A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant is a satirical musical about Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, written by Kyle Jarrow from a concept by Alex Timbers, the show's original director. Jarrow based the story of the one-act, one-hour musical on Hubbard's writings and Church of Scientology literature. The musical follows the life of Hubbard as he develops Dianetics and then Scientology. Though the musical pokes fun at Hubbard's science fiction writing and personal beliefs, it has been called a "deadpan presentation" of his life story. Topics explored in the piece include Dianetics, the E-meter, Thetans, and the story of Xenu. The show was originally presented in 2003 in New York City by Les Freres Corbusier, an experimental theater troupe, enjoying sold-out Off-Off-Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Later productions have included Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Early in the production of the musical, the president of the Church of Scientology in New York sent a letter to the producer pointing out the Church's history of litigation. This led Timbers and Jarrow to insert the word "Unauthorized" into the title, upon the advice of legal counsel. During the Los Angeles production, representatives of the Church of Scientology visited the production staff in the midst of rehearsals and handed out documentation of successful litigation against critics of Scientology. Parents of some of the Los Angeles cast members also received phone calls from Scientologists in the entertainment industry, asking them not to allow their children to perform in the musical.
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant has been well received. The 2003 New York production received an Obie Award, and director Alex Timbers received a Garland Award for the 2004 Los Angeles production. The musical also received positive reviews in the press. The New York Times characterized it as a "cult-hit", and The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian all gave it favorable reviews. Variety and The Boston Globe had kind words for the updated 2006 edition. A 2004 cast recording released by Sh-K-Boom Records received four out of five stars from Allmusic and plaudits from The Los Angeles Daily News.
Famous quotes containing the words pageant, merry, unauthorized and/or children:
“The intellectual man requires a fine bait; the sots are easily amused. But everybody is drugged with his own frenzy, and the pageant marches at all hours, with music and banner and badge.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one state, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”
—Andrew Jackson (17671845)
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—Grace Baruch (20th century)