FOOL FOR LOVE
Why is she still with him? Don’t tell me you’ve never asked yourself that question. Whitney and Bobby? Hillary and Bill? Cleopatra and Mark Antony? Do I really need to go on?
As a writer I have the joy and the challenge of asking and trying to answer questions we all ask ourselves—and in On Top Of The World, you will have a hilarious time asking ‘why is this amazing woman standing by that jerk’.
Now before you judge our heroine, I ask you to ask yourself, what would you do if you’d helped turn the sweet nerd you fell for in college into music’s biggest superstar, only to realize too late that you’d helped to create a monster? What if despite coming off like an egomaniac, he was still one of the kindest souls you ever met?
As a little boy growing up I spent hours wondering how classic stories would play out if they were re-imagined in a modern context with a twist. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Right now the hottest show on Broadway, Wicked, re-imagines the world of Oz. Wicked Rules BroadwayAnd the most popular show on television, Empire, re-interprets Shakespeare’s King Lear. King Lear meets Hip Hop: Empire
Back then and still today, it’s Dickens who pushes my buttons. And my favorite character to love/hate was Ebenezer Scrooge. That elderly, miserly, loveless money-lender, wrecking lives in Victorian London. But was he all and only those things? As a man and as an artist I realized that that miserable 19th Century curmudgeonly Scrooge was begging to be re-imagined for today’s world as a hyper-talented, egotistical, ostentatious, young, Black, superstar with musical genius coming out the wazoo.
Enter Scrooʝe Ebonyzer Toussaint, music’s biggest superstar. And the power behind the voice, the love of his life is Belle. No Victorian Lady-in-Waiting is she, but a beautiful, highly intelligent, successful lawyer.
Through their story we get to explore, as Belle says, ‘how a woman ‘so smart’ could hang in with someone so long after he’d gone so far off the deep end’. In On Top Of The World Belle and Scrooʝe first meet in college and he’s a million miles closer to being Steve Erkel than musical royalty. Awkwardly walking around campus, desperately in need of a haircut and wearing glasses so big he looks like an owl hunting for prey. Yet from the moment they meet the attraction’s magnetic. Seeing beneath the scars of having lost his whole family and growing up in group homes, Belle knows that this young man is full of greatness and in need of true love. It’s through her love that he gains the courage to let his light shine until at last he becomes music’s biggest superstar, and together they become music’s power couple.
And then it happens. His ego explodes to the size of Texas, and he starts acting a fool: sleeping on a mattress stuffed with $100 bills; making records about flushing $50s down the toilet because they’re taking up to much room in his wallet, robbing his artists blind, selling scandalous images of women and in the end betraying Belle’s trust and losing her forever. Until he’s given one last chance to take the journey of a lifetime to win her back by becoming the man she fell in love with: a kind-hearted boy with big dreams, who just happens to be blessed with musical genius, romantic grace and the kind of deep-set eyes and handsome face that renders him virtually irresistible.
If you were her, what would you do?