2018 Tribeca Film Festival
As a writer on Late Night with David Letterman, Steve Young’s duties included scouring through record bins in search of potential subjects for the show’s “Dave’s Record Collection” segments. Little did he know, his hunt for offbeat vinyl would thrust him into the world of Broadway-style “industrial musicals” put on by such companies as General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, and Xerox at their annual sales meetings in the ’50s through the ‘80s. These productions dazzled and motivated their only intended audience, each company’s salesforce, which was regaled with lavish productions such as Lipton on the Move, Lucite, You and ’72, and The Bathrooms Are Coming.
Dava Whisenant follows Young’s odyssey as he tracks down these shows’ souvenir albums, finds kindred fanatics, interviews the performers, songwriters and directors, and discovers rare performance footage of songs such as “My Bathroom” and “Everything’s Coming Up Citgo.” These shows helped pay the bills for then-emerging performers like Florence Henderson, Martin Short, and Chita Rivera, as well as songwriters Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. A fascinating and hilarious homage to Young’s unique obsession, Bathtubs Over Broadway opens up a seat alongside Young as he takes the audience into a previously unknown world of corporate song and dance.