It’s Sketch Comedy of the Classics! A musical comedy written by Ann Arbor’s Tom Petiet, Chapter and Worse debuted in 1986, performing in Ann Arbor and on tour, and was quickly recognized as an exceptionally clever musical parody, recalling shows like Beyond the Fringe, and names like Peter Schickele, Tom Lehrer, Monty Python and Mel Brooks. Showcasing the comic talents of its cast, Chapter and Worse consists of seven scenes in wildly different settings, from Shakespeare to prehistoric Africa. The music is by 17 well-known collaborators such as Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Verdi, as well as Comic Opera Guild favorites Offenbach and Sullivan. People may recognize many of the melodies, but the lyrics have been altered to fit the story line. Each audience member will undoubtedly be able to single out one scene as their favorite. A good-natured spoof of music and literature, Chapter and Worse is unique in combining the top-flight vocalism of eight talented singers with the insightful humor of sketch comedy. The opening scene in a boarding house sets up the hopeless yearning of the feckless Fenster Blande for the delectable bank teller, Chava Niceday, leading to tortured dreams. The first dream is of Shakespearean England, and will tickle people who do the annual Stratford Festival pilgrimage. A good deal of fun is had with the flowery language “spoken primarily by the rich, because they knew more words.” Next, the world of Italian Grand Opera is explored, without the poor hero ever knowing what is going on. Fenster is forced to speak in recitative in order to be understood by the other characters. His befuddlement throughout the show is the glue which holds everything hilariously together. In the second act, Fenster must go through dreams of 1930s gangster movies and a National Geographic-like story on Early Man to get to the denouement in the dance, a parody of Swan Lake. It is merciful that this scene comes near the end of the show, for, like the Ballet of the Hippos in Disney’s Fantasia, it expends the audience’s remaining store of laughter without relief. Coming to television This season, the show is being produced especially for television. During the run, the cameras will be rolling, and the audience will be a part of the final product. The show will be marketed to cable television networks and public broadcasting.