The Nutshell: China – The Whole Enchilada is three white men singing, dancing, and irreverently marching their way through five thousand years of Chinese history in 90 minutes. One guy loves China, one is convinced China is going to overthrow the world at any minute, and the third keeps getting China confused with Japan.
The Backstory: After I adopted my daughter from China I wanted to write a show about that experience. I started writing a play about the adoption process but it was pretentious and lousy. In the meantime, I had become fascinated with China and was reading a lot about the country. Then I thought, why not write a play about China? Sort of a China For Dummies. At about the same time, a well educated colleague of mine (This person has a doctorate) asked me, “Will your daughter be able to speak English?” I said, “Um…yes. Why wouldn’t she?” This person responded, “I didn’t know if their palates were formed differently.” It was at that point that I decided to bring that ignorance to the show. I wanted to use fairly provocative comedy to shed light on the absurdity of ignorance and intolerance.
The Trivia: The show started out as a play, but then I added a song. Then another. And another. Soon I had about a dozen songs. I asked my friend Paul Mirkovich if he could help me with the music. He said yes, thinking I was pulling his leg about writing a musical about the history of China. For months we joked about inappropriate rhymes. We were a few weeks away from a workshop of the show when I went to Paul and said we needed to record the music. His jaw dropped. “You’re serious!?” We quickly recorded the songs with a piano. After the workshop we got together, and in four days we completely orchestrated and recorded all of the songs. To this day Paul still thinks I’m kidding him.
The script can be purchased at Samuel French.