Prologue from our Dramaturge:
Nothing questionable about it. It's downright rotten taste.
And if you can't have fun with the Binion trial—the retrial commences October 11, after the original guilty verdicts in 2000 against Sandra Murphy and Rick Tabish for burglary, robbery and the 1998 murder of casino mogul Ted Binion were voided last year by the Nevada Supreme Court over procedural errors—well, your sense of absurdist theater needs a nudge.
Transforming tragedy into musicals has a distinguished history. Presidential killers (Assassins) and the Donner Party (Forlorn Hope) have been set to some catchy finger-snappers. And if 1,200 people disappearing into the dark, icy North Atlantic after a luxury liner loses a spat with an iceberg is fodder for a few engaging ditties on Broadway (yup, Titanic), well, the bizarro Binion tale is good for a few toe-tappers, too.
(Though, for what it's worth, our apologies go out to the principals before we even sing a note.)
We've set this melodic recap of L'Affair Binion to a host of (we hope) recognizable pop standards, lyrics mostly tailored to our tale, a couple serving our narrative just fine as is. Our tuneful guides are the friendly competitors of the local press corp.
And in the spirit of artistic license, we've kept what we'll call a loose grip on the details and chronology of the case, eschewing factual minutiae for the necessities of entertainment. Dialogue has been approximated, and, uh, embellished, and, well, made up.
It's showbiz, after all.
Maestro, if you will ...
At Cheetah's, we meet our narrators: Jeff German, John L. Smith, Cathy Scott and George Knapp. They are dressed as Jubilee! showgirls, with feathered headdresses and rhinestone costumes. Pens are poised over notepads. Sandy Murphy, in shadow, bumps and grinds in the background.
"It's Ted Binion" opening version (Sung by the narrators to the melody of "At the Copa" by Barry Manilow)
"Her name was Sandy / She took her clothes off / Down at the famous Cheetah's club / Hey, get yer paws off of her, Bub! / She'd do her pole-dance / And flash her knockers / Although she'd been a beauty queen / She was in this seedy scene / Her beau had dumped her, too / She didn't know what to do / But she was young with a red-hot body / Then he saw her, too.
"It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binion / The drug-addled son of Ben Binion / It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binnnnnnioooooon / Mobsters and money made Teddy a honey with the strippers / He fell in lust ..."
Instrumental bridge. Please hum among yourselves ... )
"His name was Tabish / He's from Montana / He had a wife and children there / But he didn't seem to care / He needed moolah / To run a sand pit / And when he ducked into the loo / He unzipped right next to ... who? / Why, it was Teddy B. / He also had to pee / From then on, it's a tale of death and greed in Sin City ...
"It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binion / The drug-addled son of Ben Binion / It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binnnnnioooon / Ted had to have her / Now he's a cadaver at his mansiooooon / Don't fall in lust ... / Don't fall in lust ... / Don't fall in lust ..."
John L. Smith: Our story, as reported exceptionally well in my award-winning column, begins with the nubile Sandra Murphy, a former California beauty queen, arriving in Las Vegas ...
Cathy Scott: Where, as detailed in my quickie tell-all book, the woman nicknamed the "Irish Venus," looking to pocket some fast cash ...
Jeff German: Decides that her sex appeal, as outlined in my column AND my quickie tell-all book, is enough to land her a job at ...
George Knapp: Cheetah's, where, as explained in my incredibly popular TV reports—since no one reads most of the local crap printed around here—she takes a job as a stripper. She claims she only sold costumes there, but ...
JLS: The bimbo's got zippo credibility, and besides, the stripper angle's the better story, right group?
CS, JG & GK: Damn straight! Take it off, Sandy! Got a 10-spot lookin' for a G-spot, baby!
"Double D's" (Sung by Sandy, to the melody of "Sixteen Tons," by Tennessee Ernie Ford)
Morose instrumental intro)
"You flash Double-D's / And whaddaya get? / Another day older / And my back is a wreck / Hey Peter, put your peter back in your pants / 'Cause all you get is a hot little dance /
"If you see me struttin' / Better step aside / A lotta men holler / A lot of 'em high / One breast of iron / The other of steel / If the right one don't get ya / Then the left one will /
"You flash Double-D's / And whaddaya get? / Another day older / And my back is a wreck / Hey Peter, put your peter back in your pants / 'Cause all you get is a hot little dance ..."
