Despite knowing all of West Side Story and My Fair Lady by heart as well as living and dying by Sondheim. I had never heard of the phenomenon of the “industrial musical.” Turns out during the mid-20th-century heyday of the art form, companies commissioned musical theater creators to do custom shows for their sales meetings etc.
There is a new book about this odd phenomena and it looks pretty wonderful. From a blurb on their website:
Through the rare souvenir record albums presented in EVERYTHING’S COMING UP PROFITS, an alternate show-biz universe emerges: a universe in which musical theater can be about selling silicone products, or typewriters, or insurance, or bathtubs. Some of these improbable shows were hilariously lame. Some were pretty good. And some were flat-out fantastic.
I guess the practice didn’t die out completely. In 2006, there was a musical at the Wal-Mart share holder meeting. I bet Equity artists were NOT invited.