Production Information

The Poptimists arose out of a high school memory of mine from the early 1970's. A traveling pop group of young performers entertained at an assembly. They were clean cut, optimistic and sang contemporary pop tunes.  Nothing controversial in the least -- at least on the surface. They also had their own live big band accompanying them.

Their name was The Spurrlows, and they were sponsored by Chrysler/Plymouth under the guise of teaching young people optimism, peace, racial tolerance, American values, and -- driving safety. There were other travelling groups as well back then: Up With People and The Young Americans were probably the most prominent.

Three things about The Spurrlows have stuck with me all these years:

1. These kids were just SO clean cut, energetic and always smiling. Kind of like Stepford kids on amphetimines. There were, of course, "dramatic" moments in the show when they sang a serious song -- or talked about driving safety.

2. Blue and white. The set was a corporate wash of blue and white shiny molded plastic flats. The Chrysler logo was quite prominent and "The Spurrlows" was spelled out in big letters upstage. And the band had those cool music stands so they looked like a big band from the 1930's and 40's.  The costumes were also blue and white, making the entire cast look like a combination of stewardesses and ushers.

3. Sometimes, the things they were trying to teach had just the opposite effect. As I recall, there were a few minority performers in the cast. Most were in the band.  But they seemed out of place with the overwhelming middle class, suburban Caucasian feel of the show.  And by standing out, they kind of defeated the group's lessons of being accepted on an equal level.

Not to mention the squeaky-clean, wholesome-looking girls with long, ironed hair (or short beehive cuts) who sang about love so chastely and innocently that it only made them three times as sexy and alluring.

And so, my warped sensibilities continued developing through the years (and I became much more cynical). And about a year ago I suddenly flashed back on this high school assembly and found it the perfect target for satire.  Instead of using the actual pop songs of the day (as they had), I decided to compose an original score -- one in which I could tweak and warp things even a little bit more.

The resulting show, The Poptimists, is intended as an affectionate poke at both the faux idealism and conservative propaganda of 1970 -- both not-so-subtlely disguised in upbeat American clothing.

I can only hope that you vaguely remember this show for even half as long as I remember that original high school assembly nearly forty years ago.

This one's just for laughs.  So enjoy.

--Ted Kopulos