JG: Now, Ted Binion caught Sandy's act one night and was immediately smitten. Ted, you see, was a notorious millionaire druggie who kept company with some dangerous dudes. Not quite your upstanding suit-and-tie guy, as I explained to that CNN hottie Paula Zahn, who, by the way, made a pass at me during a commercial break for Depends Adult Diapers.
CS: Oh, blow it out your ass, you bug-eyed, frizz-faced publicity whore.
JG: Yo mama, bitch.
"Crazy Ted" (Sung by Ted Binion and Drunken Company, to "Charlie Brown" by the Coasters)
"Fee-fee fi-fi fo-fo fum / There he goes, smokin' dope that filthy bum / Crazy Ted, Crazy Ted / He's made his bed, that Crazy Ted / He's gonna get caught / Just you wait and see / 'Why's the Gaming Commission always pickin' on me?'
"Who's always hangin' with the mob? / Who's always sleepin' on the job? / Who always parties like a slob? / Guess who? / 'Who, me?' / YEAH, YOU!
"Who walks in the Horseshoe, cool and slow / So stoned he don't know his asshole from his nose / Crazy Ted, Crazy Ted / He's made his bed, that Crazy Ted / He's gonna get caught / Just you wait and see / 'Why's the Gaming Commission always pickin' on me?'"
GK: So they became a high-livin', hard-lovin' couple—the two of them doing the hootchie-mama mambo, salacious little details that spiced up my justifiably high-rated Channel 8 reports.
JLS: Which could never even hint at the depth and perspective of my legendary columns.
GK: Which lack my rugged, made-for-TV beefcake beauty, since you have a face made for radio.
"Gold Digger" (Sung by narrators, to "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey)
(Instrumental lead-in—full orchestra, including waaa-waaa trumpets)
"Gold-DIGGER / She's the tart / The tart with the golden tits / A demon's tits / Such a breast-jiggler / Beckons you to buy her a Bombay gin / She's built for sin
"Silver coins she will steal from your stash / And you'd better hold onto your cash / For a golden boy knows when she's kissed him / It's the kiss of death / From Madame Gold-Digger ..."
A pair of rest room urinals.
JG: At this point in our story, Rick Tabish, a married Montana contractor, opportunist and thug, enters the picture. Or more precisely, a restaurant men's room, where he cozies up to Ted Binion at a urinal, as I so cleverly point out in my column.
JLS: Which doesn't matter, because you've got about 11 readers. At least people actually read my column.
JG: Which they can't understand because you can't even spell the alphabet.
"I Saw Ted Peeing There" (Sung by Rick Tabish, to "I Saw Her Standing There," by The Beatles)
"Well, he was just there to pee / You know what I mean / And the way he peed / Was way behind compare / So how could I pee with another (whooooh!) / And I saw Ted peeing there /
"Well, he looked at me / As I watched him pee / And before too long / We'd both zipped up our pants / I wouldn't pee with another (whooooh!) / And I saw Ted peeing there /
"Well I start to think / As we hit the sink / And his soapy hand shook mii-iiiiine
"Oh, we talked through the night / And we drank and got real tight / And before too long / I struck a deal with Ted / Now I'll never pee with another (whoooooh!) / When I saw Ted peeing there ..."
The lovers' nest of Sandy and Rick
CS: The calculating Mr. Tabish, hanging out on the fringes of Ted Binion's professional and personal circles, catches the eye of the ever-horny Sandy, heard to complain that drugs have diminished Teddy's capacity to command his toy soldier to salute, as exceptionally reported in my comprehensive book.
JG: I saw your book at Barnes & Noble—75 percent off and heading toward 80.
CS: I saw yours at B. Dalton. It was beyond the bargain-bin, in a stack marked "Any Takers?"
"Rick" (Sung by the narrators to "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes):
"Who's the white-trash prick who's a sex machine to Teddy's chick? / RICK! / Ya damn right! /
"Who is the man that would snap the neck of his brother man? / RICK! / Can you dig it?/
"Who's the cat that won't cop out / When Ted's fortune's all about? / RICK! / Right on! /
"They say this cat Rick don't even love his own mutha / SHUT YOUR MOUTH! / But I'm talkin' 'bout Rick / THEN WE CAN DIG IT! /
"Got a complicated plan / And no one understands it but Ted's woman / RICK TABISH!"
GK: And it is now, when these two devious, devilish schemers converge and hatch a plan to get their grubby mitts on Binion's millions in silver coins, that perfidy arises!
JLS: Perfidy? You must have learned journalism at the Geraldo Rivera School of Understatement.
GK: Better than being a graduate of the over-the-hill gang.
JLS: Drop dead.
GK: You first.
"If We Killed a Rich Man" (Sung by Sandy and Rick to "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof):
(Spoken over the vampy music intro):
"Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor. But it's no great honor either! So what would have been so terrible if we had a small fortune?"
(Vamping swells, switch to singing):
"If we killed a rich man / Ya-ha-deedle-deedle-bubba-bubba-deedle-deedle-dum / All day long we'd feed him fatal drugs / If we killed a wealthy man /
"We wouldn't have to shoot him / Ya-ha-deedle-deedle-bubba-bubba-deedle-deedle-dum / "If we plan it out exactly right / He'll be yidle-diddle-didle-didle-DEAD /
"We'd get his big tall house with rooms by the dozen / come, let us swipe his silver, too! / Dupe him into leaving us all his dough / We'll simply dazzle him by plying him with hot sex / Oy, what a vamp that Sandy is / Teasing him to think just with his crotch ...
"If we killed a rich man / Ya-ha-deedle-deedle-bubba-bubba-deedle-deedle-dum ... /
"Lord who made the lion and the lamb / If Ted's dead, will we be on the lam? / Would it spoil some Binion's Horseshoe Plan / If ...we killed a weal-theeeeeee ... maaaaaaan ..."
A sand pit in Jean, Nevada
CS: While this fiendishness unfolds, Rick Tabish and his henchmen allegedly bully Leo Casey, a sandpit owner, into turning over his business to Tabish, who will buy into it with Binion's stolen silver. Casey claims that Tabish and his goons work him over, torturing him by beating him with ... the Yellow Pages.
GK: I wonder if I can play me in the movie of this.
CS: You've been playing with yourself for as long as I've known you.
"Mr. Sandpit" (Sung by Rick to "Mr. Sandman" by The Chordettes)
"Mr. Sandpit / Sign over your dream / I want your sandpit / Or you'll get creamed / Give me this business / Or you'll be hobbled / 'Cause with this phone book you'll get oh, so clobbered /
"Mr. Sandpit / Prepare for a cast / 'Cause I'm now ready to kick your ass / I'm unmoved by all your screams / Mr. Sandpit / You're gonna get creamed.
The Binion mansion, on the eve of Ted's death
GK: Ya gotta admit, I'm a stud muffin on TV.
JLS: How many producers did Channel 8 have to can to afford your Botox supply? Your face looks like a trampoline for Lilliputians.
Oh, by the way, for those of you following the plot and the plotters: By now, Teddy is plenty suspicious of his scarlet harlot. He even tells his attorney to write Sandy out of his will, claiming that if he's dead tomorrow, he'll know who did it.
"Murder Your Man" (Sung by Ted to "It's a Shame" by The Spinners)
(Classic Motown guitar riff intro)
"It's a shame / The way you plot to murder your man / It's a shame/ The way you'll kill me / It's a shame / The way you plot to murder your man / I'm sitting all alone / Lawyer on the phone / Because you're such a pill / You're booted off my will /
"It's a shame (shaaa-ame) / The way you plot to murder your man / It's a shame / The way you'll steal my silver fortune / It's a shame (shaaa-ame) / The way you plot to murder your man / You'll fed me Xanax tabs / Till I start to gag / You used to be so swell / I hope you go to hell ..."
