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Rogers: The Musical Writers Open Up About How The Hawkeye Gag Came About

With the probable exception of one yet-to-be-revealed villain, just about everything in the Marvel Disney+ series "Hawkeye" is chockfull of positivity. The series has been described by critics as "playful" and "silly" (via CNET) and nowhere is this more clear than in the very first episode of the series, in which Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) takes his children to see a play called "Rogers: The Musical." 

Even though the inclusion of the Broadway production is largely intended as a parody of dramatic reenactments of "real-life" events (à la "Hamilton") and Clint quickly makes it clear that he isn't in love with the show, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have heaped praise on the musical. With lyrics that reference events from the history of the MCU, the fictional musical has become so popular that Disney has already released a full audio-only version of the scene. The scene, which is set directly in the middle of the 2012 Battle of New York, includes the sounds of a song titled "Save the City." 

Marc Shaiman composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the song with Scott Wittman also responsible for the latter task (via Marvel). In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Shaiman and Wittman delved into the origins of the musical and how the idea ultimately came to fruition.

Rogers: The Musical started as a joke, but the pandemic gave it new meaning

In an interview with Ash Crossan for Screen Rant, composer Marc Shaiman said that he first met Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at an Academy Awards event, where he quickly realized that Feige was a fan of his prior work. At some point after Feige and Shaiman became acquainted, writers for "Hawkeye" came up with the idea for a musical "almost jokingly," according to Shaiman. Once Feige caught wind of the idea, however, he was immediately insistent that they follow through on it.

"Kevin was like, 'No, no, it's got to be there and I know just the guys to do it,'" Shaiman said. "So it was just phenomenal when we got that call."

While Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman were certainly pleased to take on the new job, there were other concerns going on at the moment the two were drafted into the MCU. 

"At that time, it was just the beginning of the pandemic," Wittman told Screen Rant. "It was when New York was in really, really terrible shape with no one leaving their houses and people banging on pots and pans for healthcare workers at night."

Watching the real-life crisis of the pandemic unfold in the city around them, Wittman had an idea for the musical.

"I said to Marc, 'I think I have the title for the song... Please, someone save the city,'" Wittman said. "That seemed to make sense. And then, we wrote a verse and a chorus and sent it to [Marvel], and they loved the idea. And they said, 'Write the song.'"