Bat Boy, the Musical, Wings to March Off-Bway Staging at Union Square

News   Bat Boy, the Musical, Wings to March Off-Bway Staging at Union Square Bat Boy, the Musical, flapping its wings in development and staged readings for the past several years, will get an Off-Broadway staging beginning in March, director Scott Schwartz told Playbill On-Line.
Promotional art for a 1999 reading of Bat Boy.
Promotional art for a 1999 reading of Bat Boy.

Bat Boy, the Musical, flapping its wings in development and staged readings for the past several years, will get an Off-Broadway staging beginning in March, director Scott Schwartz told Playbill On-Line.

Confirming a report in Variety, Schwartz said the offbeat tuner by Keythe Farley & Brian Flemming (story and book), with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe, will land at the Union Square Theatre, where August Wilson's Jitney is now running through Jan. 28. Preview and opening dates have not been announced for the show, nor has casting.

Schwartz, co-director of Broadway's Jane Eyre, staged a workshop/backers' presentation of the tabloid-inspired Bat Boy July 17-Aug. 5, 2000. The darkly comic show is drawn from 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 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 performed the part in the New York workshop. No casting has been announced for the New York staging, though May has been privately hailed for his gutsy workshop performances. Keythe Farley directed the Hollywood staging, and Schwartz was subsequently brought on.

The Off-Broadway producers are expected to be Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Robyn Goodman, Jean Doumanian and RIOT Entertainment. *

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.

In summer 2000, 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 summer 2000 workshop cast included Robert Evan, Kaitlin Hopkins, Amy Rutberg, Clarke Thorell, Kena Dorsey, Jim Pryce, Ken Prymus, Rick Pruitt and Christine Zbornick.

— By Kenneth Jones