For the Love of a Glove (Review)

Mark Olmsted
4 min readJan 27, 2020
Design: Ellen G.

Full disclosure: Almost 15 years ago, I fell in love with another theatrical tour de force penned by Julien Nitzberg, the writer, lyricist and director of For the Love of a Glove, running now at the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan theater in L.A.’s Echo Park. That show, The Beastly Bombing, was an operetta about would-be terrorists (yes, operetta) and so brilliantly inventive and funny I returned to the theater the next day to offer my meager talents to the production as a volunteer. I was not a born assistant propmaster, but the effort was well worth it. I never tired of watching the show night after night because Julien’s lyrics were incredibly witty and each time I heard them, I appreciated some bit of wordplay I had somehow missed before.

When I was first told about For the Love of a Glove by one of the producers, Betsy Zajko, I knew it was going to be hysterical, edgy and astute because Julien is all of those things; plus the premise is pretty much genius. Five alien brothers from a funky musical planet crash-land in Gary, Indiana in 1968, and are saved by none other than Jermaine and Michael Jackson, very much pre-fame and pre-talent. The boys’ singing and dancing abilities come as a direct result of these glove-shaped aliens, who feed on the brothers’ blood and in so doing transfer their musical gifts back onto them. (Spoiler-alert-but-not-really: the gifting of tuneful skills works only if their prey are young male virgins.)

In lesser hands, this could have all gone terribly wrong, but I’m happy to report that Glove goes terribly right. It’s a risky business to create a new mythology out of several pre-existing ones. No matter how much we wanted to believe Michael’s extraordinary talent somehow made the allegations against him suspect, the documentary Finding Neverland relieved that scenario of any shred of plausible deniability. One might have also worried that the…

Mark Olmsted

Author, "Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir" about my time behind bars. See GQ dot com “Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die” for story of how I got there.