Alfred Uhry Working on New Musical with Bat Boy's O'Keefe

News   Alfred Uhry Working on New Musical with Bat Boy's O'Keefe Playwright Alfred Uhry and composer-lyricist Laurence O'Keefe are collaborating on a new musical, Uhry told Playbill On-Line.

Playwright Alfred Uhry and composer-lyricist Laurence O'Keefe are collaborating on a new musical, Uhry told Playbill On-Line.

O'Keefe, who wrote music and lyrics for the offbeat Off-Broadway show, Bat Boy, is writing the music to Uhry's libretto. O'Keefe's wife, Nell Benjamin, is lyricist.

As the writing process is in its early stages, Uhry demurred at discussing the plot, saying only that is was on the silly side and he was having great fun writing the book.

Bat Boy flapped its way through a West Coast staging and several developmental readings over the past few years, to Off Broadway's Union Square Theatre on March 3, 2001. A victim of Sept. 11, it posted a closing notice for Sept. 23, 2001.

The darkly comic musical focused on the tabloid drawn tale of a half-boy, half-bat who struggles with his thirst for blood and feelings of self and love. Spawned in the tabloids, the story of the grotesque Bat Boy boosted sales of the Weekly World News, the supermarket paper that has also reported about Elvis being alive and U.S. presidents playing golf with aliens. The musical, though short lived in New York, is getting regional productions throughout the country this season.

O'Keefe won a 2001 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award. He began composing at Harvard for Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He has written music and lyrics for Euphoria and The Imaginary Invalid at The Actors' Gang and arranged dance music for Disney's "Geppetto." He also composed music to The Mice, a one-act musical that is one-third of a trio of tuners under the umbrella title, 3hree. Benjamin penned the lyrics for The Mice.

Uhry wrote the lyrics and book for The Robber Bridegroom and the book for Parade (to say nothing of lyrics to the flop 1968 "East of Eden" musical called Here's Where I Belong). The connection between O'Keefe and Uhry may be director Harold Prince, who helmed both Parade and 3hree.

—By Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones