Amusing.  -GFS

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Boeing on Broadway? No, “Boeing Boeing”

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LONGACRE THEATER

A promotional poster for the current Broadway production of the 1960s bedroom comedy “Boeing Boeing.”

A wacky bedroom farce that opened last Sunday on Broadway puts the name of Puget Sound’s largest employer up in lights — twice over.

“Boeing Boeing” is no product-placement gimmick, though. It’s the hit revival of a 1960s French play whose improbable plot takes off when airlines shift to a new generation of faster planes.

The original show enjoyed huge success in Europe, but flopped in the U.S. after just 23 performances. A forgettable movie version with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis was advertised as “the big comedy of nineteen-sexty-sex.”

The last time a company name got such prominent billing on stage or screen was probably the stoner comedy flick “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.” And the last time the words “Boeing” and “sex” shared headlines, a CEO lost his job. But never mind that.

Some trademark watchdogs would take umbrage, or legal action, if the corporate name were hijacked by Broadway. Imagine the lawyers circling a production called “Starbucks Starbucks.”

But Boeing’s vice president of brand and market positioning, Rob Pollack, sees no downside.

“It’s kind of fun; it doesn’t talk about airplanes very much,” he says. “From a branding standpoint I don’t have any problem with it. It’s a lot better than ‘Airbus Airbus.’ “

Not that Airbus was around when Marc Camoletti concocted the premise of the piece: An American in Paris who is carefully juggling simultaneous engagements to three stewardesses.

All is well so long as each of them travels for days at a time, working on the slow-flying 707. But the playboy’s arrangements start to unravel with the debut of speedier jets from Boeing and others.

Judging by the buzz for the current production, it could be headed for a Tony nomination next week. That would help keep “Boeing Boeing” aloft a lot longer this time around.

 

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