Murder At The Mansion
CS: Ted's dead. "Hysterical" Sandy calls 911. Initial reports label it an accidental drug overdose.
JG: Heroin and Xanax are found in his stomach. But Ted never ingested heroin ... only smoked it ... Hmmmm.
CS: Authorities decide to investigate.
JG: Authorities decide to investigate.
CS: Plagiarist! I'll sue your ass!
(As two shrouded figures, of a man and a woman, crouch over Ted's body in the shadows, two wandering minstrels, oddly resembling Daryl Hall and John Oates, stroll across the stage behind them, singing a haunting refrain):
"You're a rich girl / And you've gone too far / 'Cause you know it don't matter anyway / You can rely on the old man's money / You can rely on the old man's money / It's a bitch girl / But it's gone too far / Say money / But it won't get you too far / Get you too far ..."
JLS, JG, GK, CS: INDICTED! And now, introducing ... the Holy Trinity of Binionville: District Attorney David Roger, Murphy Defense counsel John Momot and Judge Joseph Bonaventure. Ladies and gentlemen, the Courtroom Follies!
Spotlight swivels to the right of the courtroom; rest of the stage goes black)
"Dave Roger" (Sung by David Roger to "Get Ready," by The Temptations)
"I've finally got a case to make me a star / Say hallelujah! / You're dead meat /
I'm gonna be on LV-1 all day / That's so peculiar / Lots of repeats! / So fee-fi fo-fum / Look out killers / 'Cause here I come /
"And Ted's estate might pay off witnesses / So get ready / Get ready / I'm gonna nail your sorry carcasses / So get ready / Get ready / Here Davey comes / Dave Roger / Yeah, here he comes / Dave Roger / Yeah, here he comes
(Spotlight swivels to the left of the courtroom; rest of the stage goes black)
"The Momot Man" (Sung by John Momot to "The Candy Man" by Sammy Davis Jr.)
"Who can take a falsehood / Dip it in some doubt / Obfuscate the truth until the jurors start to pout / The Momot Man can / Oh, the Momot Man can / The Momot Man can 'cause I mix up fact and fable till they start to look alike /
"Who can take a damn lie / Apply an alibi / Make an opportunist seem like Sandra Apple Pie? / The Momot Man can / Oh, the Momot Man can / The Momot Man / The Momot Man / The Momot Maaa-aaa-aaan ..."
(Spotlight swivels to the center of the courtroom; rest of the stage goes black)
"You're the Ones That I Judge" (Sung by Judge Joseph Bonaventure to "You're the One That I Want" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John)
"Ted got killed / And now they're cryin' / That they're losin' control / 'Cause the power I'm supplyin' / It's ELECTRI-FYIN'! /
"You better watch out / 'Cause I need a case / And my docket's set on you / You better watch out / You better understand / To the facts I must be true / Nothin' left / Nothin' left for me to do /
"You're the ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh honey / The ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh honey / the ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh / Might you be freed? / Oh no indeed! /
"If you're filled with defiance / You're so bold to display / Show contempt in my direction / Seal your fate /
"You better watch out / 'Cause I need a case / That can keep me satisfied / You better watch out / Think you'll ever prove / Oh you better prove / That this charge ain't justified / Nothin' left / Nothin' left that you can prove /
"You're the ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh honey / The ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh honey / the ones that I judge / oooh-oooh-oooh / Might you be freed? / Oh no indeed!"
CS: Although Rick Tabish is denied bail, Sandy Murphy is released—with severe restrictions on her movements—to await trial, a privilege she quickly disparages by showing up ...
JG: Wait! Wait! Lemme tell 'em! Lemme! Lemme! ...
CS: To go furniture shopping.
JG: You're just plain mean.
CS: Suck it up, wimpy boy.
"You Better Furniture-Shop Around" (Sung by Sandy to "Shop Around" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles)
"Just because you've become a free woman now / There's still some things that you don't understand now / Before some judge goes and revokes your bail now / Abuse your freedom for as long as you can now /
"My conscience told me / You'd better shop around (shop, shop around) / You'd better shop around (shop, shop around) /
"There's some things that I want you to know now / Just as sure as the wind's gonna blow now / That tacky couch you got has gotta go now / I hear that Walker Furniture's open late, now /
"My conscience told me /You'd better shop around (shop, shop around) / You'd better shop around (shop, shop around)"
JG: I've got something to say.
CS: Me, too.
JLS: Me, three.
GK: What I've got to say is more important than what any of you have to say.
"You Talk Too Much" (Sung by the narrators to each other, to, well, "You Talk Too Much" by Joe Jones)
"You talk too much / You worry me to death / You talk too much / You even worry my pet / You just taaaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aalk / Talk too much /
"You talk about people / that you don't know / You talk about people / wherever you go / You just taaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aalk / talk too much ..."
Sandy's Regency Towers digs
GK: GLOBAL NEWS! SANDY MURPHY PAINTS ANKLE MONITORING BRACELET TO MATCH HER OUTFIT! We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.
JLS: God knows, you've tried.
"I Wore It My Way" (Sung by Sandy to "My Way," by Frank Sinatra)
"And now / With house arrest / And so I face / A clothing nightmare / I dress to look my best / and I don't care for standard jailwear / I'm clothed with such aplomb / I've matched up each and every outfit / But more, much more than this / I wore it my way /
"For what is a girl / What has she got? / If not couture / Then she has naught / To spray the things / She truly feels / Accessorize to match her heels / Court records show / I took the blows / And wore it my way" /
The Courtroom / Clark County Jail
JG, GK, CS, JLS: VERDICT ... GUILTY!
"Clark County Jailhouse Rock" (Sung by Sandy and Rick to "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley)
"Goin' to a party at Clark County Jail / With Bonaventure's sentence I began to wail / Rick is shakin' and began to sing / You should've heard them knocked-out jailbirds sing /
"Let's rock / Everybody let's rock / Everybody in the whole cell block / Was dancin' to the jailhouse rock /
"Sandy Murphy sittin' on a block of stone / Little Joey blowin' (CENSORED) / C'mon, Silly Sandy / Don't ya be no square / If you can't get a retrial / It just isn't fair /
"Let's rock / Everybody let's rock / Everybody in the whole cell block / Was dancin' to the jailhouse rock /
"Sandy Murphy said to Rick / 'For heaven's sake / No one's lookin' / Now's our chance to make a break' / Ricky turned to Sandy / And he said 'Nix, Nix / I wanna stick around / We'll get Al Dershowitz' /
"Let's rock / Everybody let's rock / Everybody in the whole cell block / Was dancin' to the jailhouse rock
JG, GK, CS, JLS: VERDICT ... OVERTURNED!
"The Bitch is Back" (Sung by Sandy to, well, "The Bitch is Back" by Elton John)
"I was energized when I met Ted / Raising Cain and then Ted was dead / Times are changin' and you don't know jack / The new verdict's gonna catch you when the bitch gets back /
"Had sex with Tabish / That's alright / Betrayed Ted's trust / Screwed all day and all night / Soon I'll bitch the best at The Trial Part Deux / And get high in the evening screaming 'Baby, Screw You!' /
"I'm a bitch, I'm a bitch / Oh the bitch is back / No stone-cold killer, as a matter of fact / I can bitch, I can bitch / 'Cause I'm better than you / It's the way that I screw / The men that I do / Whoa-oh-oh
(Screaming guitar riff.)
ENTIRE ENSEMBLE JOINS ONSTAGE FOR STAR-STUDDED FINALE
"It's Ted Binion" closing version (Sung by the ensemble, to "At the Copa")
"Her name was Sandy / She took her clothes off / But that was several years ago / Before she eyeballed Teddy's dough /
"Now Ted's a mem'ry / But not for Sandy / Back for her second Vegas trial / Along with Rick, it's all so vile /
"Well, here we go again / Xanax and heroin / Bring on the sex and the sin and sleazoids / Don't you touch that dial /
"It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binion / The drug-addled son of Ben Binion / It's Ted Binion / Lonnie 'Ted' Binnnnnioooon / Ted had to have her / Now he's a cadaver / Thanks to passion / Don't fall in lust ... / Don't fall in lust ... / Don't fall in lust ..."