Ah, a commonsense question. A Roadkill Opera tells the true-ish story of the hour before opening night for the Roadkill-On-A-Stick Frozen Foods Theatre Company in 1988’s Roadkill!!! comedy review in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the Wort Hotel. The show ran for 8 weeks. I have since acquired a Wort Hotel belt buckle to commemorate the 8-week run. Come to the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 17, 2014, and I will show it to you.
Okay; was there any roadkill in the Roadkill!!! comedy review?
Yes, yes there was. Well, sort of. The title sketch was called “Frozen Roadkill On A Stick.” It featured a vendor with a pushcart selling–what else. The sketch explores a variety of menu items, including a discussion of what is really being sold from the cart. Among the items hawked by the vendor are a chiseler, a rabbit, and a house cat.
What is a chiseler?
A chiseler is local parlance for a Uinta ground squirrel. Every spring the roads are literally covered with them. The local radio station used to run a public service announcement timed around the Kentucky Derby themed “the run for the sagebrush” that featured chiselers and squealing tires, trying to get people to slow down and not run over the chiselers. Not a pretty image, but it works on radio…
The flyer for the 1988 show says “not for the squeamish–absolutely no one under 21 admitted.” What’s that about?
Wyoming liquor laws. At the time, no one under 21 could be admitted into the bar and lounge, so we pointed it up in our publicity.
Did it work?
Well, the show ran for 8 weeks. We sold out the opening night and we sold out the closing night, and we had paying audience members every night except for the night after we opened. As far as I know no one under 21 attended.
Did you cancel the show the second night?
No. The show must go on! Besides, after weeks of rehearsal we had finally had a live audience, and we needed to work out changes to the show. Besides, maybe Harrison Ford would show up, and what would he think if the show hadn’t gone on?
Harrison Ford? A Roadkill Opera references him–how does he figure into things?
Harrison Ford had a ranch in the area. We had a table tent set on a table in the front row of the Greenback Lounge, right in front of the stage, that you could read from anywhere in the house, that said “Reserved for Harrison Ford.”
Did he ever attend the show?
No. But later, he did get involved with the local theatre programs that Ed Bachtel worked on. I don’t know if Eddie ever told Mr. Ford about his role in absentia in Roadkill!!!
Do you think Harrison Ford will see A Roadkill Opera?
Hmm, hadn’t though about it. It might happen, it could become true. I don’t know if he sings tenor or baritone–he might enjoy it.