Creating a musical from unlikely and even unsavory subject matter is a running gag at the Fringe Festival. This year, musical subjects include teen angst and polar continents; 2000's Urinetown, the most renowned of these attempts, eventually made it to Broadway. Bukowsical!, the See You Next Tuesday Company's contribution, follows Charles Bukowski, novelist, poet, and famed alcoholic; the production, however, is a long joke with an unsatisfying punch line.
Gary Stockdale's music is undeniably catchy, but the lyrics, by Stockdale and Spencer Green, constantly reference the atypical nature of the subject. Each line of the love ballad is an alcoholic pun, while Bukowski's inspiration is a quartet of celebrated 20th-century writers urging him to "get down, get dark, get dirty."
While the humor is gregariously delivered by the unquestionably talented cast, they cannot rescue an hour and a half of these winking jokes. Perhaps this is not the stuff of musicals for a reason.
Presented by the See You Next Tuesday Company as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Bleecker Street Theatre, 45 Bleecker St., NYC.
Aug. 11-20. Remaining performances: Tue., Aug. 14, 10 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 17, 3 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 18, 3:30 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 20, 2 and 7 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or (888) 374-6436 or www.fringenyc.org.