Monday, May 26, 2014


David Byrne? Fatboy Slim? Musical theatre? No way.

Yes, way.

Here Lies Love, the delicious musical with songs by David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) and beats by Fatboy Slim, was released as a concept album years ago featuring big-name musicians. Just last year, it was picked up in an acclaimed production at The Public Theatre. Directed by Alex Timbers, the show was staged in a dance club of sorts, with the cast performing on moving elevated platforms while the audience gets to stand and dance for the entirety of the 90 minute show.

It's a good thing the audience gets to dance, because with what David Byrne and Fatboy Slim have created, I'd find it damn near impossible not to.


Skepticism. How else can you approach a musical based on such unlikely subject matter? Rocky, the famous 1976 movie starring Sylvester Stallone as the Italian Stallion himself, isn't exactly material that sings. However, it was intriguing to discover that the wonderfully talented Tony winning Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty would be composing the show's score. After their stunning work on shows such as Ragtime and Once On This Island, I await everything they produce with anticipation. As unusual it was for Rocky to be used as material for a musical, it felt like the fantastic creative team would be up to the ambitious challenge.

But all considered, does Rocky actually work as a musical?

Yes. And no. Read on.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Jeanine Tesori is having a great year. After her ground breaking musical Fun Home was a huge hit at The Public Theater, her very first musical Violet, originally seen at Playwrights Horizons way back in 1997, has received a revival on Broadway that opened to rave reviews. Shortly after, a cast recording was released.

Much like Adam Guettel's work on Floyd Collins, Tesori's musical palette consists of a rootsy bluegrass and country sensibility with some path treaded into blues, rock, and gospel. And also not unlike Floyd Collins, Violet doesn't exactly deal with typical musical theatre fare as subject matter. You wouldn't expect a story about a girl with her face permanently scarred after being hit with an axe to be material that sings.

But it really does. And it makes for a truly moving and timeless musical.