30 April 2015

Archie On Broadway

Archie On Broadway!
A Jukebox Musical Treatment 
by DC Hampton Jacobs
Three-Color Pop Art Illustrations
by Stuffed Animal
Inspired by + Dedicated to
Ron Dante

Upon the death of Betty Cooper in the year 2068, all materials pertaining to her music career will be donated to Riverdale Music Academy. Among those materials will be this original treatment for the Rock musical Don't Touch My Guitar!  A smash on Broadway in the early 22nd century, this show will have originally been presented in the year 2040. Many of its hit songs are even older; they were first heard on the soundtrack of the 1988-9 "Archie" cartoon series!

With Sir Ambrose Nixon as director, Reggie Mantle's son Dante Carmine as choreographer, and music direction by The New Archies, the show will do SRO business at Broadway's Republic Theatre from June to December 2040. The New Archies (Garcy Briseño, Donna Dante, Mal Hypster, Toby Maxx, Rikki Ninja and Frankie Fujiyama) also play the leading roles. This first presentation will be mounted by a consortium of producers that includes Sabrina "Bree" Spellman, Republic USA (The New Archies' record label) and Archie Comic Publications. For more details, read "Mama Can't Buy You Love", the twenty-year saga of Sabrina + The New Archies.

“Don’t Touch My Guitar!”
A Rockabilly Musical
Book by Betty Cooper
Words + Music by Jeff Barry
Additional material by
Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns
+ The Tremaynes
Music Direction by Kim Tremayne

Time and Place:

New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana, circa 1951
Nashville, Tennessee, the present day

Cast of Characters:

Archie Andrews . . .
Buddy Holly with a tan . . . endures racist taunts for being the son of a mixed-race couple . . . doesn’t see himself as a trailblazer, just likes to play Country music and is damn good at it . . . very ambitious, gets his band a slot on a radio show against the odds . . . can’t make up his mind whether he wants to marry childhood sweetheart Black Betty or Latin beauty Veronica.

Liza Beth "Black Betty" Cooper . . .
energetic Rockabilly chick . . . forward-thinking, even though she’s not long off the farm . . . urges Archie to mix Blues and Latin influences into his Country music . . . talks him into letting her play bass in his band . . . likes Veronica but resents her flirting with Archie.

Veronica della Loggia . . .
half-Italian, half-Mexican, a recent immigrant from south of the border, limited command of English . . . musically trained by her father, a mariachi musician . . . plays masterful Spanish guitar and sings beautiful ballads . . . duets frequently with Archie . . . thinks she’s in love with him, but has eyes for bad boy Reginaldo.

Jerome "Jughead" Yancy (Yamaguchi) . . .
Japanese-American, felt he didn’t belong until befriending Archie and joining his band . . . dude comes across like a goofy Gomer Pyle-type, but it’s all an act, Jug is really very smart . . . strings along racists who think he can’t speak English and is recently off the boat . . . loves all kinds of music, so The Archies’ fusion of Country, Blues and Latin is right up his alley . . . homosexual and closeted, he’s secretly in love with Archie, suffers in silence . . . finds comfort in the arms of Pop Tate, an affair that will end in tragedy.

Reginaldo "Reggie" Montoya . . .
Cuban version of Jerry Lee Lewis, plays guitar, piano and accordion . . . drinking, carousing, womanizing bad boy-type . . . loyal to Archie and Jughead, sees them as his brothers-in-arms against Southern racism . . . digs Veronica . . . riles White segregationists with his brash personality and brazen flirting with girls of all races . . . provokes a lynch mob into targeting The Archies.

Terry "Pop" Tate . . .
Gravel-voiced proprietor of popular teenage hangout, Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe . . . modeled after Johnny Otis and Wolfman Jack. . . host of a Country music show on radio station MLJ . . .. angers racist city officials by showcasing Blues as well as Country performers on his radio show . . . takes a chance by giving a non-White Country band a featured spot . . . tries unsuccessfully to keep their ethnicities a secret . . . when The Archies become popular despite skin color, Pop champions them . . . defends himself against charges of being a “race-mixer”, a corrupter of youth and a promoter of “darky music”. . . pitches The Archies to the "Grand Ole Opry" but is turned down . . . instead, gets them booked on the "Louisiana Hayride" program . . . . . . after his radio show is forced off the air, White supremacists plant a bomb in his Chok’lit Shop . . . secretly homosexual and terrified of discovery, he’s nevertheless drawn to Jughead . . . their love will bring him joy before he dies.

Sex, Race, Rock 'n' Roll, Violence

The cast also includes playwright Betty Cooper (discussing the Archies musical she’s written with her husband, Anderson Cooper, at the beginning of the show); cloggers and line dancers who appear at The Archies’ live appearances; a sleazy, horny record company executive; a White Citizen’s Council; angry racist parents (the fathers, members of the Ku Klux Klan, will form a lynch mob and later murder The Archies); their Rockabilly-loving teenage sons and daughters; various and sundry Country and Blues musicians; and officials from the "Grand Ole Opry" and "Louisiana Hayride".

