When Ellen Stewart learned of the family’s garage theater in Florida, she inaugurated a “Young Playwrights Series” at La MaMa. George Harris III and the rest of the kids mounted Ann Harris’s Bluebeard and The Sheep and the Cheapskate, which they revived at La MaMa. “And there we were,” said Walter Michael Harris, “not only doing the ones we did in Florida, which were two that Mom wrote in college, but Mom was also inspired to create some more shows—working with my brother George and me on the book and the music.” This started a family tradition of writing about whatever was going on in their lives. “Our Macbeth parody, titled MacBee, spoofed the Mad Men era of advertising,” Walter said. “We all had some experience with this world, as we were constantly auditioning for TV commercials. We kids were all traipsing up and down Madison Avenue with our headshots and our portfolios, looking to find TV or commercial work, and so our show MacBee was about that.” They enrolled in acting classes—learning Method acting and discovering how serious and ridiculous it could be—which inspired their satirical musical, There Is Method in Their Madness. It received a positive review from Village Voice theater critic Michael Smith, and the El Dorado Players continued to thrive on the La MaMa stage.
From Chapter 7 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore