The Downstage Performance Society in Calgary is continuing its Fieldwork program by performing three nights of a work in progress musical called Crime Does Not Pay. The play is based off of the comic series that ran from 1942 to 1955 and published by Lev Gleason Publications. The series, created by Charles Biro and Bob Wood and featured art by Biro and George Tuska, is considered the start of the crime comic genre and was the first true-crime comic. At its best the book sold over 6 million copies per issue.
The musical, created by award-winning Calgary composer David Rhymer and musician and Calgary Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor is an exploration of the glorification of crime and violence in the media, censorship and the responsibility of artistic creation. Its a look at the era of comics that cause the Wertham Trials and the birth of the Comic Code Authority by focusing on a comic series that displayed horrendous crimes in great detail under the auspice of being a morality tale. The fact that Wood went to jail for killing a woman adds to the mystique of the series and the musical.
The musical is a work-in-development, allowing the audience to see where the project is, ask questions of the artists and see some of the songs, stories and design ideas currently being developed. It runs for just three nights Sept 11th – 13th with an eye on premiering in the 2014-2015 season.
For more information about Crime Does Not Pay.