Bat Boy, the Musical, flapping its wings in development for the past several years, has the last of several New York City backers' presentations Aug. 5, following a workshop that began July 17.
Director Scott Schwartz (Jane Eyre) helmed the workshop and private readings of the new musical inspired by articles that appeared in the tabloid, The Weekly World News. The paper, known for publishing photos of U.S. presidents posing with aliens, reported about a grotesque half-child/half-bat who was extricated from a cave and went on a multi state blood sucking spree.
The darkly comic musical first dawned Oct. 31, 1997, in a staging at the Actors Gang Theatre in Hollywood, CA, with Deven May in the title role. May also performs the part in the New York workshop. The story and book are by Keythe Farley & Brian Flemming, with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe. Keythe Farley directed the Hollywood staging, and Schwartz was subsequently brought on.
The musical, punctuated with rock 'n' roll and gospel, won the 1999 Richard Rodgers Development Award for staged readings. A reading was held in October 1999, as well.
Arrangements with the tabloid for rights to the story are being worked out, said Schwartz. The lead producers who will shepherd the show to the next step are Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Robyn Goodman and RIOT Entertainment. Schwartz said the 10-actor, July 17-Aug. 5 workshop and presentations had a dual purpose: To seek backers, but also "to experiment with staging concepts and rewrites."
Schwartz told Playbill On-Line, "The tone is dark comedy. It's very high camp, but the actors play the show quite seriously. It's wild, and rock and roll and very edgy."
The cast included Robert Evan, Kaitlin Hopkins, Amy Rutberg, Clarke Thorell, Kena Dorsey, Jim Pryce, Ken Prymus, Rick Pruitt and Christine Zbornick.
Schwartz is co-director of Jane Eyre, the new John Caird-Paul Gordon musical opening on Broadway in the fall.
-- By Kenneth Jones