The American Cannabis Report
(C) 2018 Eastman Smith Communications

Reefer Madness Will be the Most Patriotic Musical on Broadway

Had the great fortune to speak with Christian Campbell and Dan Studney, the Producer/Star and Writer/Composer, respectively, of "Reefer Madness, The Musical". We met at the CWCBE conference in New York City, along with Christian’s stunning wife, America Olivo Campbell, who is one of the show’s producers. I’ve done my best to capture the rapid-fire banter at a pace that only people who have spent hundreds of hours in a theater together can carry.

 

 

INTERVIEW

 

American Cannabis Report (ACR):  Hi guys, great of you to chat with me today. Tell me what you’re up to with “Reefer Madness – the Musical”.

 

Christian Campbell: OK, shall we start at the beginning?

 

Dan Studney:… seems like a decent thing to do…

 

Christian: …well then, in 1998 Dan and Kevin wrote the book for Reefer Madness, The Musical…

 

ACR: That’s Kevin Murphy, right?

 

Dan: … No, I’m Dan Studney, Kevin’s not here… 

 

Christian:  … and Dan also wrote the music…

 

ACR: So Dan, you’re like Charlie Chaplin?

 

Dan: Oh, no I’m much taller. And Christian was the lead… got that?

 

ACR: … trying to keep up…

 

Dan: … Christian, he’s not typing fast enough…

 

Christian: …in 1999, we debuted at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles, expecting a normal ten-week run…

 

Dan: …it kinda blew up… 

 

Christian: … ran more than a year…

 

Dan:… then some NY producers saw it…

 

Christian: … they wanted to move it to the Variety Arts Theater. 

 

ACR:  That’s bigger?

 

Christian and Dan: Much.

 

ACR: That’s an amazing start, right?

 

Christian and Dan:  Well… 

 

Christian: …No, we had the incredible bad luck to open right after 9/11…

 

Dan: …not great to open an anti-propaganda show that challenges questionable government policies while the whole country is rallying around the flag

 

Christian: …so we went back to LA, where Dan and Kevin started working the screenplay. In 2003 we held a reading at Coronet Theater…

 

Dan: Three nights of readings…

 

Christian: … and on the first night, Robert Greenblatt was in the audience…

 

ACR:  Greenblatt?

 

Dan:  … told you he’s not typing fast enough…

 

Christian:  …he’s now President of NBC, but at that time he was on his 2nd day at Showtime…

 

Dan: … he hadn’t even greenlit anything yet…

 

ACR: …so Reefer Madness was his first greenlit project?

 

Dan:  … Yes, and on the third day of the reading we were cutting a deal for the film.

 

ACR: That’s amazing!

 

Dan: Thanks!

 

ACR: Wait… Really?

 

Christian: … Cut to 2004: we shot the film… 

 

Dan: … it premiered at Sundance in 2005…

 

 

Christian: … it was a Premiere Selection…

 

Dan: …. And in April 2005, it premiered on Showtime.

 

Christian: … Dan and Kevin won an Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for “Maryjane/Marylane”

 

Dan: Was it “Maryjane/Marylane” or “Marylane/MaryJane”? [hums a few bars…] 

 

Christian: …it was Maryjane/Marylane…

 

Dan: …definitely…

 

Christian: Cut to: our first concert in 2008 to celebrate the CD release… 

 

Dan:  … Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Spanger, John Kassir, Robert Torti and Christian were all there, reprising their roles from the film… 

 

 Christian: Cut to: 2014 – we’d started doing charity concerts on 4/20…

 

Dan: … and they started to oversell big time…

 

Christian: … people were watching on closed circuit TV in the lobby…

 

Dan: …Eventually with the current state of marijuana laws and the rise of “fake news…”

 

Christian: …which is ultimately what the show is about…

 

Dan:  …we realized it was time to come to Broadway…

 

ACR:  And that’s why you’re here at a cannabis conference?

 

Christian: Reefer Madness is more relevant than ever…

 

Dan: You know it’s not ONLY about cannabis, right? As Christian said, it’s about fake news… It’s about questioning the hidden motives of the lead character called “The Lecturer.” He is a snake-oil salesman who pushes his agenda, wrapping himself up “patriotically” in the flag, using religion and racism as weapons, warning a panicked public that their children are in trouble and only he has the answers.

 

Christian: … Sound familiar?

 
Dan: … Not to mention that the real history of cannabis prohibition is just awful…

 

ACR:  Utterly corrupt...

 

Dan: … Did you know Harry Anslinger toured the country with graphic photos, saying they were caused by marijuana to scare the American people?

 

Christian: …so Reefer Madness is not ONLY about cannabis…

 

Dan:  … it’s about questioning what you’re being given as “The Truth”…,

 

Christian: … …which will make Reefer Madness the most patriotic musical on Broadway!

 

Dan: … red white blue and green…

 

ACR:  So why are you here at a cannabis conference?

 

Christian:  To tell people what better way to advertise your business than by financing the musical version Reefer Madness?

 

Dan: … it’s totally creative and outside the box …

 

Christian:  … are you in?

 

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