Sunday, April 21, 2024

Johnny Carson, the Musical? Joan Rivers, Ed McMahon Among Characters in Broadway Workshop Production


Remember that book about Johnny Carson by the late talk show host’s lawyer, Henry Bushkin? Well, Bushkin has decided to turn it into a musical. Yes, that’s right, “Carson: The Musical.”

A casting call has gone out for a December workshop here in New York for a show written by Jamie Malanowski, with songs by Malanowski and a musician named Doug Kataros. There are a LOT of characters including Joan Rivers, Ed McMahon, Freddie de Cordova (Johnny’s famous producer) plus Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Cosby, Sonny Werblin, NBC chief Fred Silverman, all of Johnny’s ex wives, his children, and his parents.

So far, no listing for a Doc Severinsen. Maybe that’s because the 87 year old jazz bandleader is still very much alive. But it’s a musical– wouldn’t the Tonight show band be on stage?

Bushkin is a character in the show. He’s described as “sincere and honest, a bit wide-eyed, but smart as a whip.”

If only Gordon McRae were alive!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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