Originally entitled Up!, it offers a futuristic story of social outcasts living on an asteroid in the year 2972. Among them is Gabriel Finn, a space sanitation man who collects trash in a clamshell-shaped garbage ship called the Helen of Troy.
The storyline was so incomprehensible that at the last moment producers decided to insert a plot synopsis in the Playbill, but audiences were still baffled by what they were witnessing unfold on stage. Pyrotechnic displays and other special effects did little to enhance the project.
After fifteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Peter Hall, produced by George W. George and choreographed by George Faison, opened on November 28, 1972, the first production at the brand new Uris Theatre where, unable to withstand a universal assault by the critics, it ran for only seven performances. The cast included Raul Julia, Irene Cara, Keene Curtis, Chuck Cissel, Ralph Carter, Melanie Chartoff, and Virginia Vestoff.
Via Galactica, one of the first Broadway shows to lose more than $1 million, was MacDermot's second flop of the season. His Dude had closed after 16 performances a mere five weeks earlier.
MacDermot's score has continued to be of interest - with the composer presenting much of the score the Cooper Union on 4 April 2002.
- Ian Herbert, ed. (1981). "BAKER, Mark". Who's Who in the Theatre 1. Gale Research Company. p. 37. ISSN 0083-9833.
- Broadway Musicals: A Hundred Year History by David H. Lewis, published by McFarland & Company (2002), pages 104-105 (ISBN 0-786-41269-0)
- Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum, published by St. Martin's Press (1998), pages 23–24 (ISBN 0-312-08273-8)
- Internet Broadway Database link
- Jennifer George, "My Family's Flop", The New York Times, January 2, 2011.
- BroadwayEdition.org host Paul Leary's Exclusive interview about Via Galactica with Rick Gore: http://www.paulleary.org/web/Home/Entries/2011/1/7_Exclusive_interview_about_Via_Galactica.html