Help me recall a play/musical about a crazed gunman and media sensation?

Post date: 2020-08-03 17:38:50
Views: 11
CW: Question below the fold discusses guns, shooting, killing, media sensationalizing and capital punishment

In my high school years (that's the mid-1990s) I discovered that my local library had lots and lots of those small Samuel French books that were the scripts for plays. Since I'm a fast reader, I found that whenever I needed to kill some time in the library waiting for someone, I could pull one of those off the shelf, start it in one sitting and likely finish it by the second sitting.

Some of these I remember reading in great detail -- Crimes of the Heart, You Can't Take It With You, True West -- and others I don't remember at all. But one has always half-stuck in my head for being weird, and I can only remember a few details:

It was a play/musical where the main character was an emotionally disturbed man who succeeds in gunning down a woman (girlfriend? stalking victim?) In the course of standing trial, he is manipulated by his lawyer and the prosecutor to make his crime sound as lurid as possible so that both lawyers get famous from the case.

Besides that, when the news stations get wind of him they compete with each other to get a televised interview with him. (I think they even sent a pretty young woman to interview him because of how much she resembled his victim.) The killer is overwhelmed by all the media attention, it inflates his ego and makes him think that the fame he's earned somehow justifies his crime. There are songs.

In the end, the killer is convicted and sent to the electric chair. The finale is a big musical number where, in the killer's mind, everyone he's met along the way (his family, his victim, the lawyers, an adoring public) sing him off to the chair in a big, old-fashioned showstopper song that culminates in the chair's switch being thrown.

1) IT ISN'T SONDHEIM'S "ASSASSINS". Sorry if I sound peeved, but that's everyone's first guess.

2) I think the name of the play was "Coming Attractions" or "Latest Attractions" or something like that, but those are terrible terms to put into Google search -- I've tried and gotten no good results.

3) Even if that wasn't the title, I'm pretty sure the phrase "Coming Attractions" appears multiple times in the big showstopper at the end, the lyric was something like "Get yourself a coming attraction / Make yourself the latest craze!"

4) Even teenage Me realized this is pretty heavy-handed satire. The target of the play was media sensationalizing of crime, however all the media depicted are print journalism or television -- this play predates what we would now call "reality television" or "social media".

After reading that script, I never encountered the play again and have no idea if it ever made it to Broadway, or how it was received when it did (though I'm guessing "not well"). Can anyone fill in some details?
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