Writers much more accomplished than I have pointed it out: the opening number is vital to a musical’s success or failure. It tells the audience what the evening is to be about, and it has to tell the truth. If it’s satirical, the show, overall, needs to be satirical too. If it’s earnest, then a more or less earnest evening has been promised to the audience. Break that promise at your peril.
Some suggestions, then, for a Marilyn Monroe opening number, and the kind of show it promises:
Marilyn! The Musical
Lights up on the set of Some Like it Hot. Everyone is waiting for MARILYN to arrive. She is late. JACK LEMMON and TONY CURTIS sing about how she drives them crazy, but boy, she sure can deliver. BILLY WILDER sings about how talented she is, but only he can really see it. MARILYN arrives, all flustered and vulnerable, apologises, and everyone forgives her. She nails her scenes in one take. Everyone applauds and sings about how beautiful she is. ARTHUR MILLER arrives to take MARILYN to a late lunch, and she sings about she wants to get away for a break, just the two of them. A FAN stops MARILYN for an autograph, and asks her for some career advice. Flashback to her childhood.
Pros: Exactly what everyone is expecting from a Marilyn Monroe musical.
Cons: Exactly what everyone is expecting from a Marilyn Monroe musical.