairy tales, dwarves have always been associated with precious minerals and metals. Though J.R.R. Tolkein hated the dwarves portrayal in this 1937 Walt Disney movie. In this version, I have the Lucky Smells Lumbermill workers singing about their work day in a rather cheerful tune. But that’s supposed to create dissonance and highlight their strange complacency.

 

“Heigh-Ho” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by the Lucky Smells Lumbermill Workers

We work work work work work work work in our mill the whole day through
To work work work work work work work it what we really got to do
We’ve got a lot of bad accidents
If you split split split with a chainsaw or an ax
In a mill! In a mill! In a mill! In a mill!
Where a million wood planks stack!

We work work work work work work work from early morn till night
We saw saw saw saw saw saw saw up every log in sight
We saw up wood planks by the score
Got hundreds injured, sometimes more
But we don’t know what we saw’em for
We work work work a-work work

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s off from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s off from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho hum

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s off from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s off from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It’s off from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho (until fade)

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Musical – “On My Own”

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Lemony Snicket never got over his love Beatrice. In the beginning of The Miserable Mill, he discusses how despite being engaged to her at one point, she wrote a 200-page book explaining why she couldn’t marry him, which was delivered via carrier pigeons. Not to feel bad for Lemony, but that’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t look good on his dating profile. At any rate, he never really got over her rejection of him since he dedicates each one of his books to her. Despite that she dumped him for someone else and later died. So it’s unlikely he’d be going on a date any time soon.

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Another good song to highlight this is “On My Own” from Les Miserables. In the original version, Eponine pines for Marius despite knowing that he’s interested in someone else and will probably never even consider her as a viable love interest. So she imagines a world with him as her lover which will never be. In this version, I have Lemony Snicket basically do the same thing for Beatrice despite that she moved on and eventually died.

 

“On My Own” (ASOUE Version)

Sung by Lemony Snicket

And now I’m all alone again
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to
Without a home, without a friend
Without a face to say “Hello” to
But now the night is near
And I can make-believe she’s here

Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping
I think of her and then I’m happy
With the company I’m keeping
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head

On my own
Pretending she’s beside me
All alone
I walk with her till morning
Without her
I feel her arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And she has found me

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is her and me forever and forever

And I know it’s only in my mind
That I’m talking to myself and not to her
And although I know that she is dead
Still I say, there’s a way for us

I love her
But when the night is over
She is gone
The river’s just a river
Without her
The world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers

I love her
But every day I’m learning
All my life
I’ve only been pretending
Without me
Her world has gone on turning
A world that’s full of happiness
That I have never known

I love her
I love her
I love her
But only on my own