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AT LACMA Thu 10.15.2015

Five Questions For Tonight’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Live Read

Bowm bowm. Chick, chicka-chickaa. What’s that sound? It’s another Live Read grooving its way onto the Bing Theater stage tonight at Film Independent at LACMA. This time Live Read creator Jason Reitman and his band of yet-to-be-announced performers will bring to life the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The film seems like such a shoe-in for Live Read it’s hard to believe it hasn’t already been done.

But John Hughes’ seminal high school hooky comedy actually presents several challenges for the live read format. We can’t wait to see how the following elements are handled:

All that singing
Danke schoen, darling, danke schoen. You can’t watch the movie with out getting this one in your head. And nearly every character in the film gets it stuck in theirs too. Ferris (Matthew Broderick) starts it, but before long Mr. Moody (Jeffrey Jones) and Ferris’ sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey) are humming it too. It’s a great illustration of the way Ferris’ ethos has pervaded even the minds of his enemies. But will it translate to the Live Read Stage?

And that’s just one of several iconic musical numbers in the film. There’s the haunting spiritual (*wink*) “Let My Cameron Go,” and who doesn’t want to see the stage version of this:

Bueller… Bueller…
Every day this line is quoted thousands of times across America. But no one delivers it quite like Ben Stein’s monotonous economics teacher. But who will play that part isn’t as big a question as whether or not it will even make it to the stage. Live Reads usually stick to the script, and reportedly both of Stein’s scenes are entirely—Anyone? Anyone?—improvised.

Live Reads have found ways to incorporate unscripted lines in the past. Here’s hoping they fit a little bit of this into the night too:

And those set pieces
There’s no shortage of visual hijinks in Ferris Bueller—the dummy in the bed, stealing a cab from Dad, Mr. Rooney and the dog. How will any of that manifest itself at tonight’s Live Read? For the most part the performers just sit and read. So what’s going to happen on stage when Cameron’s father’s car goes through the window?

It may be a matter of reading of the stage direction with conviction, perhaps with an image on the screen. But we’re betting they find a way to dramatize a little bit of this:

Deleted scenes
One of the most amusing elements of Live Reads is that Reitman tries to find the earliest version of the script he can. Many of those scripts feature scenes that were either trimmed in the editing room or cut from the film altogether. And on the Live Read stage they’re brought to life, often for the first time, by a professional cast.

According to legend, Ferris Bueller had two younger siblings in early drafts. Will they make appearances tonight? There was also allegedly an episode involving the jumbotron at Wrigley Field and a conversation with a call-in-radio host about Ferris going to outer space.

And what about this curious little addendum about the pancreas:

Life moves pretty fast…
But one facet of the film that should work perfectly on a stage is Ferris’ iconic breaking of the fourth wall.

With Fred Savage in the role, we’ll finally get the weird and wonderful Ferris Bueller/Wonder Years mashup we never knew we always wanted. Check out the rest of the cast here.

A limited number of stand-by tickets are available at the theater before the event. For more information, click here.

Tom Sveen / Film Independent

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  • Pamela M.

    Nice blog. Can’t wait to see the cast!