Wal-Mart, The Musical

Thanks to peopleofwalmart.com for this cast member photo.

Most Americans have been to Wal-Mart.  But you haven’t truly experienced it until you see Wal-Mart, The Musical.   I attended a performance just a few days ago. 

The entire play takes place in a Super Wal-Mart.  It is Sunday afternoon during the busy, holiday shopping season.  

Here’s the story in a nutshell.  Our heroine, a young ingénue who looked almost exactly like me, visits the Land of Wal-Mart.  She has been sprinkled with holiday cheer fairy dust and sent on a quest.  She must find a magic wand that will reanimate the Christmas tree lights when half of each strand has gone out (kind of like a Christmas light defibrillator).  Then she must get checked out and back to her car before the dust wears off and she turns into a mean, bitchy old crone.

During the prelude we were treated to Mariah Carey’s spiritual take on “Santa’s Got A Booty Call (So You Better Be Naughty!)”.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when one of the female leads, imaginatively costumed in black stretch pants and a shirt cut low enough to reveal a pair of angels tattooed on the upper slopes of her…charms, softly crooned a simple ballad to the children gathered around her cart: “I TOLD You 20 Times”.

“I TOLD you 20 times you gotta be 8 years old before Santa will bring you Grand Theft Auto.  I’m going to have your daddy (Rodney, that guy whose staying with us and kinda like your daddy) WHUP YOUR A** if you ask me ONE more time!” 

I wasn’t the only one who left the show singing THAT moving tune.

The children’s choir almost stole the show with their rousing hit, “I Want THAT!”   The lyric was not complicated – only “I Want THAT”, over and over – but the performance elevated the words to art.  The volume of their childish cries built and built to a mighty crescendo.  The number ended with the whole choir falling to the floor and kicking its collective heels.  Unforgettable.

The Greeter’s Gospel Choir’s a cappella rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain (The Holidays Are Here)” had everyone clapping along.   The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way why saying Merry Christmas at the door would be the same as forcing shoppers to submit to full-immersion baptism in order to get in the store.  Entertaining and really thought provoking. 

But the showstopper was the big production number finale.

I took a couple of dance classes as a kid, so I’m familiar with steps like the flap-ball-change.  But I’ve never seen the moves the Wal-Mart Shoppers Dance Troupe perfected for this extravaganza, a routine they call the Oblivious Shuffle. 

Each shopper/dancer leaned on his or her cart and pushed it slowly, oh so slowly, back and forth across the stage.  Their shuffling gate kept one shoe (or house slipper, as the case may be) on the floor at all times.  The shuffling feet made a “shush, shush” sound that underscored the “squeak, squeak” of their unoiled cart wheels.  The occasional crash of colliding carts played like cymbals in the composition.

About half of the dancers had cell phones pressed to their ears.  One at a time, each would burst into song with lyrics like “…so that witch he married said they couldn’t take the kids Christmas Eve and I told her if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell their dad…” Their solos were incomprehensible, one-sided conversations when taken by themselves.  Together, they wove a timeless Christmas story.

The dancers went through their movements with vacant, glassy stares that gave the illusion that they were totally unaware of everyone else around them. 

Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet.

Meanwhile, the young ingénue wove her cart skillfully in and out of the shuffling throng, trying to get to the registers which kept receding out of her reach.  The checkers cried “price check on 10, change needed on 5, register frozen on 8“ in a surprisingly harmonious medley.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you decide to see it.  Suffice it to say our heroine bore a marked resemblance to the apple-wielding hag in Snow White as she hobbled to her SUV when the curtain fell.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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43 Responses to Wal-Mart, The Musical

  1. auntbethany says:

    This was an awesome post! Very funny, creative, and original, all at the same time! If I had a vote for Freshly Pressed, you would get it, my friend! I went through the “Wal-Mart Shuffle” myself a few weeks ago…actually posted about it, too, complete with pictures. I love how they place every Christmas knick knack and candy item under $5 RIGHT at the front entrance of the store. I couldn’t go 10 feet without spending $15. Sheesh.

    Like

  2. Oh my, didnt know a musical like this existed! I think I would have to see this one. It’s one of those places I hate to go to!

    Like

  3. Aligaeta says:

    It sounds like a riot. What a great post. All I could think throughout was “Did this blogger make this all up?”

    Like

  4. pegoleg says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I did make it up, but I have to thank the shoppers at Wal-Mart for all their great inspiration!

    Like

  5. John Hunsinger says:

    Great job Peg!!! I loved it. You got the Wal-martness just right.

    Like

  6. Libertarian says:

    I think the same slipper-shuffling shopper was at Big Lots tonight going past me in the toy aisle (NOT kidding!!!).

    Speaking of Big Lots, if you think this blog entry was funny, check out Peg’s Oct. 20th entry with the same name.

    Like

  7. pegoleg says:

    Maybe we should start shopping at classier stores, Lib.

    Like

  8. fnkybee says:

    That is the BEST walmart story/musical/post I have had the pleasure to read. Great. Unfortunately I have seen this musical one to many times and I am trying my best to not see and encore until after the holidays. Of course I am kidding myself because I know I will see it at least one more time…tomorrow.

    Like

  9. Molly says:

    All right now… don’t start jammin’ on my Big Lots. That’s sacred territory, dude!

    Like

  10. TheBlueMorpho says:

    Haha! Wow, this is exactly how Wal-mart is. I love how they say that every register will be open during the holiday season and yet only about 3 are open with lines of people out the door. And then you have the ones working the registers that go so slow, or cant figure out a price, or the ones who cant figure out how to swipe a card or write a check, and hold the line up! Its ridiculous. But I love Wal-Mart. In fact, its like the Mega Mart for Hillbillies. And everything is cheap! I swear, sometimes I think I was born in one.
    Great post!

    http://www.lifeslittletreasures.wordpress.com/

    Like

  11. mohsen says:

    I got an interesting blog you write more

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  12. huffygirl says:

    This is oh so funny! Oh wait, you weren’t being serious were you…?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Well, yes and no. I made up the play (which, by the way, I think would make a pretty funny musical for real), but those were all actual characters encountered at Wal-Mart last Sunday, while I was trying to find one of those Christmas tree light re-lighter gizmos. Lots of interesting people there.

      Like

  13. Az. SBSM says:

    This post is Priceless, and oh so true, I loved it.

    Leila

    http://azsbsm.wordpress.com/

    Like

  14. I am off to WM and no not to shop, but to see the musical!!!

    Like

  15. Kel says:

    Excellent!!!! Had to visit the 7th ring of hell … I mean Wal-Mart … the other day. Ours is brand new and my son exclaimed to no one in particular how there were no weird people at this one yet, thus making him (notice I did not say “us”) the weird one.

    Like

  16. tanner24 says:

    This review was fabulous and so timely as I’m planning to see the musical today! Thanks so much for not giving away the ending. I can’t wait to see the Oblivious Shuffle.

    Like

  17. tskaz says:

    OMG that is so funny, yet so true! But you did forget to mention that for some of us fortunate souls, the theatrical version is nine hours long each day! Awesome post

    Like

  18. Sandy says:

    Although we have yet to experience the pleasures (???) of Walmart shopping in Australia your blog traslates so well……we’ve all heard that child chorus long & loud “I want THAT!” …often accompanied by some banshee wailing!! Very funny and evocative – I’ve definitely seen the Aussie production of Walmart the musical!!!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      We all hear that chorus wherever we go, but it seems to echo more loudly this season when there’s so much around to tempt the little ones. Sensory overload. (thanks for the compliment!)

      Like

  19. sparrow1969 says:

    LOL!

    As a part-time Walmart employee (toy department…what a mess this time of year!), I recognized all of those characters, and boy have I got stories that would curl your hair.
    In fact, I’m just getting ready to brave the cold and join the madness this morning.

    Great post!

    Like

  20. So very funny, my colleagues at work loving passing around the peopleofwalmart.com photos and having a good laugh. Your take on the ‘performances’ was wonderful, we don’t have Walmart in Australia (yet) however there are certain shopping centres (malls?) that one can visit and see a similar performance.

    Like

  21. Pingback: I’ve Been Pegged | The Big Sheep Blog

  22. Love this post. I’ve learned not to make eye contact with anyone at Walmart! LOVE listening in on conversations too! One sided or otherwise! Once, in the parking lot, I pulled in next to a woman. It was summer, we both had our windows down. She says, to someone in her car “There’s 2 cops over there, stay down!” I wanted to go tell the cops but I didn’t…

    Like

  23. Charity says:

    Aw! The play forgot about the duet of babies, you know the one where they all go “Waaaaa!! Sniff, Snifff, Waaaaa!!” :)
    Anyway I enjoyed reading this and it was very funny!

    Like

  24. gingerootable says:

    Peg, you are my hero! lol…

    Like

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