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Oh! Calcutta! was a long-running avant-garde theatrical revue, created by British drama critic Kenneth Tynan. The show, consisting of various sketches on sex-related topics, debuted in Off-Broadway in 1969. It proved, once again, that sex sells, running in London for over 2,400 performances, and in New York for over 1,600. The show sparked considerable controversy at the time, because it featured extended scenes of total nudity, both male and female. The title is taken from a painting by Clovis Trouille, itself a pun on "O quel cul t'as!", French for "What an ass you have!". Tynan had hoped that Harold Pinter would direct the production, in order to give it avant-garde legitimacy, but Pinter declined. (The original director was Jacques Levy, remembered by most now as the songwriting partner of Bob Dylan on his album Desire.) Most of the sketches (written, amongst others, by Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett, John Lennon, Sam Shepard, Edna O'Brien, Jules Feiffer, and Tynan himself) featured the cast naked (including Bill Macy). Peter Schickele (aka 'PDQ Bach'), Robert Dennis and Stanley Walden were the revue's composers, known as The Open Window. A pay-per-view video production played on closed-circuit TV in select cities in 1971, and in 1972 a motion picture version was also released - in both cases many cities and municipalities banned its showing. A 1976 Broadway revival at the Edison Theatre ran for thirteen years, briefly becoming the longest-running play in Broadway history, with a total of 5,959 performances.
Conceived by Kenneth Tynan; Contributions by Samuel Beckett, Jules Feiffer, Dan Greenburg, John Lennon, Jacques Levy, Leonard Melfi, David Newman, Robert Benton, Sam Shepard, Clovis Trouille, Kenneth Tynan And Sherman Yellen; Music And Lyrics, The Open Window: Robert Dennis, Peter Schickele And Stanley Walden; Musical Director: Norman Bergen
Eden Theatre, Off Broadway, NY 17 Jun 1969
Applause Theatre Book Publishers 1988 978-09368339486
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