It's 1951 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Racial segregation is the law of the South! Since the mid-1930s, musical variety shows have been popular on the radio; singers and musicians perform live on the air. The latest is a youth-oriented entry, "Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe", aimed at young listeners along the Mississippi Delta who like dancing to up tempo Country songs. Terry "Pop" Tate, progressive host of the show, dares to mix in the occasional Blues act, too. The Archies, a Country band nobody has ever heard of, begin headlining his weekend show. A new kind of Country dance music they play becomes wildly popular.

All the other Country acts featured on "Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe" give concerts at the teenage hangout of the same name which Pop Tate runs. Not The Archies, though; for some reason, Pop keeps his new stars out of sight! Curiosity about them reaches fever pitch. Finally, he is forced to reveal that the members are Black, Hispanic and Asian-American. (Pop himself is Jewish.)

In the segregated South of the '50s, this revelation causes a major uproar!. City officials are already up in arms about Pop mixing Country and Blues acts on his radio show, but a "colored" Country music band? It's too much for them to take. New Orleans splits into factions of "we love them" and "we hate them"! Both White and Black citizens resent The Archies for playing "White man's music", but many Latinos and White kids can't get enough of them. White girls in particular seem to go crazy for the harmony vocals of Archie and Reginaldo, a fact that damn near gets them lynched! Meanwhile, Veronica and Black Betty fend off passes from racist White men who denounce "race mixing" in public but have an entirely different point of view when the bedroom door closes!

Pop Tate fights a losing battle against segregationist legislators who clamor to have his show taken off the air. There is popular demand for The Archies to guest star on the "Grand Ole Opry" in Nashville; Pop tries to book them, but Opry officials won't allow it. However, the progressive "Louisiana Hayride" invites them to perform in Shreveport, Louisiana; when they do, they cause a sensation! Their performance sets the stage for another maverick Country music act who will play the Hayride a few years later: Elvis Presley!

Pop Tate doesn’t live to see The Archies' "Hayride" triumph: He dies in a bomb blast set off by the Ku Klux Klan! Four of the group members are also doomed: On their way back to New Orleans, the Klan overtakes The Archies and forces them to drive to a secluded area. There, Archie and Reggie are hung from a tree; Veronica and Betty are first raped, and then shot to death. Jughead suffers a serious gunshot wound, but manages to escape; dude lives to tell the tale of a trailblazing band who died fighting for the right to rock!


The Songs:

Mad Hot Blues (Betty Cooper, Kim Tremayne)
instrumental performed by Pop Tate

Boys And Girls (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie
After hours, The Archies audition for Pop Tate in his Chok’lit Shoppe.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Music (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie and Reggie
The first Archies song heard on Pop Tate’s radio show.

Bandstand Bandito (Betty Cooper, Kathy + Kim Tremayne)
sung by Archie, Reggie and Jughead
A novelty tune sending up Reggie, performed on the radio.

Act Like I'm Your Brother (Betty Cooper)
sung by Jughead
At rehearsal, Archie, Reggie and Jughead discuss encounters they’ve had with racists. It inspires them to compose and perform “Act Like I'm Your Brother”. Present at the rehearsal, Pop Tate warns them that the song (which proclaims universal brotherhood) is much too hot for Country radio!

La Dee Doo Down Down (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie and Reggie
Hillbilly Merengue (Betty Cooper, Kim Tremayne)
instrumental performed by The Archies
The Archies perform Honky Tonk favorite “La Dee Doo Down Down” and Bluegrass number “Hillbilly Merengue” on the radio at the height of their still-faceless popularity. Pop Tate barely manages to stop a persistent fan from sneaking a look at them in the studio.

DTMG Production Team

But Not By Yourself/I Like Your Technique 
(Betty Cooper, Kathy + Kim Tremayne)
sung by Archie and Veronica
Archie and Veronica sing love songs to each other on the air. Black Betty isn't happy!

Don’t Touch My Guitar! (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie and Reggie
The Archies perform this rocker on the radio. It gets a huge response! Listeners flood station MLJ with phone calls, asking how and where to buy the record.

Ain't Nothin' Right About You! (Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns)
sung by Black Betty
After the radio broadcast, Black Betty writes and sings this mournful ballad about her love for Archie. Juggy and Pop Tate overhear. An overwrought Juggy confesses his feelings for Archie to Pop, and Pop comforts him. The two closeted Gay men end up sleeping together that night. Unbeknownst to them, a Klansman who's been keeping surveillance on Pop secretly observes their lovemaking. Their fate is sealed!

Bang-Shang-A-Lang (Jeff Barry)/
Take A Chance, Miss Yancy (Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns)
sung by Archie
Truck Driver (Jeff Barry)
sung by Black Betty
The Archies audition “Bang-Shang-A-Lang”, “Take A Chance, Miss Yancy” and “Truck Driver” for a sleazy New Orleans record company owner. Privately, he tells Black Betty and Veronica he’ll sign the group if they’ll “be nice" to him! When they refuse, he starts spreading rumors about a “darky, wetback group” on Pop Tate’s radio show.

