“IT WASN’T THE VIRUS,” SAYS PRODUCER. “IT WAS THE SHOW.”
The Hyman Group has pulled the plug on the long-awaited “The Passion of the Christ On Ice” Easter tour. “Thank God for the pandemic,” says producer Dick Hyman. “It saved us from the critics.”
Receiving complete funding from an Evangelical mega-church, Hyman was positive he was helming a sure thing. “I mean, seriously, at Easter? What could be better than watching an all-skating, all-singing version of the Crucifixion? It was like a gift.”
Then, reality set in. “It’s very difficult to find singer/actors who can ice skate. We were lucky to find a lead actor to play Jesus who was very limber. Lars Von Snotz is an accomplished Swedish actor (“My Depressed Life,” “My Depressed Life, Part Two.” “I Like To Cut Myself”) who actually has stigmata. Unfortunately, he couldn’t skate to save his life. As a result, we had to outfit the cross, since he’s carrying it most of the show, with wheels that would keep him standing. He had the balance of a drunk. The cross looked like a walker.
“We also ran into trouble with our musical score. Musicians the world has never heard of took a pass. The famous songwriters laughed in our faces. So, we wound up leasing the rights to the ‘Baby Shark’ song as well as ‘The Hamster Dance.’ It didn’t really work, but we tried. The ‘Baby Shark’ stuff was pretty embarrassing. It’s hard to keep a straight face when the apostles are singing ‘Son of God, de-de-de-de-de-de’ over and over again as Jesus is lugging a cross while wobbling and getting flogged.
“We found some figure skaters to play the crowd accompanying Jesus to Mount Calvary and they added a sense of majesty along with the occasional triple lutz and quadruple axels. The real problems occurred when we tried to fill in the roles of the Centurions and the soldiers who whipped and taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion.”
“I THINK WE GAVE A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO THE WORD ‘BLASPHEMY.’”
“We got a great offer from a sports agent to employ two-dozen laid-off hockey players. They looked incredibly good in their armor. When they hit the ice? They were out for blood. Their hockey skills came into play.
“The first rehearsal, they came out roaring, attacking the ‘sissy skaters’ playing the crowd. I mean, these guys’ IQs matched their shoe size. They used their whips and swords to knock them down like bowling pins.
“Then, they went in for Jesus. Lars, as I mentioned, was clinging to the cross as a means of balance. Before long, the hockey players had him pin wheeling across the ice, with ‘The Hamster Dance’ playing in the background. I think we gave new meaning the word ‘blasphemy.’ It didn’t help that Lars was screaming the entire time.
“We had to hire a volunteer fire brigade to hose the blood off the ice and fight back the marauding Centurions. Then, everything was cancelled because of the virus. I feel blessed not to have had to invest any of my own money.”
Hyman pauses and reflects. “We’re in a new world, now. We have to re-invent ourselves as entertainers. Until this virus settles down, the Hyman Group promises to find new and ‘out-of-the-box’ venues. We’re turning to YouTube. Our first project is a one-man version of ‘West Side Story’ featuring Stan Miklovitz, a one-man band. If that works? We’re planning a one-man version of ‘The Sound of Music’ featuring Karl Melon on zither.”
He shrugs. “What could go wrong?”