By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
TO: Heath Quincy-Browne
CC: Pierre Cossette
FROM: Stephen Dolginoff
SUBJECT: re: Jesse
Heath. I am very sad to hear that you are leaving us. Working with an old pro like you has been a joy! The musical would never have progressed this far without you. It's a shame that Jesse's bullying, thimble-headed ways have gotten the best of you. We've all suffered during this last year (last week the "Governor" wanted to know if Broadway actors actually sing their songs, or if they "lip-synch"). Hopefully the rest of us will be able to keep sane. If I have to tell one more idiot reporter how "theater savvy" Jesse is, and what a "pleasure" he is to work with, I might be joining you in Wales. Godspeed! Stephen
TO: Stephen Dolginoff
CC: Heath Quincy-Browne
FROM: Pierre Cossette
SUBJECT: re: re: Jesse
Just keep me out of it! I'm going tuna-fishing with Frank Gifford. Be back in a week. Pierre
THE FINAL CHAPTER:
DATE: May 22, 2002
TO: Jesse Ventura
FROM: Stephen Dolginoff
SUBJECT: ACT III!
We are nearing the finish line, gentlemen. The dramatic possibilities are wide open! I see no reason to be constrained by "reality" here. This is not a biopic, but a musical. We need a grand, dramatic conclusion to rightfully cement Mr. Ventura as an icon of the American dream.
The third act opens with the ex-governor in a funk. Ventura is sitting alone in his Maple Grove home chomping on a cigar and staring vacantly at his cell phone. Ventura's cachet in Hollywood and on the talk-show circuit has plummeted to an all-time low. He even confesses to missing the relentless hectoring of reporters. After a long sigh, Ventura rises and sings. Possible titles include "Why Won't Larry (King) Call," "Where Have You Gone, Greta Van Susteren," or "(Not So) Young and Restless." The first scene ends with Ventura at center stage, illuminated by a spotlight, both hands raised to the heavens. Perhaps he sings a melancholy reprise of "Football Practice (Drop and Gimme Twenty)," dropping to the stage and doing pushups.
I see three possibilities for how we can proceed at this point.
I. Jesse Joins the War on Terror
The action opens with Ventura calling President Bush (preferably played by former congressman Fred Grandy, the onetime Love Boat star). Mr. Ventura wants to serve as a special advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, with an emphasis on covert operations. Both Ventura and Bush are onstage in their respective offices. The president is joined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield [sic] and Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge. Mr. Ventura urges Bush to do a "gut check on his patriotism." Immediately swayed, the president, Rumsfield, and Ridge sing a patriotic number, possibly "America Needs the Body."
The climactic scene features Jesse and Terry in their down-filled bed at the ranch, lovingly bickering over the prospect. Terry is skeptical: She wants to settle down and live a quiet life. She sings a contemplative, wistful number, possibly "Settle Down, Cowboy" or "(Let's Just Ride Into the Sunset) My Cowboy." Ultimately Ventura convinces her that it's his duty to help fight the War on Terrorism.
The show ends with Ventura singing a rousing patriotic number. Various cast members join the Venturas onstage. His SEAL buddies descend on ropes from the rafters; pro wrestlers take turns body slamming each other across the stage. Various iconic images from American history (Martin Luther King on the mall, the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, Abraham Lincoln, etc.) are projected on the theater walls. Possible titles for the finale include "Osama Will Be Sorry" or "I Will Fight Again (for America)," and a reprise of "I Don't Know the Meaning of Can't."
II. Jesse Runs for President
The action opens with Ventura receiving a phone call from Sen. John McCain imploring him to run for president. It's 2004 and Bush and Gore are locked in an ugly, if still dull, rematch of the previous presidential election. Both McCain and Ventura are onstage in their respective offices. The senator (hopefully played by Conrad Bain, the Broadway veteran and onetime Diff'rent Strokes star) appeals to Ventura's distaste for partisan politics. He sings a song, possibly "The Republicrats Must Go" or "Gush and Bore No More," with Ventura gradually joining in. By the end of the scene, the two Vietnam vets have locked arms and are high-stepping across the stage as confetti falls from the rafters.
The climactic bedroom scene is same as above, except: Ultimately Mr. Ventura persuades Mrs. Ventura that it is his duty to make a bid for the White House. The show ends with Ventura singing a rousing patriotic number. Possible titles for the finale include "Commander in Chief" (to the tune of "Cruella de Ville") or "Just a Boy From Minnesota."
The scene opens with Ventura resting in a hammock reading Playboy. He eventually drifts off to sleep, and we enter Jesse's dream world. The stage goes dark for a moment, and when we next see Ventura, he's riding a Jet Ski down the Mississippi, whistling "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." He passes by buxom bikini-clad women and beer-drinking, shirtless young men chanting, "Ride, Jesse, Ride!" and the Rolling Stones playing "Honky Tonk Women."