“If you liked Book of Mormon, you'll love Bukowsical. In its own deeply personal style, it's just that great.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“New Line Theatre's production is an absolute blast. Go see it immediately!” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“A smoky, clever, amazingly foul-mouthed show.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Folks will either see it as one of the most outrageously funny things ever staged, or it will offend every sense. (Or possibly both.)” – Steve Callahan, KDHX

“An evening you won’t soon forget.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

What’s the feeling you get When you’re down on your luck And you’re too drunk to fuck? BUKOWSICAL!
-- Bukowsical the Musical

New Line closed its 22nd season with the regional premiere of one of the most outrageous shows the company has ever produced, the wild, rude, and gleefully adult musical comedy BUKOWSICAL, exploring the intersection between sex, drugs, booze, and art.

With book and lyrics by Spencer Green and Gary Stockdale, and music by Stockdale, BUKOWSICAL is a wacky, high-energy -- and very adult -- musical comedy, an ironic and insightful 21st-century reboot of the classic American musical comedy. The show follows the hilariously dark life story of the great American poet and autobiographical novelist Charles Bukowski, who drank, drugged, and screwed himself through life -- and then made great art out of it.

Lois Spangler, of NYTheatre.com, wrote about the New York Fringe Festival production, "By adhering so closely to the tropes of the American musical, and treating its sordid subject with such earnest glee, BUKOWSICAL manages to be both a satire and a real musical. Pure mockery is just drivel; it sounds shrill and empty when dropped onstage. The folks who have worked so hard on BUKOWSICAL, however, have a real love for the musical art form, its charms and its foibles, and it shows in some of the truly outrageous -- and outrageously funny -- moments in the show."


The New Line cast included Zachary Allen Farmer as Charles Bukowski, with an ensemble of New Line All-Stars, Ryan Foizey, Joel Hackbarth, Nicholas Kelly, Kimi Short, Christopher Strawhun, Marcy Wiegert, and Chrissy Young. The show was directed by Scott Miller, with music direction by Justin Smolik, choreography by Robin Michelle Berger, scenic design by Scott L. Schoonover, costume design by Amy Kelly, and lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl.

BUKOWSICAL traces Bukowski's life from obscurity to international fame, starting with Buk's early torment by students, teachers and his Father in "Art Is Pain." He finds his muse on "The Derelict Trail," gets a writing lesson from William Faulkner, William S. Burroughs, Sylvia Plath and Tennessee Williams, and discovers his sexy, crab-infested One True Love in "Chaser of My Heart." After a soul-deadening job in at the "Post Office," Buk's work is discovered and he is soon hanging out with celebrities like Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn in "Through a Glass, Barfly." But will he stay true to his literary ideals or sell out? And will he be too drunk to notice?

The musical started life as a 50-minute one-act in Los Angeles, was revised and expanded, and then went on to the New York Fringe Festival, where it won the award for Outstanding Musical. New Line's pro0duction will be the first since then.

LA Weekly called it "riotously funny." The Los Angeles Times called it "an uproarious romp." Backstage said, "How rare the kept promise in this city of shattered hopes, but when the program to this little gem promises 'delusion, heartbreak, necrophilia, drunkenness, cirrhosis of the liver, and some catchy tunes,' it is as good as its word and then some. . . The production skims along, each number wrapping appalling bad taste in a perky, upbeat melody that makes dipsomania a lighthearted romp. . . It's terrific fun and so wrong in all the right ways."

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. His work focused on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, on the act of writing, on work, on alcohol, and on his terrible relationships with women. He wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife." Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, "the secret of Bukowski’s appeal is that he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero." The Los Angeles Times Book Review once said, "Wordsworth, Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and the Beats in their respective generations moved poetry toward a more natural language. Bukowski moved it a little further."

For production rights, contact the writers.

Want to explore more? We recommend:

The Bukowsical cast album

The original Bukowsical Blog and the Bukowsical Podcast featuring the show's writers

Artistic director Scott Miller's background and analysis essay about the show

The New Line Bukowsical blogs -- Scott Miller's Blog and Zak Farmer's Blog

A radio interview with Zak Farmer, who plays Charles Bukowski in New Line's production

The official Charles Bukowski website

All of Charles Bukowski's bookson Amazon.com

Bukowski's great autobiographical novels, Factotum, Ham on Rye, and Post Office, and his poetry collection Love is a Dog From Hell

A really great 1976 Rolling Stone article about Bukowski.

Bukowski's thinly veiled autobiographical film Barfly on Blu-Ray, and here's the entire film on YouTube, along with The Making of Barfly

The documentary film Poetry in Motion, featuring live performances by Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, John Cage, Ntozake Shange, Amiri Baraka, and others, all reading their poetry, with commentary by Bukowski.

The documentaries The Charles Bukowski Tapes and Bukowski - Born Into This