"HOT LIPS AND COLD WAR"
This musical play decorates genuine time lines and bones of truth with the spicey extra "what could have beens", the behind the scene unrecorded, secret dramas of America's top family, prying into the love, glamour, intrigue & death impacting the Kennedy family in 1962-3 whilst the world was at the brink of nuclear apocalypse...
Beginning and ending with Maria Ahern, John F Kennedy's fictional relative in The Irish Republic from where his great great, grandfather Patrick fled the Great Famine of 1848 to America or "The New World", Maria in a desperate fix follows in family footsteps crossing the Atlantic hoping for security and good fortune to use her photography. Through clannish and sisterly trust she she quickly immerses with the iconic figures of Jackie and John F Kennedy and meets Marilyn Monroe.
Throughout history the vital but forgotten ordinary domestic staff see the secret intimate nitty-gritty which never makes it to the history books - simply because a lack of loyalty or discretion with the truth costs more than the job or maybe their life's worth!
Action takes place deep in the president's private quarters at The White House. Rumour and speculation describe the Kennedy men's magnetic attraction to beautiful women and likely serial philandering, but relationships, families, Government; everything relies on trust! The President's social circle includes the entertainment firmament and brushes with the most admired pin up of all time - Marilyn Monroe. Thrice divorced, at 36 she has few throws of the dice left career wise or personally; she's become unpredictable on meds. Fabulous,complicated, underestimated Marlyn is still unfulfilled, she feels there is just one further unlikely step on life's ladder, one top prize to win; The man at the top...
Maria in her first experience of men, fled with Davy to America in the painful stage of wounded, reliance on our fly on man who is a shallow user. the wall has her own troubles and path to tread and sour relationships to survive.
Jackie is not in the dark but fit to burst with pent up fears that her much loved, roguish husband's infidelity will be discovered; any slip now could have devastating consequences...
America placed ultimate trust in their president, but even his wife doesn't trust him not to betray her and wreck the power and reputation of The White House precisely when weakness would suit the Russian aggressor! Jackie seeks to do something to appeal to her husband's good sense and young photographer Maria can help.
"HOT LIPS AND COLD WAR" joins the dots and colours the background to flesh out sensational personal gambles.
Starting in New Ross Southern Ireland at Kennedy's ancestoral base near tiny Dunganstown where today's wonderful Kennedy heritage centre is; we meet fictional relative Maria who will witness the intensely stressful period of the Kennedy couple's life through her association with boyfriend Davy who there briefly is employed to scout the President's travel plans. These flys on the walls take us in to witness the domestic pressures of America's presidential family, vice and vulnerability during an incredibly dangerous and fast evolving period of social and global history when women and African Americans were struggling against the the grip of the male establishment. The musical's songbook uses different genres and styles from Irish folk song, crooners songs, light semi classical, modern jazz, boogie with modern through composed interior songs toilluminate characters thoughts, taste and origins. The tale ends full circle back in Ireland with Kennedy's triumphal visit back to his roots in June 1963 in Maria's home town.
Could Marilyn Monroe have changed history? Does Jackie cope? Will Maria survive her encounters and find a good man?
"HOT LIPS AND COLD WAR" - what might have been...
Cast of 9
John F Kennedy 45
Jackie Kennedy 31
Marilyn Monroe 36
Maria an ambitious young photographer and sometime songwriter from New Ross, Kennedy's Irish ancestoral home town.
Davy an Anglo Irish private office travel assistant.
Jerome a young South Gentleman, who raises funds, gambles and musicalises.
Nigel an old school Englishman, met in London before the second world war, a behind the scenes private office personal security man
Grace a long serving Kennedy private staff linen maid, originally a local African American Washingtonian
Marvin Grace's son, an occaisonal odd job man, aspiring musician and trainee preacher
The target audience
A broad musical theatre audience on both sides of the Atlantic, interested in the most exciting period of 20th century cultural icons, change and history. This dramatic musical story takes place during seismic transitions in social, civil rights for Black Americans and women and paint the shifting attitudes towards class, gender and race. The phenomena of the teenager and decline in respect for authority develops in parallel with the burgeoning pop music phenomena on both sides of the Atlantic and the start of the environmentalist lobby. The circumstances around Kennedy’s brief Presidency and his possible affair with Marilyn Monroe is told here by fictional, below the radar men and women administrating the First family’s domestic household affairs and personal security, the forgotten, behind the scenes mechanics of everyday existence whose fictional experience allows us in on off the record incidents between a trio of twentieth century's most talked about icons.
The music of the Beat generation, modern jazz, big band, black music, Elvis, the emergence of The Beatles, all was happening at the same time as Bing Crosby and The Rat Pack were clinging on to grown up easy listening, whilst the American standard and musical show song book boomed with sassy new Broadway writers too. These wonderful genres inform the song numbers to recreate a new musical essence of the times relevant to the character’s experience and emotional expression. The Kennedy’s with Jackie as “Guinevere” have been likened to the fairy tale Arthurian Camelot since the musical by the same name became known. Music from folk heritage also featured strongly and influenced pop writing on both sides of the Atlantic. These many influences are voiced through the characters' various origins and status. The all original song book includes introspective songs in a timeless and unique melodic style which puts language in the forefront and time signatures second producing a dreamy, naturalistic fusion of piano and vocal expression carrying hints of many compositional influences from folk to Satie and swing.
"HOT LIPS AND COLD WAR" will interest musical culture vultures, fans of "Mad Men" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and those who want to find new songs to remember, many of which are enhanced with dance; but no Busby Berkely think more of "House of Cards" with "High Society". Revisit the sixties and discover the journey of three women trapped by age old problems who couldn't be more different in opportunity, life or love but who are thrown together in a situation which could have shattered the world in the greatest affair of the most elegant and important Mr & Mrs in global politics since Antony and Cleopatra...
....the musical drama of what might have been, the inside story of John, Jackie and Marilyn as seen by a fictional fly on the wall...
Development of this new musical play begins September 2016 with Ray Rackham directing the major character development in workshop at The London Theatre Workshop, Leadenhall, London.