You won’t see THIS song on Broadway! The cast of Roundabout Theatre Company’s “The Mystery Of Ediwn Drood” has a YouTube video called “Bustle Fluffah.” It’s sort of a Dickensian answer to “Baby Got Back” – a rap interpretion of those frames on Victorian dresses that made women’s backsides look enormous. If the Victorian Era had an equivalent of “My Humps,” this would be it. But if you think that victorian hoop skirts are stuffy – then think again – because this song turns the look on its ear!
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is currently playing on Broadway, and it’s worth noting that it is not at all like this song in tone – which makes this such a fun and eyebrow raising performance. Drood is a murder mystery musical based on Charles Dickens’ last novel, and it’s an incredibly fun show.
But back to “Bustle Fluffah!” Check out the video below! (Including a few appearances by Chita Rivera!!) Then scroll down to hear from cast member Andrew Karl, who not only plays “Neville Landless” but is also the delightfully twisted man behind the tune.
An interview with musician and performer Andrew Karl:
POP: Okay, the obvious first question is – how in the world did you go from the Dickensian style of “The Mystery Of Edwin Drood” to this? What was the seed of this idea?Andrew Karl: We were in rehearsals for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and the girls had to wear rehearsal bustles – these velcro straps that went around their waists and had these big bustles in the back.(Castmates) Jesse Mueller and Betsy Wolfe and myself were joking around – about “I wanna fluff that bustle” … sort of an innuendo kind of thing – and the more we did it the more we laughed, and thought ‘wouldn’t this be a great rap?’ And it sort of sprouted from that.
I think one of the best parts is that this song and this genre couldn’t be more different than the period depicted in ‘Drood.”That’s what’s so great! It’s extremely different from the show. We were saying ‘we wanna ba a gangsta rap, but Victorian style – blending those two worlds together.’ I have never seen that done before. So we blended those two worlds. But what DOES happen to be the same are these great actors who are just camping it up and having a really good time. If you watch the video, you get a sense of our personalities onstage. No, we don’t do rock and hip hop, but there’s this sort of free spirited good time we’re having together and the show really mirrors that as well. I think that’s why everyone was on board from the producers to the press reps for the show.Lots of people make viral videos, but few have access to all the talent and creativity that the people behind a broadway show do…did that make this easier – or at least faster?Yes! I think I created something that everyone really liked and wanted to have fun with – it was very easy to do – we shot it very quickly and we all just had a great time. We got this thing shot in four hours. It was something we all got on board with… we’ve got the same attitude about getting things done together onstage… Right when it started, I knew I had access to all these outstanding entertainers. There’s just so many triple threats I’m working with – I asked one girl to choreograph something and she did it just like that! And I asked another guy if he could do a costume of Scrooge an Bob Cratchit, and he just did it – it was hilarious! I knew I could depend on these people because A) I work with them and B) we all have that Broadway mentality of having to put a show on with creative minds and no budget – that’s part of who what we do. We’ve all been there.
I’m a music writer – I did it all… I have a lot of music in my soul and I do a lot of musical theater. But really, it sort of wrote itself. I wrote the lyrics in like a week and just took a while to get it on film.(LEFT: Andrew Karl is full ‘Bustle Fluffah’ mode.)I knew exactly the style I wanted… I knew what I wanted it to be. The ‘bustle fluffer’ has to be that sort of low down rap with a sort of swagger to it. It fulfilled its needs! I’m very proud of it.I think I sort of always think – if I don’t really scare myself a little bit then I;m not doing a good job. Because I feel like I want to have people at least interested. Yes, there may be a few people not getting it, but I chalk it up to people not having a sense of humor. I watch all the Andy Samberg videos on SNL, and he does a great job and I think we have a similar way of looking at things.I haven’t heard from the President yet but I am waiting for his call. (he laughs.)I showed it to a lot of people I’ve worked with, like Joe Mantello – he just loves it. The people I work with, they all have a sense of humor. Everyone needs to laugh and I think that’s what I’m put on this earth to do. I have a great time putting these things together.Recently ‘Anything Goes’ had success when they launched their viral video. Is the tone of Broadway changing – are the rules evolving in how you promote a show? Is Broadway using a more modern approach?I think so – I think it’s in part the actors who have grown up and been online too. I think I was there when the first Broadway chat room came up on my laptop! I don’t even remember what kind of laptop I had.Broadway is a passion and a dedication and people spend a lot of time trying to get things up and going but we also have to understand that the internet is a tool to make that happen. I don’t think the internet ever hurts or helps a show. I thinks it’s just the same as people calling a friend or writing a review. I think it s great tool of communication and that’s how I choose to think about it.
For me, it exposes my sense of humor and my music to an audience that may have never seen it. The performers get to show their sense of humor and talent. These are really talented people who can do other things than walk on stage and say a line and walk offstage. We all have a great sense of camaraderie and humor and that’s part of our how our show works.For more entertainment news follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter!