I don’t get a lot of sleep. Between parenting, various external and internal obligations, and my own Night Owl inclinations, it’s rare that I get a solid eight hours. Or seven. And even six is kinda pushing it.
As a result, I stay in bed as long as humanly possible each morning. More often than not, I don’t roll out of bed earlier than one second before I have to. But there is one thing that can get me leaping out of bed: radio ads for Broadway shows.
I’m not a Broadway Person. Not saying that to make myself seem superior to Broadway People; if that’s your thing, good for you. I’m simply saying it’s not for me. And the fact that it’s not for me is reinforced each time I hear a commercial for a musical at the crack of dawn.
Our alarm is set to WCBS News Radio. Apart from criminal amounts of John Sterling soundbites during baseball season, WCBS also airs tons of spots for Broadway musicals. Considering the average shelf life of a Broadway musical (i.e., not very long), these ads are run with an insane amount of saturation. If a show is about to debut, you are virtually guaranteed to hear an ad for it once or twice each commercial break.
Since these spots air incessantly first thing in the morning when I’m half awake and the human brain is at its most vulnerable, they’re imprinted on my brain. Even if a certain show didn’t run for very long, an ad for it probably ran in such heavy rotation I can recite it word for word (or warble for warble). I still distinctly remember an ad for a revival of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which ended with the titular character belting out MIL-LIEEEEEE! And there’s a commercial for Wicked that’s aired for years, in which the Wicked Witch (I think) sings about being so happy she could melt, in that ear-punishing Broadway fashion that makes me want to melt. My own brains. With a glock.
These are all simply annoying, the kinds of sounds I don’t want to hear first thing in the morning. But I’ve recently heard a Broadway ad that slips out of the surly bounds of annoying and attains the status of Maddening. As in, it could actually drive you crazy. I’m pretty sure it was engineered in a CIA lab for the purposes of psychic warfare.
It comes from the musical adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I have not seen this musical and almost certainly will not see it. I haven’t even seen the movie, though I know it’s considered a classic. So I can not comment on the quality of the production or its source material. What I can say is that, if this is the first thing you hear when you wake up, after 5+ hours of fitful sleep, there is a 50 percent chance you will go insane.
Here’s the audio, although I only suggest playing it if you’re running low on nightmare fuel or you enjoy acid flashbacks. Enjoy! (Click here if that player down there don’t work for ya.)