Brenda Krouse…..Jan Hooks
Ross Treadway…..Phil Hartman
Nina Treadway…..Nora Dunn
[ music open: “Getting To Know You” ]
[ dissolve to the “On Broadway” set ]
Brenda Krouse: Hello. I’m Brenda Krouse, “On Broadway”. Now, that music, and these posters, are, of course, from the Rogers & Hammerstein classic “The King & I”. Now, tonight we’ll be getting to know the man who’s now starring in the Westbury Music Fair production – Ross Treadway. Ross, welcome.
Ross Treadway: Thank you.
Brenda Krouse: Now, you took over the lead role in the show, the King of Siam, from the legendary Yul Brynner, who virtually made a career out of the role. I mean, he won countless awards, broke all kinds of box office records. I think it must be tremendously frustrating to step into the shadow of a performer like that, am I right? It must be a no-win situation.
Ross Treadway: So, what are you saying, that the show should be abandoned, never perform it again?
Brenda Krouse: Oh, no, not at all..
Ross Treadway: [ angry ] Then, what’s your point?
Brenda Krouse: Well, I-I-I.. just mean that, you know, you’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. I mean, Yul Brynner was so popular in that role.
Ross Treadway: [ guffaws ] Oh, really? He was? What an interesting news item, I’d better write that down – Yul Brynner, popular, “King & I”.
Brenda Krouse: [ stunned by Ross’ outburst ] Uh.. I guess I can understand how it would be a, uh.. a sore point.
Ross Treadway: Alright, listen, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Yul Brynner wasn’t good in the role, I’m sure he was. All I’m saying is that there’s a guy by the name of Ross Treadway, and he’s pretty good, too.
Brenda Krouse: Okay. Alright. Well, the reviews, overall, have been pretty favorable. Looking at my notes here, I see that your performance has been called “satisfactory”, “adequate”, “serviceable”..
Ross Treadway: [ annoyed ] Yeah. You know, my favorite was “workmanlike”. A response like that doesn’t exactly blast you out of bed in the morning!
Brenda Krouse: But, you know, Ross, you really can’t blame people for making that comparison, can you?
Ross Treadway: Who can’t blame people? I can blame. You bet I can blame! You know, the thing that irritates me is that people accept this great reputation – on heresay! I mean, how many people actually saw Yul Brynner in “The King & I”?
Brenda Krouse: [ laughs ] Well, come on! He did about 4,000 performances, plus the film, which was quite successful.
Ross Treadway: Define “successful”.
: [ laughs ] Well..
Ross Treadway: No! See, this really galls me! I mean, maybe that film was okay, but this guy made a lot of bad movies! Nobody wants to talk about those. “The Ten Commandments” – phew-wee!
Brenda Krouse: Really? Well now, you see, I really liked him in “The Ten Commandments”.. I did..
Ross Treadway: [ jumps up and taps her skull really hard ] Hel-lo! Is anybody home?!
Brenda Krouse: [ struggling ] Ow! Ouch! Stop it! Stop it! Don’t ever hit me! Alright?! Now, I can understand how you can be frustrated by this. But, really!
Ross Treadway: No, people are robots! They are! You know, they’re programmed from birth: “The King & I”? [ imitates a robot ] Yul Brynner, Yul Brynner, Yul Brynner.. It’s all so nice and tidy! But, God forbid, an original thought, or, let’s say, a talented actor should intrude upon their little menagerie of lies!
Brenda Krouse: Alright. Alright. Now, you choose to portray the king as having a full head of hair.
Ross Treadway: Okay.. [ holds up script ] Here’s the book of “The King & I” – right here!! Nowhere.. in this book.. does it say the king is bald. Nowhere! I’ll give you $10,000 if you can find the word “bald” anywhere! Here it is! [ thrusts out his bank book ] You want it!
Brenda Krouse: No, I don’t want it! It just seems that after Yul Brynner, the audience might be expecting a bald head.
Ross Treadway: Yeah. Okay! Fine! You’re right, you’re absolutely right! You know, let’s not knock the icon off his precious pedestal! [ grabs a pair of scissors and begins to cut his hair out ] You want bald?! Bald! Fine! Alright, blad it is!!
Brenda Krouse: [ tries to stop him ] No! No!
Ross Treadway: You’re happy! Everybody’s happy, okay! Here we go!
Brenda Krouse: Stop this! Ross, please!
Ross Treadway: Bald, bald, bald!!
[ Ross’ wife, Nina, steps onstage and tries to calm him down ]
Nina Treadway: Give me the scissors! Please? Give them to me! [ Ross hands her the scissors, sits down and cries ] I’ve got something to say to those people. You people make me so damn mad! My husband is a good man! But, oh, one unpardonable crime – he’s not Yul Brynner! Well, gee, I’m not Yul Brynner, either! And, you know what, none of you are Yul Brynner, either, are you? Are you?!
Ross Treadway: [ embarassed ] Nina.. I’m alright now..
Nina Treadway: You don’t deserve my husband! My husband, an actor! You all seem to want Yul Brynner – dig him up! See what kind of a show he’ll do for you! Then do your little standing ovation, throw your roses, and just get out! Just get out!!
Ross Treadway: Nina, please..
Nina Treadway: You’re the lowest form of life on Earth! The LOWEST form!! [ spits, turns and exits ]
Brenda Krouse: [ stunned ] Um.. you know, Ross.. maybe you ought to discuss this with someone.
Ross Treadway: Someone? You mean, a psychiatrist? Oh boy, that’s a good one.. I’m crazy? The whole world is worshipping at the altar of some overrated has-been, and I’m nuts?! Whoa-oa-oa, that’s a good one! Wow-ow-ow! [ gives a creepy laugh ]
Brenda Krouse: Alright, it.. it.. it causes you so much pain. Why don’t you just quit the show?
Ross Treadway: I am! What, are you kidding? What do you think I am, a masochist?! Four more weeks, and I’m doing a different show. Because I don’t need the aggravation – I don’t need it!!
Brenda Krouse: Well, that’s great.. that’s great, Ross. What-what-what show will you be doing?
Ross Treadway: “Zorba the Greek”.
Brenda Krouse: Well.. best of luck to you, Ross. You know what? We’re out of time. [ laughs ] Good night, we’ll see you next time!