Mushnik And Son revisions

edited February 2012 in Theater
Mushnik And Son has at least three different versions of it. There's the demo version, which has unique lyrics. There's the version that went onstage in 1982, which was heavily, heavily cut, perhaps to absurd lengths. And then there's the version that, to the best of my knowledge, premiered in 2003. It added more lyrics from the demo (while cutting some more lyrics). That, however, is not the point of this thread. The point of this thread is that the most recent version of Mushnik And Son has some lyrics and elements present in neither the 1982 version nor the demo version. (These include SIR I'M CHOKING and I'LL HOLD MY BREATH UNTIL). So, since Howard Ashman's sister is on the forum, I am curious - did Howard Ashman write the lyrics unique to the newest version, or were they written by some unidentified writer?


  • Some of the new lyrics can alter one's interpretation of the show entirely. "Giddyup daddy" makes Seymour look like a manchild.
  • edited February 2012
    The original performed version of Mushnik & Son was actually quite shorter than what is currently the official version. The revised lyrics you're talking about actually originate much earlier than the 2003 revival. The bulk of what is sung on the 2003 recording originates from 1986 at the latest, as they are what was being performed Off-Broadway and on the 1986-1987 Japanese Tour. These lyrics are also what went into the score that is licensed out to stock and amateur companies. Because of this, I'd say it's highly unlikely that anyone but Howard revised these lyrics.

    The only "new" aspect of the 2003 version is a dance break, followed by a brief restored lyric from the original Off-Broadway version to get out of it ("In trouble, sickness, and in health, we'll share the plant, I'll share the wealth...") and into the final chorus, which is the same as the revised/Licensed lyric.

    It should also be noted that those "Giddy up daddy"s are an ad-lib related to the choreography and staging from the 2003 production. They are individual to that particular production and as far as I know appear in no licensed script or score.
  • "Sir, I'm choking," and "I'll hold my breath until," are both in the original published version of the show (1982). Both Bill Lauch and I were involved in the 2003 Bway production and we are adamant about not changing Howard's work. Neither of us actively remembers how "giddyap daddy" got in there but it's not part of the lyric - as loganculwell notes, it's more of an ad lib. Maybe we blinked.

    Finally, though, I thought you'd be interested in the following comment from Bill when I asked him about this thread,

    "I know Howard tinkered around with this number a lot, maybe even a bit on the national tour. I got the back-story as he was working on the tour and the screenplay. He expressed the difficulty in finding the right tone, pacing and length for "Mushnik" but he was ultimately satisfied with the way it played Off-Broadway."

    Hope this helps.
  • Ah, I suppose that I must have been confused because "Sir, I'm choking" and "I'll hold my breath until aren't in a 1982-published script I own entitled Little Shop Of Horrors - A New Musical. However, this script seems to focus on the original production, and appears to have been intended for reading, not for licensing to performances. Thus, it'd make sense that things not present in the original production would not be present here, even if they were added quickly.
  • I don't know. All I can tell you is that the published version is entirely Howard's. As is the script. I don't know which came first.
  • Omega, you're right. The 1982 hardcover was a Doubleday Book Club edition. Howard was still fiddling around with the scene, obviously, and the Sam'l French version came later. I'd say we should use the French version as his preferred version - just because it came later.
  • Thanks for the info! :)
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