Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moose Murders

Moose Murders is a play by Arthur Bicknell, self-described as a mystery farce. An immediate flop, it is now widely considered the standard of awfulness against which all Broadway failures are judged, and its name has become synonymous with those distinctively bad Broadway plays which open and close on the same night. It had its single performance (excluding previews) at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on February 22, 1983.

The Holloway family arrives at the "Wild Moose Lodge", which they have recently purchased, in the Adirondack Mountains. They soon find themselves trapped there during a storm, along with Snooks and Howie Keene, failed entertainers who had worked at the lodge before the Holloways arrived, and Nurse Dagmar, who cares for Sidney Holloway, the pater familias and an apparent vegetable. They pass the time playing a murder mystery game. During the night, one Holloway son attempts incest with his mother and several murders take place. Reviews describe a scene in which a mummified paraplegic rises from his wheelchair to kick a man dressed as a moose in the crotch, but this episode does not appear in the original script.

The original Broadway production at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre was marred by problems even before it opened. Eve Arden in the lead role was seeking a return to Broadway after 40 years, but dropped out after the first preview — her role was then filled by veteran star Holland Taylor. The complete cast was as follows:

* Snooks Keene – June Gable
* Howie Keene – Don Potter
* Joe Buffalo Dance – Jack Dabdoub
* Nurse Dagmar – Lisa McMillan
* Hedda Holloway – Holland Taylor
* Stinky Holloway – Scott Evans
* Gay Holloway – Mara Hobel
* Lauraine Holloway Fay – Lillie Robertson
* Nelson Fay – Nicholas Hormann
* Sidney Holloway – Dennis Florzak

The production was directed by John Roach

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