Rooster Tails 'n' Gator Feet/Plumb Tore Down 
(Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns)
sung by Veronica and Black Betty/sung by Archie
Pop Tate cuts a recording session with The Archies at Station MLJ; he hopes to press up a few hundred records using his own money. The persistent Archies fan manages to sneak into the record date and is shocked to see that the group members are Black, Hispanic and Asian. She runs out screaming: “It’s true! They’re all colored!”


Chatterbox (Betty Cooper)/
Sweet Shop Diddy Bop (Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns)
sung by Archie and Veronica
Love Light (Jeff Barry) sung by Archie and Reggie
Their secret now revealed, The Archies give their first public performance at Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe. They go over big with the teenagers, but parents bristle at Reggie flirting with White girls in the crowd.

Señorita Rita (Jeff Barry)
sung by Reggie
Reggie seduces Veronica with this song!

Easy Rockin' Mama (Betty Cooper)
sung by Archie and Black Betty
Just One Hand Free (Betty Cooper)
sung by Archie
The Archies’ second public appearance in New Orleans is disrupted by a lynch mob! The group’s young White fans cut off the lynchers so they can leave the stage safely.

Seventeen Ain’t Young (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie
After the lynching incident, Archie comforts a frightened Black Betty by singing his new song for her.

Sweet Fiddle-Dee-Dee (Betty Cooper, Kathy + Kim Tremayne)
sung by Archie and Veronica
Dime Store Remedy (Betty Cooper, Holly-Meaghan Stearns)
sung by Archie, Black Betty, Veronica and Reggie
After sleeping together, Archie and Veronica realize they’re not in love. At band rehearsal the next day, Archie proposes marriage to Black Betty. She is thrilled! Veronica and Reginaldo reveal their love for each other. The group leaves for a performance at Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe. They narrowly escape getting blown to bits when the building explodes. Pop is killed by the bomb, which members of the Ku Klux Klan have planted.

DTMG Inner Sleeve Photos

A Summer Prayer For Peace (Jeff Barry)
sung by Veronica, recitation by Jughead
Veronica sings an English-language ballad she has written while a grieving Jughead eulogizes Pop Tate at his memorial service.

Cotton Choppin' Boogie (Betty Cooper)
sung by Reggie
You Little Angel, You (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie and Reggie
The Archies play the "Louisiana Hayride" date Pop Tate arranged for them before he died. They bring the Shreveport crowd to its feet!

A Summer Prayer For Peace
As they drive back to New Orleans after their triumph on the "Hayride", The Archies are waylaid by the Ku Klux Klan. Veronica’s song is reprised as an instrumental during the shocking (mostly off-stage) scene of The Archies being lynched. Jughead is wounded, but manages to escape; he is the only survivor.

Get On The Line/Don’t Touch My Guitar! (Jeff Barry)
sung by Archie, Black Betty, Veronica and Reggie
Decades later, Jughead dreams about the success The Archies might have had. In a modern-day dream sequence, Archie, Black Betty, Veronica and Reggie are still alive. Along with Jughead, they play the "Grand Ole Opry" for hundreds of cheering fans. Since this is a dream sequence, the audience that dances to their music include 1950s Klansmen and White Citizen’s Council members.

Original 2040 Broadway Cast:
Delia García Briseño . . . Veronica
Donna Dante . . . Black Betty
Enrique Fonseca . . . Reggie
Frank Fujiyama . . . Jughead
Malachi Hipp . . . Archie
Tobias Maxwell . . . Pop Tate


Frankie Fujiyama's sensitive portrayal of Jughead is nominated for a 2040 Tony Award, one of four nominations for the show. There are no wins the first time out, but members of the 2110 Broadway cast will take home Tonys for Best Actor (Shadrack Wong as Jughead) and Best Actress (Linda Covarrúbias as Veronica) in a Musical. In addition, Kymala Chesney Salazar will win Best Director of a Musical. The show bags a long-overdue Best Choreography Award in the year 2017. Cast albums for both the 2040 début and the 2110 revival will win for Best Musical Theatre Album; the 2111 recording will also score a Grammy!


A movie version of Don't Touch My Guitar! will finally be made in the year 2114. A box office smash, it sweeps the 2115 Academy Awards: Best Picture! Best Director! Best Actor! Best Supporting Actress! As well as Best Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing and Choreography. During the 2110s, only the blockbuster biopic Jerry Springer Unchained will take home more honors. Thanks to the the talents of many gifted actors and musicians, the dynamic songs of Jeff Barry and Betty Cooper (with collaborators Holly Meaghan-Stearns and siblings Fatima "Kathy" and Kimza "Kim" Tremayne), and Betty's outside-the-box re-imagining of The Archies, the group's musical legacy will be an enduring one!

Archie On Broadway will be the title of a best-selling 2111 compilation of Archies classics!  The previously-unreleased title track, featuring vocals by Toni Topaz, becomes a belated club hit. Future generations of Archies fans will know the band's music primarily from this popular collection.


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