R-Rated Broadway Musicals
A24 may be a household name now, but this scrappy studio took a bit of a gamble with its first film musical. Directed by “Borat” creator Larry Charles, Dicks stars Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp as foul-mouthed identical twins who pull a Parent Trap-style switch to reunite their parents (Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally).
A wild comedy with songs and genitalia jokes, the movie was well received in initial reviews. Its wackiness has us wondering, what are other R-rated broadway musical movies?
Dicks: The Musical
Dicks: The Musical is a broad, campy, audacious riff on classics like The Parent Trap. It’s also a movie that proves you can do r-rated at the box office if you take a risk. Director Larry Charles (Borat, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and co-writers Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson do their best to make the most of their brash premise, and they don’t disappoint.
This movie is definitely not for kids, and the first clue that this isn’t the Disney version of the idiom is the opening title card proclaiming that “Dicks: The Musical was brazenly written by two homosexuals.” The film stars Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally as callous businessmen who discover they are long-lost identical twins and plan to reunite their eccentric divorced parents.
The film’s humor may be unnecessarily offensive to some, but it’s hard not to have fun watching these performers go all-in. Whether the joke doesn’t land or is flat-out silly, there’s something about seeing people who are so confident in their stupidity that it’s utterly endearing.
Beetlejuice: The Musical
After a brief hiatus due to the Broadway shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, Beetlejuice returned to the Marquis Theatre in April 2022. Alex Brightman reprised his Tony-nominated performance as the titular demon, and the rest of the cast was largely the same as before.
This wildly inventive musical comedy has a darkly humorous tone that makes it perfect for the entire family. It’s full of bawdy jokes about everything from guacamole to herpes to Katharine Hepburn, and it’s also a bitingly satirical look at Broadway itself.
Beetlejuice was nominated for 13 Drama Desk Awards in 2019 and won seven, including Outstanding Set Design (by David Korins), Actor in a Leading Role (Brightman), Featured Actress in a Musical (Leslie Kritzer), and Costume Design (by Scott Brown and Eddie Perfect). It’s not as explicit as some of the other r-rated broadway musicals, but it’s definitely a raunchy show. For example, within the first three minutes of the show, Beetlejuice snorts a line of cocaine off his arm.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The 1975 r-rated movie Rocky Horror Picture Show has an unforgettable cast of characters and a catchy soundtrack that have inspired many spin-offs and tributes. The film is a cult classic that has continued to pack theaters nearly 50 years after its debut.
The film is a satirical tribute to B movies, Hammer Horror films, and ’70s glam rock. It features an all-star lineup, including Tim Curry as the kinky transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon as virginal small town couple Brad and Janet, Meat Loaf as motorcycle riding rough trader Eddie, and Richard O’Brien as the hunchback butler Riff Raff.
The movie is rated R because of its explicit sexual content and adult themes. However, it has been embraced by fans who attend midnight screenings and celebrate the unique atmosphere and traditions associated with the movie. Attendees often dress in costumes and sing along to the catchy songs. This audience participation is what contributes to the enduring popularity of the movie.
The original Broadway production of Rent and Hair changed art, culture and minds. They should have the same power on television, but that won’t happen if they’re dragged through the wringer of watering down into two-cent firecrackers.
Jonathan Larson’s edgy, sexually explicit musical about the death of HIV/AIDS in New York City’s East Village is a r-rated musical with some strong language and drug use. It portrays eight bohemian New Yorkers struggling to eek out an existence in the face of poverty, AIDS and their own insecurities.
A few years after Rent’s Broadway run, it was made into a movie version. The film has a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for mature themes and some drug use and sexual content. The film includes some light-hearted sexual jokes, mock thrusting and a few sung and spoken f-words. It also depicts a few scenes of drug abuse, including a man smoking marijuana and a woman injecting herself with heroin.