Desperately Seeking ‘Desperately Seeking the Exit’


Seriously, this is the kind of thing musical theatre mavens (and, yes, musical theatre purists) just live for. Peter Michael Marino, an American playwright, devised a musical based on the Madonna film Desperately Seeking Susan, managed to get the rights to use the catalog of Blondie for it (who said Debbie Harry had a heart of glass?) and then had the great good fortune to see the show open in the West End.

Whereupon the show. closed in the West End.

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To the tune of a £4 million loss.

But now, not to be outdone, Marino has fashioned a solo show about his exploits and its called Desperately Seeking the Exit, which also sounds like a title that many producers of many musicals can relate to. The show is directed by my longtime pal and downtown bad-boy John Clancy. Here, courtesy of publicist Ron Lasko, is the 411:

Writer/Performer Peter Michael Marino presents a comic autopsy on his $6 million West End musical fiasco “Desperately Seeking Susan” in DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT. Directed by Obie Award winner John Clancy, performances of this solo tell-all comedy begin May 3 at the Triple Crown Underground and continue June 3 at Th ePIT Underground. The American premiere will be followed by the UK premiere at Manchester, England’s Taurus Bar (presented by Vertigo Productions) and a run at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2007, American playwright Peter Michael Marino wrote a musical based on the film “Desperately Seeking Susan” featuring the music of Blondie. It opened on London’s West End…and closed a month later. DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT offers a behind-the-scenes peek at how this ¬£4 million musical was made and unmade: hatching the idea, deals with MGM, Debbie Harry and even Madonna; the workshops, the previews, the scathing reviews and the closing night. Once you’re in, there’s no way out!

Peter Michael Marino is a writer, actor, director and teacher. He received the 2010 and 2011 Backstage Reader’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Teacher for his acclaimed “Flying Solo” classes at The PIT. He also received the Back Stage Bistro Award for his cabaret spoof, Lance Jonathan: More About Me! He is the co-writer of the lesbian pulp homage Hollywood Nurses. He has directed and developed shows with Delilah Dix (Ars Nova, Laurie Beechman Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe), Mark Giordano’s Mad Man (The PIT), Sheila Head’s Head Games (IO West, Ars Nova), and Alicia Levy’s Chickapalooza (The PIT, Ars Nova). As a performer, he appeared in STOMP for five years off-Broadway and on tour, as well as in numerous regional productions and workshops.

John Clancy is an Obie Award-winning director, playwright, and a partner in Clancy Productions, an acclaimed international theatrical touring and production company. He is the founding Artistic Director of The Present Company and a founding Artistic Director of The New York International Fringe Festival. He has directed six Scotsman Fringe First winning productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including Americana Absurdum (Brian Parks), Cincinnati (Don Nigro), Horse Country (C.J. Hopkins), screwmachine/eycandy (C.J. Hopkins) and his own Fatboy. Both Horse Country and Cincinnati went on to win The Best of the Fringe Award at the Adelaide Fringe in 2004. In 2002 he received a Glasgow Herald Angel for excellence in direction at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. John was awarded The New York Magazine Award in 1997 for “creativity, enterprise and vision”.

DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT runs May 3, 4, 11, 17, 18 at 7PM & May 10 @ 8PM. Tickets are “Pay What You May,” available on a first-come, first served basis; no advance reservations will be taken. Triple Crown Underground is located at 330 7th Ave at 28th St, accessible from the 1 train at 28th Street. A full bar is available. It also runs June 3 & 10 at 8pm at The PIT Underground Tickets are $8, avalable at

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