The Rock Star Who Refused to Grow Up – 1976 & 1979
In 1976 Les Nickelettes decided to write, for the first time, a full-length play with original music. As female baby boomers in our twenties we noticed that males of our generation resisted maturity and continued to embrace the irresponsibility of youth, especially in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll. Super groups in the ‘70s like Aerosmith, Kiss, and Pink Floyd seemed to flagrantly resist male maturity. A satire of this phenomenon called to us. So, it may come as no surprise that we chose to parody the J. M. Barrie classic tale Peter Pan. We would later learn that individuals unable to take on responsibility or commit to relationships suffered from a “Peter Pan Syndrome”. We reimagined the main character as a pompous rock star who refuses to grow up. What fun to focus on a lighthearted takedown of this hyperbolic spectacle of childlike excess. And I got to play the part of Peter Pan. This is a summary of the script for Peter Pan: A New Rock Fairytale.
(The play opens with CROCK (the crocodile character) as an omnipotent narrator, and impresario of the rock palace Never Never Land, where rock and roll dreams come true. Setting the story in motion, CROCKopens the curtain to Trendy WENDY’S bedroom and disguises herself as a lamp under a lampshade. WENDYis asleep, but her prepubescent sister TAMMY is covertly reading. The title of the book is clearly visible: The Year of the Cock.)
TAMMY: No! He said again, and drove his heavy cock into her accessible inner portions, meeting the . . .
WENDY: (Awakens, looks at TAMMY, and then under her pillow) Tammy, you stole my book, and my most prized possession, Peter Pan’s magic sword. Give it back to me now, you bitch! (WENDY grabs the silver glittered phallic shaped sword from under TAMMY’S pillow.)
TAMMY: Oh, take your stupid sword, you jerk! Nobody understands me. I’m almost sixteen and . . . I still haven’t started my period.
WENDY: That’s okay, Tammy. You’re not as abnormal as you seem. In the garden of love your path is that of the late bloomers. (The girls fall asleep.)
(PETER PAN and TINKERBELL -a 250 lb. fairy in pink overalls and plastic wings- leap into the darkened bedroom.)
PETER: Tinkerbell, help me find my magic sword.
TINKERBELL: What’s your magic sword doing in a place like this? (WENDY and TAMMY wake up.)
WENDY: Peter, I knew you’d be back, man. I mean the moon is in Aquarius and Jupiter is in line with . . .
PETER: Hey Wendy, give me back my sword and I’ll take you to Never Never Land.
WENDY: Okay, Peter, but only if you let me be your girlfriend.
PETER: Yeah, but, no commitments.
TAMMY: Oh, boy. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll!
PETER: (Holds out his hand) Tinkerbell, fairy dust, please.
TINKERBELL: No, Peter. As your manager, I have to remind you that you’re late for rehearsal.
PETER: (Stamps his feet in tantrum mode.) It’s my life! I’ll do what I want!
(Reluctantly TINKERBELL sprinkles pixie dust over everyone and they break into song as they prepare to fly off to Never Never Land):
The best minds are meetin’ with Fairy Dust
You’ll act like a cretin on Fairy Dust
Get tied up and beaten on Fairy Dust
Your brain will be eaten by Fairy Dust
Fairy Dust. Look at me – I’ve been drugged
Fairy Dust. Look at me – I can fly…
(They exit, leaping off the stage. CROCK, reappears, snaps her fingers, and shifts us to the next scene. V.D. the Pirate Queen and her lover/manager SYLVIE SNATCH are in a rehearsal studio scheming to dethrone PETER PAN.)
SYLVIE: We’ll make you a punk Pirate. I see you in hip boots, eye patch, and a parrot that pukes on stage.
V.D.: Wow! I’ll be so hot Peter will melt in the heat.
SYLVIE: You’ll be number one, and I have the perfect foil to Peter’s magic sword. (SYLVIE whips out a guitar in the shape of an explicit naked woman’s body. V.D. Squeals in delight and strums the guitar.)
SYLVIE: Stick with me, lady! I’ve got big plans. I’ve got big ulcers.
V.D.: This is a great prop, but I can’t be a big star until I get some groupies.
SYLVIE: I’ll get you groupies, or my name isn’t Sylvie Snatch.
(TIGER LILY enters. TIGER LILY is a Native American activist, who is inexplicably a devoted groupie toPETER PAN.)
V.D.: What’s up Tiger Lily?
TIGER LILY: I’m looking for Peter Pan.
SYLVIE: Peter Pan’s been two-timing you, Tiger Lily. He’s only using you. Why don’t you hook up with us?
TIGER LILY: I’ll never betray Peter, besides, your women.
SYLVIE: (to V.D.) Yeah! Grab her! (The PIRATES each grab one of TIGER LILY’S arms.)
PETER (leaps in): Drop that groupie!
V.D. (drops TIGER LILY’S arm): Is that a sock in your crotch, or are you just glad to see me?
TINKERBELL (leaps in): Peter, you’re flying a little low.
SYLVIE (to Peter as she drops TIGER LILY’S arm): V.D. is on the rise and nobody can stop
TINKERBELL: Pan will stamp out V.D.
WENDY (enters panting): Oh, Peter you flew too fast for me.
(PETER looks at WENDY, then TIGER LILY. He grabs WENDY by the elbow and steers her upstage left.)
