The long-awaited Flaming Lips musical -- titled Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots -- will debut on November 6 at the La Jolly Playhouse in Los Angeles. When the project was initially announced in 2007, Aaron Sorkin was attached as a writer. But when the play became entirely sung-through, he dropped off, leaving the script in the hands of director Des McAnuff (whose previous experience includes The Who's Tommy and Jersey Boys, based on the music of the Four Seasons).
It's not hard to understand why spoken dialogue might have been dropped -- there's plenty of narrative to be found in the Lips' lyrics as it. The musical, despite sharing a name with one particular album, will draw from the band's extensive catalogue. So what do you think will make the track list?
We're guessing you're looking one of the featured songs above. As for the rest, there are some, but not many, hints to be had. The first comes via the La Jolly's official synopsis of the play, which reads:
Yoshimi is a young Japanese artist facing the battle of her life: the battle for her life. Adrift from her family and lover, Yoshimi journeys alone into a fantastical robot-world where she wages a war with fate. Will her will to survive be powerful enough to master the evil forces that threaten to destroy her? Inspired by the whimsical and psychedelic music of Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips, this world premiere musical integrates music from several albums ("Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," "The Soft Bulletin," "At War with the Mystics") with Coyne and multiple Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff's poignant, humanistic story about the triumph of love and optimism over the mystery of our own mortality. The result is dazzling, multi-media experience that offers an allegory of our modern battle for progressive thought and individuality in the face of blind acceptance and conformity.
Other than that, there isn't much information about the play out there, despite the upcoming premiere. Yoshimi is currently casting in New York -- you can learn a bit more about the characters involved from the information contained in the casting call, which has been widely distributed in the past day or so.
YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS
Artistic Director: Christopher Ashley Managing Director: Michael Rosenberg Associate Producer: Dana Harrel
Story by Wayne Coyne and Des McAnuff Music and Lyrics by The Flaming Lips Conceived and Directed by Des McAnuff Musical Supervisor/Director: Ron Melrose Casting: Tara Rubin Casting
1st Rehearsal: 9/18/12. Runs: 11/6 - 12/16/21 NYC auditions will be held in August, 2012 by appointment only. Seeking submissions from Actors' Equity Members only for these auditions.
Yoshimi Yasukawa is involved in a war between her boyfriends, Ben Nickel and Booker. Before that gets resolved she finds herself fighting for her life. "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" is a magical story that takes place in the modern world and simultaneously on a science fiction landscape where there is an army of pink robots. It is a story of love and the struggle for survival. It will be an ambitious technological production featuring singing, dancing, and puppetry.
BEN: Late 20's-mid 30s. This character is Caucasian; Rock Tenor/gentle alt-rock voice w/strength up to Tenor 'A' and gentle 'float' up to Tenor 'B'. - A mercurial spirit in a three-piece suit and an open bow tie, which serves as a kind of uniform in a Chaplin-esque fashion. A computer graphics designer for a publishing house. Must be capable of dance and physical clowning - gawky but also charming and attractive. He is in love with YOSHIMI. MUST BE COMFORTABLE W/AERIAL WORK AND HEIGHTS.
BOOKER: Late 20s-mid 30s. Rock Tenor/Gentle tenor/Bari-tenor w/strength up to 'F' sharp and also gentle float up to tenor 'B'; This character is African-American. A tall, athletic, good-looking business-man in a suit, white shirt and tie. An investment counselor and broker. Must be a good mover. He is in love with YOSHIMI. MUST BE COMFORTABLE W/AERIAL WORK AND HEIGHTS.
YOSHIMI: 27. Rock belt & folk mezzo/gentle alt-rock soloist comfortable singing strongly or with frailty up to 'D' ('D' on the staff - not soprano high 'D'). Asian. A beautiful, first generation Asian-American. A visual artist and later a Freedom Fighter. MUST BE COMFORTABLE AS A DANCER WITH LIFTS AND CONTACT. MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH AERIAL WORK AND HEIGHTS.
MR. YASUKAWA: 50s; Rock Tenor or high; May look frail but must sing with surprising confidence, passion and strength; Baritone - Asian - 1st generation Asian immigrant. YOSHIMI's father, a rather stern, concerned parent - middle class business man. Capable of moving.
MRS. YASUKAWA: 50s; Rock Alto/Folk Mezzo - may look frail but should sing with confidence, passion and strength; Asian. 1st generation Asian immigrant. Yoshimi's loving, dedicated mother. Capable of moving.
The Flaming Lips will be in St. Louis next week, headlining the third installment of LouFest in Forest Park.