Last week I had the amazing opportunity to hang out in a room with Bobcat Goldthwait and Robin Williams for about 20 minutes as part of the press tour for the masterpiece World’s Greatest Dad. I say hang out; while I was supposed to be interviewing them, the duo really just kept the conversation going on their own. At one point I did jump in and try to be all journalisty and asked them what their next projects were. Bobcat’s answer shocked me.
The comedian turned director told me that he was finishing up a spree killer script right now and that after that he would head into a new world: he would make a musical. And it would be based on a Kinks record. In fact, Bobcat had recently met with Ray Davies of the Kinks to get permission.
The album being adapted is Schoolboys in Disgrace, a lesser-known work from the Kinks’ ‘theatrical’ period, when they were writing full-tilt rock operas. In fact Schoolboys is the prequel to their Preservation, Acts 1 and 2, and tells the origin story of those records’ villain, Mr. Flash.
Here’s the album’s plot, from the back of the record and Wikipedia:
Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang
were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children
in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a
naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to
disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school.
After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character.
Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he
realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and
the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he
could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would
always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr.
Schoolboys in Disgrace is not one of the Kinks’ better received records. In fact I’d venture to say that most of the people reading this have never heard a song from the album. There’s something about that which makes me feel like it’s perfect Bobcat material, to be honest. He told me that what drew him to the album was the idea of a story about someone who becomes a villain because he keeps having his legs kicked out from under him by authority.
A musical is a big departure for the director, and he’s already begun doing storyboards so as to be able to sell his vision to financers. Williams told me that Bobcat had played him some songs; might the World’s Greatest Dad himself show up in a cameo role? Williams has sung before on film, in Popeye, after all.
A rock musical about naughty English schoolboys based on a fairly unpopular album by a band that never seems to have achieved the fame they deserve? After World’s Greatest Dad I’m ready for whatever Bobcat Goldthwait is bringing on.
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