As we know from our retrospective piece on the topic, it’s been a decade since Oklahoma’s Fearless Freaks, The Flaming Lips, released (arguably) their defining work, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots – a kaleidoscopic journey of psychelicious pop with a loose narrative about the titular Japanese heroine fighting in a world of evil robots. Would make a good musical right? Funny you should say…
Though it’s been touted as far back as 2007, the Yoshimi stage musical is finally coming to fruition and SPIN reports that band linchpin, Wayne Coyne and the production company at La Jolla Playhouse putting together the show, have begun casting.
Aside from looking for young Asian actresses who are “comfortable with lifts and contact” to play Yoshimi herself, director Des McAnuff is looking for a multicultural cast to fill out the Flaming Lips musical; including African-American actors who aren’t afraid of heights and older Asian men who are “capable of moving.”
The production is being helmed by director Des McAnuff,who has had some experience with working with bands considering his Tony Award-winning work on Jersey Boys and collaborating with Pete Townsend on the The Who’s stage production of Quadrophenia.
McAnuff has been working closely with The Lips over the last few years on the Yoshimi musical, which will contain music from the 2002 album, as well as songs from its predecessor – 1999’s The Soft Bulletin – and it’s sequel, 2006’s At War With The Mystics.
“It’s hokey and wonderful and poignant and powerful,” Coyne told SPIN recently. “It’s really become a perfect combination of my fantastical robot-world vision.” Thanks to Broadway World, we also have a deeper look at the plot and its characters with descriptions of the characters for casting purposes.
“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.”
Meanwhile some of the descriptions of the actors they’re seeking describe just how ambitious a production it will be.
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.
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.
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.
Be sure to read our Flaming Lips Retrospective, Ten Years On: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, and check out our latest slideshow – covering the freakiest (and therefore greatest) moments in the band’s career below: