Bryan D. Leys

Argentina Rumpus


Argentina Rumpus is a screwball musical comedy in the vein of the famous Hope and Crosby “road” movies where a couple of smart-alecs head to some exotic place, get into terrible scrapes and vie for the same woman.

In 1975, madcap lyricist Lee Alexander has been bounced from her new Broadway show “Lush Love” and is in trouble for assaulting the police. Fellow lyricist Mel Huckabee, who has also seen his new show fold, convinces Lee to join him on a trip to Argentina “‘til the heat’s off.”

When they arrive, they find themselves in a hotbed of international intrigue. Spies are rampant, everyone in the town of Puerco Negro seems to be harboring a secret. Julio, a local peasant boy, warns them that a local priest has recently been thrown down a well by a mysterious hooded killer.

Lee and Mel quickly run afoul of Salizar Ramon, the local despot, who crushes freedom but loves musical comedy. Salizar and his lieutenant, Heinz Schmientz, a German with a suspicious past, trap our heroes in town until they can write a patriotic theme song. While trying to find a way out, Mel and Lee both fall in love with Ramon’s son, Jesus, a handsome soccer player, not knowing if he’s straight or gay.

Other colorful characters include a local nun, Sister Eliza, who demands everyone speaks English; an American jelly tycoon and his naughty daughter, Rowena; and a Graham Greenish ne’er-do-well British spy. Nobody is quite whom they seem to be and everyone is drawn together in a web of intrigue.

Soon, Mel and Lee find themselves being shot at, kidnapped, interrogated and accused of murder. And all the time they are trying to unite Julio and Rowena, whom they believe are star-crossed lovers. Can they complete their mission before winding up in front of a firing squad?

Argentina Rumpus is a musical comedy in the classic American style but with a modern attitude. It includes send-ups of several musical song staples and clichés as well as being fun for mystery/adventure fans.

Cast of Characters

Lee Alexander 30’s, female lyricist.
Mel Hucklebee 30’s, male lyricist.
Julio A peasant boy, 20’s.
Hector Julio’s pet burro.
Salazar Ramon El Jefe, local strongman of Puerco Negro, 40’s.
Jesus Ramon De La Christo Local football hero, Salazar’s son, 20’s.
Heinz Schmeintz Chief of police, thick German accent, 40’s.
Dick Stickley President of the Stickley Fruit Consortium, 40’s.
Rowena Stickley His daughter, 20’s.
Mitzi Oldhouse New York society matron, arch-enemy of Lee, late 30’s.
Sister Eliza A local nun, guardian of the English tongue, 30’s.
Chauncey Greenleaf British alcoholic and spy, 30’s.
Café waiter, soldiers, peasants  
The Expunger ????

Music Excerpts

Music by James Campodonico