On Stage : Reefer Madness

San Jose Stage Company presents Reefer Madness: The Musical. This irreverent and smokin’ hot musical is a satirical toke on the 1936 anti- cannabis propaganda B-movie that has become a cult classic. Raucous and outlandish, Reefer Madness: The Musical is the summer “Hit” you’ll definitely want to hold in for as long as you can.

The book is written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, with music by Dan Studney and lyrics by Kevin Murphy.

Reefer Madness began its cinematic life as a 1936 cautionary film entitled Tell Your Children. It was financed by a small, earnest church group, and was intended to scare any parent who viewed it. However, soon after the film was shot, however, it was purchased by the notorious exploitation film maestro Dwain Esper, who took the liberty of cutting in salacious insert shots and slapping on the sexier title of Reefer Madness, before distributing it on the exploitation circuit.

After a brief run, the film lay forgotten for decades. There was no concept of “after market” in those days, especially for films that existed outside the confines of the studio system, and were therefore considered “forbidden fruit.” For this reason, neither Esper nor the original filmmakers bothered to copyright the movie, and it eventually fell into the public domain.

SAN JOSE STAGE COMPANY • 490 South First Street • San Jose, CA 95113 • (408) 283-7142 • www.thestage.org

In 1971, Keith Stroup, the enterprising founder of NORML (Nation Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws), bought a print of Reefer Madness for $297, cleaned it up and started showing it at pro-pot festivals. It was gigantic hit. Distributing Reefer Madness to college campuses of the 1970s helped bankroll the burgeoning film company New Line Cinema, which is now a major player in the Hollywood film industry. Today, the film is a cult phenomenon dwarfed only by The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Reefer Madness” is a bona fide catch phrase. And now it’s a musical.

Reefer Madness: The Musical begins preview on June 5 and opens June 8. Performances are on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Reefer Madness: The Musical runs through June 30.

Tickets range from $25 – $50 and are available at www.thestage.org or by calling the box office at 408.283.7142. Visa and MasterCard are accepted, and discounts are available for groups, students and seniors. The theatre is handicapped accessible.

The Stage is located at 490 South First Street at William Street in downtown San Jose’s South First (SoFA) area.

Read more about San Jose Stage Company to Present REEFER MADNESS, 6/5-6/30 by sanfrancisco.broadwayworld.com