A casting disputekensapoppin_paths.jpg

Kensapoppin’!, as the world will recall, was the briefly-produced big budget “one-man” show featuring noted blogger and Skee-Ball historian Ken Goldstein. The show was never reviewed and first-hand accounts of the three full-scale performances that were mounted after weeks of full-cast practice and countless rewrites are rare.

We are fortunate to be able to offer a reproduction of a one-sheet produced in support of the show. The image seen here is linked to a larger-scale graphic, and we also have a pdf available. The Kensapoppin’ Emporium is pleased to offer the design on a variety of undergarments, as well. Feel free to browse the Ken Goldstein Project store too!

The production was doomed by a mid-course casting change mandated by the show’s producers over the protests of Goldstein, who was disappointed after several weeks of practice to find himself replaced – in the role of himself – by showbiz veteran Rosie O’Donnell. Goldstein, while initially claiming to have been a reluctant participant in the stage show, fought like a tiger to win back the role from the considerably more experienced O’Donnell. (Goldstein’s prior experience was restricted to a single unpaid appearance in a Seattle production of Bill Irwin’s Fool Moon.) He directed a no-holds-barred campaign via cell phone while engaged in a massive whiskey-and-bingo binge in Atlantic City.

His tactics included hiring Jersey City goons to intimidate the former talk show host, filing lawsuits in both New York and New Jersey, and attempting to spread rumors via the tabloids concerning O’Donnell’s sexuality, apparently ignorant that she had come out prior to her engagement in the show. This backfired, earning him the enmity of the tabs and his own brigade of paparazzi.

O’Donnell, displaying her signature gracefulness, voluntarily stepped aside, appearing at a joint press conference with Goldstein. Unfortunately for Mr. Goldstein, the combination of the tabloid press’s desire to “nail” him and the effects of his binge left him disoriented and disheveled. Pale and perspiring, the nervous energy of the triumph combined with his massive hangover to tragic effect. The press conference came to an end with an unfortunate bout of projectile vomiting, greedily splashed across the front pages of the tabs the next morning. “KG IN VOMIT SHOCKER,” “THE PRINCESS AND THE PUKE,” and, memorably, “SKEE HURLER HURLS,” screamed the headlines.

Gamely, the production opened seven days later, but the damage was done. Kensapoppin’! closed after only three performances.

(At press time, an apparently inebriated Goldstein has given an email interview to one of our ace reporters, with shocking new revelations… there may be a special extended edition Ken Goldstein Of The Week Week entry!)

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