THUGS, THE MUSICAL is a mockumentary short film about a struggling, delusional and very ‘non-urban’ black actor, Michael Gardner, his doomed musical production, and the misfit group of actors he’s assembled as his cast.
After years of auditioning, but not being considered ‘black enough’ to be cast in any of the stereotypical roles that his fellow black actors have been getting (the Gangsta, the fast-talking Sidekick, the doomed Black Guy at the party in the horror movie), Michael decides to start his own theater production called THUGS, THE MUSICAL! and hires a cast and production group as hapless as he. His mission: to give a gritty, authentic depiction of life in the ghetto through musical theater, and to show Hollywood and the world that he and his fellow Blacktors can ‘act black.’
The film, shot as a faux documentary, chronicles the making of the play, from rehearsals through its disastrous opening weekend, and spotlights a well meaning but horribly inept cast performing musical numbers like “Who’s That Keepin’ It Real?’,” “Drive-By” and “Oh No She Di-in’t,” in what may possibly be the worst musical ever conceived. Determined to succeed, Michael’s mantra for himself, the show, and his cast is “Don’t keep it real…Keep it realistic.”
THUGS, THE MUSICAL is written by and stars comedian Kevin Avery (‘Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,’ ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’) and is directed by Liam Sullivan, the director of the very funny and wildly popular ‘Shoes’ and ‘Let Me Borrow That Top’ music videos. The cast features David Alan Grier (‘Chocolate News,’ ‘In Living Color’), Margaret Cho (‘Drop Dead Diva’), Rachel True (‘Half & Half,’ ‘The Craft’), Baron Vaughn (‘Fairly Legal’) and Prodigal Sunn from the Wu Tang Clan. In addition to penning the script, Kevin Avery also wrote all of the original music for the film, with composer Alex Burke.
The Dallas Weekly calls THUGS an “uproariously funny mockumentary,” and the Texas Black Film Festival director declares it as, “hands down, THE funniest and wittiest film at the TBFF 2012 Fest! Welcome to a new generation of black social parody.” Thugs, The Musical is the winner of the Audience Award for Best Film at 2012 LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival and the 2012 MIX International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the 2012 Montgomery Film Festival, Best Comedy Film at the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival, and the winner of both Best Short and Best in Show at the 2012 Tupelo Film Festival.