PETER: Hey, sit this one out, honey buns. (He returns to TIGER LILY’S side.) Hey, Tige, can you do me a favor? Go to McDonald’s and get me two Big Macs, and some crispy fires?
TIGER LILY: Okay, Peter. But Big Macs are not organic. (She exits. PETER walks back to WENDY.)
PETER (puts his arm around WENDY): Wendy, I’ve reserved the Bridal Suite at Myrtle’s Shady Lane Auto Court.
TINKERBELL: Peter, I’ve got the band all set up, you need to rehearse.
WENDY: Oh, Peter, let’s go! (They exit. Blackout.)
(Lights up on a bed at the Auto Court. WENDY and PETER are in post coitus bliss.)
WENDY: Oh Peter, eight times in half an hour.
PETER (gets up and straightens his clothes): I’m getting hungry.
WENDY: Come back to bed, Peter.
PETER: I’m moving on, baby. (PETER grabs his sword and heads for the door. As he exits, he collides with TAMMY on her way in.) I’m never going to settle down.
TAMMY: What a jerk.
WENDY: No. He’s A Man Who Cares. (She sings):
If I am his, I’m what he is
And what he is, is my all
And that man knows he’s in luck
Cause I’m such a good . . . cook.
(During the song, V.D. and SYLVIE enter, disguised as chambermaids, and as the song ends, they kidnap WENDY and TAMMY. Blackout.)
(Lights up outside the Auto Court. As PETER walks away, TIGER LILY rushes in.)
TIGER LILY: Here’s you Big Mac and I’ve got news for you, Tinkerbell’s a traitor, she’s in cahoots with V.D. and Sylvie!
PETER: Nah. (he grabs the fast food bag and stuffs the burger in his mouth.) What kind of drugs have you been consuming, Tige?
TIGER LILY: Peter, I overheard them. The Crock is going to stage a “Battle of the Bands” at Never Never Land between you and the Pirates. And Tinkerbell’s not going to tell you about it.
PETER: Tink, betray Me?
TIGER LILY: And that’s not all, V.D. and Sylvie plan to kidnap your groupies, Wendy and Tammy. (Blackout.)
(Lights up inside the Auto Court. WENDY and TAMMY are tied up.)
WENDY: What do you sleazy people want with us?
V.D.: We want you to defect from Peter Pan and become our groupies.
WENDY: And what if we refuse?
SYLVIE: Well, little miss health conscious twat, we’ll force feed you junk food.
V.D. (laughing): And as for your little prepubescent sister, we’ll cut out the crotches in all her panties.
WENDY: Oh, my God! Help! Help!”
(PETER bursts in, brandishing his sword. V.D. fights back with the fringe on her Gucci Bag but surrenders when she breaks a fingernail. PETER unties WENDY and TAMMY.)
WENDY: Peter, you saved me!
(TAMMY decamps to the Pirates. TINKERBELL barges in, takes in the scene, and tries to tip-toe out.)
PETER: Tinkerbell, you betrayed me! (PETER brandishes his sword in her face.)
TINKERBELL: I gave you the best years of my life!
PETER: You exposed me to V.D.! Well, I don’t believe in fairies anymore. Let’s get out of here Wendy.” (Everybody exits except TINKERBELL.)
TINKERBELL: It was just one little incident. This is what I get for messing round with mortals! (She launches into her song):
Fairies sometimes cry, but fairies never die
We just fade away
Mortals don’t believe in us, dismiss us as unreal
Never take us serious, how do you think we feel?
Okay, I’ll just fade away (pause). Takes too long. There’s a quicker way. (She grabs a bottle of No Doz and Nyquil from the bedstand and gulps them down.) Good-bye cruel world. You won’t have Tinkerbell to kick around anymore.
PETER (enters): I forgot my sword. Tink, what have you done?
TINKERBELL: You don’t believe in me, I’m fading away.
PETER: No, Tinkerbell. I was just kidding. I believe in magic, I believe in Tink! (He repeats the phrase over and over until TINKERBELL is revived.)
TINKERBELL: Come on Peter, we have to get over to Never Never Land for the Battle of the Bands. (Blackout.)
(Lights up on Never Never Land. PETER PAN, with an even bigger stuffed sock in his crotch, sings his vapid hit; Don’t Grow Up Baby. V.D. counters with her kick-ass new wave mega hit: Kook City. It doesn’t matter. CROCK double-crosses everybody.)
V.D. (to CROCK): Who’s the winner?
CROCK: Sorry, but there is no winner, it was a tie. So, no pay day today.
SYLVIE: What about our percentage?
CROCK: The gate was low.
TINKERBELL: We want our money! (V.D., SYLVIE, and PETER & TINKERBELL close in on CROCK.)
CROCK: This is getting too real.
TAMMY (enters): Hey, everybody I just got my period!
TINKERBELL: Time for some magic. (She sprinkles fairy dust on all.)
TAMMY: Gosh, I feel so different. Why don’t we stop fighting and all join together in one big super group? (TINKERBELL waves her magic wand and they all sing in harmony.)
Music’s in the air
We all got music in us
Don’t hide it
We all got magic in us
Don’t fight it
CROCK: If this were real life, we would all fail
Instead of laughter, there would be disaster
But for the time being this is a fairytale
ALL: And we all live happily ever after. …