re: Does anyone have information on CLEAVAGE THE MUSICAL?

BustopherPhantom Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I have looked everywhere on the net, and found almost nothing (the only sight of it is on IBDB) on a 1982, 1-performance Broadway flop called Cleavage the Musical written almost entirely by Buddy Sheffield (with help on the book by David Sheffield).

I ask because I recently listened to a copy of the cast album (and hoooooooooooolyGod is it awful). Does anyone know anything about this forgotten show?

So shall a man leave his mother and his father
And shall cleave onto his spouse...
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum
Updated On: 7/24/08 at 02:35 PM
Featured Actor
I think it went bust.
StockardFan Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Yes, here's the story on CLEAVAGE:
Some years ago on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi there was a theatre group called the "Sheffield Theatre Ensemble". From what I can recall, they did a lot of original pieces, impov type theatre and the like.

The show (Cleavage) has it's premier there in Mississippi and was written by one of the co-founders and leaders of the theatre group. The show got a lot of attention for how bawdy and outrageous it was (especially at the time-early 80s) with men in drag singing the song "Boys will be girls" and other (again at the time and ESPECIALLY in the South) jaw dropping songs. The decision was made at some point in time to bring it to NYC after a short "tour" in the South. I saw it in Hattiesburg at the University performing arts center when I was in my teens and honestly thought it was hysterical. The performers were a riot.

New York critics and audiences did not embrace it as those in the South did and it closed after one performance here. The actors in the show were top shelf (and I believe all were making their Broadway Debut). Jay Rogers, a longtime fixture in the New York cabaret scene after that was a standout.
Hearing the cast album these days with all it's camp might seem like "So what?" but at the time (remember it was the early 80s) it was very cute and risque material.
husk_charmer Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I actually have a copy of the show on LP...wonder how many were made.
BustopherPhantom Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Oh, the recording is AWFUL! Apologies to all who like it, but I just cannot abide something that takes this:

When I was in the Marines
I had to guard the latrine
But they caught me peekin' in
In response to the charge,
I said, "Listen, sarge,
I'm just lookin' for a few good men!"

for wit, and this:

Please explain
Am I completely deranged?
And why do I feel so strange?

for good rhyming.

But yeah. Thanks for the information, stephen!
"Y'know, I think Bertolt Brecht was rolling in his grave."
-Nellie McKay on the 2006 Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera, in which she played Polly Peachum
Funny that you ask. The original production of Cleavage was the very first theatrical stage production that I ever saw. It is the show that I credit for bringing me into the world of theater, and ultimately my career as a theatrical designer. Cleavage began life in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1979. It was originally written and produced by The Sheffield Ensemble Theater (SET), and it's first performances were at the Saenger Theater Biloxi in 1979.
The show was written by Biloxi native Buddy Sheffield, who later went on to fame by writing for shows like "In Living Color" and "The Edge". The Cast included Terese Gargiulo, David Sheffield and Jay Rogers. I still have, in my possession, the original program from those Biloxi performances.
You can still find Jay Rogers at work in New York in various clubs and most recently at 54 Below back in November 2012. David Sheffield went on to much success as a writer of such screenplays as "The Nutty Professor"(1996) and "Coming To America"(198. I have had(in my professional career) the pleasure of working with David Sheffield, Therese Gargiulo here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I have also had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Jay Rogers and Buddy Sheffield.
I believe that Cleavage is the most underrated flop to ever open on Broadway. It received a very favorable review in the NY Times the day after it closed in 1982. I have made it one of my life's goals, to produce and direct this show here on the Mississippi Coast.
Mr Roxy Profile Photo
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
It is going to be done by encores next season
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman
At the Performing Arts Library there's an 11-minute video featuring excerpts from the show. Jay Rogers comes off best, although the clips are very brief.
egghumor Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
For additional information, you can try corresponding with James Miller, Professor of Theater at University of Missouri-Columbia. His wife Marsha was in the cast that opened (and closed) in New York.
I was the original musical director/arranger for the show. I still have the original handwritten charts (before Finale and Sibelius made it so easy, so it was a labor of love). Cleavage was a tough New York experience, but it was a springboard for many great things to come. I am sorry you had such a hideous experience of our little comedy.

In addition to going on to become the head writer for "In Living Color," Buddy also went on to be the head writer for a very funny and successful sketch comedy series on Nickelodeon called "Roundhouse"....

once a month Profile Photo
once a month
Broadway Legend
Not to be confused with another titty turkey, Bosoms and Neglect!
Broadway Legend
It had a good run in New Orleans.
Lloyd321 Profile Photo
Chorus Member
Sounds fun! hahahha Cast recording!?

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