On Writing a Marilyn Musical – An Opening Number, Take Two

A second suggestion for a Marilyn Monroe opening number, and the kind of show it promises:

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Marilyn: I Am the Blonde

Lights up on a funeral scene. Three men stand before a casket, their backs to the audience. We never really knew her, they sing. We tried to save her, they sing.

The first man, JOE DIMAGGIO, turns to tell the audience about the nice girl ruined by fame. A MARILYN appears and sings with him – they argue about USO shows and skirt-blowing in public.

The second man, ARTHUR MILLER, turns to tell the audience of the intellectually curious but troubled actress he knew. ANOTHER MARILYN appears with him, and together they sing, arguing about infidelity and drugs.

The third man tells JOE and ARTHUR how wrong they are. Who is he? they ask. He is JAMES DOUGHERTY, Marilyn’s first husband, and he was the love of her life, he says. A third Marilyn (a pretty brunette named NORMA JEAN) appears, and she and JAMES argue about modelling. All the Marilyns and all the men sing and dance together. It was thrilling, it was fun, they sing. It was maddening, it was wild, they sing. But none of us really knew her, sing the men. And none of us could save her. Everyone leaves the stage, except for NORMA JEAN, who has decided to dye her hair.

Pros: Tries to make a virtue of Monroe’s many contradictory natures. This is what the evening will be about.

Cons: Slightly less obvious than the first effort, but still pretty damn by-the-numbers.

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