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cover to original cast recordingWhoop-Dee-Doo!

A 2 act gay musical extravaganza (Revue) Conceived, Created and developed by Charles Catanese, Howard Crabtree, Dick Gallagher, Phillip George, Peter Morris and Mark Waldrop. Songs and sketches by Dick Gallagher, Peter Morris and Mark Waldrop. Additional material by Brad Ellis, Jack Feldman, David Rambo, Bruce Sussman & Eric Schorr

Actor's Playhouse, Off-Broadway - 16 June, 1993. Closed 20 February, 1994 (241 perfs)


Howard Crabtree's WHOOP-DEE- DOO! is the story (if story there can be said to be) of a wide-eyed costume designer from the Midwest and his dream of having his own show in New York.

Like any revue, the show opens with a sketch but all does not go well. Howard's friend and co-star Jay is not pleased with the sketch nor, it seems, with anything about the show. But Howard has faith in his vision. Still, even after a fabulous opening number, Jay is not to be appeased. Not only is the show "amateurish" but the working conditions are deplorable. It seems the shabby little theatre Howard has rented is infested with flies. Since the show is in progress and there is little Howard can do about it right now, he agrees to put up some fly paper.

But what fly paper! It is gigantic, large enough to catch six foot flies—which is exactly what it does . It is time for Howard's big number. Backed by two bare-chested chorus boys, he appears in a marvellous Carmen Miranda costume with the happiest tutti-frutti hat you've ever seen, happy because all the fruit is literally smiling. But Jay is not and ruins the number. Defeated but undaunted, Howard introduces the next act, an invisible dance troupe (you heard me, invisible!) headed by that great operatic diva, Vivian McVanish who, bejewelled and begauzed, leads a troupe of empty tutus through their paces.

The next number is a solo as a young boy sings of his love for his favourite movie star, Elizabeth. After that comes a delightful sketch: a backers' audition for a new musical about one of our most notorious national figures (Nancy: The Unauthorized Musical). This is followed by a scene in a "fairy bar" where real Disney-style pixies trash elves and gnomes over a few beers.

Time for another solo, this time a torch song sung by a moth who's been burned by love.

Howard then makes another valiant attempt at his big number; same song, just a different outlandish costume. Howard may be dressed as Queen Elizabeth I but Jay is not amused. Although Howard has his hands full with Jay, that won't stop him from presenting the Act One finale of his show, a salute to the armed forces from the point of view of a fruit, a real fruit—one Private Banana.

After a sprightly Entr'acte, Act Two begins with a beautiful Edwardian-style production number, men and women (who are really men) in bowler hats and bustles on an "outing"—in every sense of the word. As the curtain closes, a young man enters dressed for his high school reunion and remembers his days as the awkward boy in gym class.

And then Howard returns, taking one last stab at his big number, this time totally enveloped in a huge Indian (sorry, Native American) costume. Well, not totally enveloped. When he turns around we see his face sticking out as the head of the papoose. Oh, that Howard! Still, Jay is outraged by his shenanigans. Regardless of Jay's attitude, the show must go on and Howard introduces the next act, Leo Sinefrin, the tap dancing nose and his partner, Tina Tissue.

This is followed by a man with a huge brain on the top of his head who sings of the recent scientific discovery that there may be something genetic that makes one person different from another. Next is a sketch about an isolated tribe of aborigines and what happens to their culture when a crate of show music and movie memorabilia is dropped onto their island from a passing ¡et. What do you think happens? They become fans! But during the ritual where they conjure
the gods of stage and screen by costuming themselves as primitive versions of their idols—Mae West in sea shells with an octopus for a hat, Barbra Streisand with bamboo fingernails and a toucan bill for a nose—they inadvertently make contact with the other side and the real Judy Garland appears.

It is now time for the finale ultimo, but Jay refuses to do it. The costume, an outlandish spandex creation with bulbs and wires all over it, is too dangerous in his opinion. But one of the bare-chested chorus boys is willing to take his place. When the costume does prove too dangerous, Howard is left without a finale—much to Jay's delight. But Howard triumphs in the end, proving that as long as there is one artist with talent, ingenuity and a genuine desire to entertain, the show will go on. Using old garbage bags, dirty laundry and newspapers, Howard fashions a sumptuously tacky finale culminating in his grand entrance as a huge picnic table. One look at that and who wouldn't yell "whoop dee-doo!"

PETER MORRIS, - co-author & co-lyricist

Musical Numbers

  1. The Doctor Sketch
  2. Whoop-Dee-Doo!
  3. Stuck On You
  4. Howard Goes Latin
  5. Teach It How To Dance
  6. Elizabeth
  7. Nancy: The Unauthorized Musical
  8. Tough To Be a Fairy
  9. Blue Flame
  10. Howard Goes Elizabethan
  11. A Soldier's Musical
  12. It's a Perfect Day
  13. Last Boy Picked
  14. Howard Goes Western
  15. As Plain As the Nose on My Face
  16. I Was Born This Way
  17. You Are My Idol
  18. The Magic of Me
  19. My Turn To Shine
  20. Less Is More