The Greatest Shows On Film

Many of the (potentially) greatest shows we could ever see/experience sadly do not really exist – they are fictional shows within movies. Often I’ll watch a movie that’s about putting on a play or a  musical (or features one) and I’ll wish I could watch it from beginning to end instead of the movie it exists within.

Are you following me?

The number 1 stage show I’d love to see is Satan’s Alley from the movie Stayin’ Alive. Would you not shell out big bucks to go see something called Satan’s Alley? In the film, John Travolta is back as dancer Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever), now a struggling performer looking for his big break in Manhattan.  This break arrives in the form of the Broadway production Satan’s Alley. On opening night, Tony kisses the female lead even though it’s not in the script! She responds by scratching his face and drawing blood! Then there’s a lot of dancing – think flames, smoke, bare chests, groping… everything you want in a Broadway dance show – and the show is a triumph.

If Peter Travers from Rolling Stone reviewed the show he would say, “I loved every minute! It transformed my life and the way I think about Satan. And alleys.”

Other “shows within movies” worth seeing? I offer a  list:

1. “Street Jazz” from the movie Breakin’ – basically, all the moves from the movie put into a stage show with costumes.

2. The topless Vegas show “Goddess” from the movie Showgirls. I’d have a second bachelorette party if we could fly to Vegas and see Goddess starring Nomi and Molly. Bonus: Celine Dion comes out and sings “My Heart Will Go On” while Nomi has an orgy with Jack Dawson lookalikes from Titanic!

3. “Red, White & Blaine” from Waiting For Guffman. I’ve always wanted to see this from beginning to end as a proper stage show while sitting in a folding chair. I’ve seen the movie several times but believe there must be more scenes from the show that we miss.

4. In the mood for tragedy? What if you could see the entire “Midsummer’s Night Dream” production in Dead Poet’s Society, knowing that the kid is going to go home and off himself after the show? Or that epic production of “Swan Lake” in Black Swan that ends with death? Peter Travers would shit his pants twice and then write a review saying, “If you only see one ballet this year… well, you missed your chance.”

5. I’d pay major bucks to be able to catch a show on the Spinal Tap Smell The Glove tour.

6. For cheap entertainment, imagine being able to go to all the productions put on by fictional high schools. Swing by the Fame graduation to see the performance of “I Sing the Body Electric.” For culture, check out “Scenes From Shakespeare” performed by the kids in Porky’s II. Or how about Max’s play “Heaven and Hell” from the movie Rushmore?

7. For old-timey entertainment how about going to see the Broadway show “Springtime For Hitler” from The Producers? Or the cabaret act starring Sally Bowles from Cabaret? Maybe catch “Spectacular Spectacular” from Moulin Rouge? Or how about going to see what those Muppets are up to over on “The Muppet Show?”

The list could go on and on? What’s your top “show within a movie” that you’d love to be able to see?

2 thoughts on “The Greatest Shows On Film

  1. The best show within a show is the triumphant Def Leppard show within the VH1 Def Leppard biopic. You know it in your heart it’s true… even Peter Travers would agree.

  2. Also- don’t you think things like “Satan’s Alley” just exist because someone really wanted to make a Broadway show called “Satan’s Alley” and could only make it happen by sneaking it into a screenplay?

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