Created by Julian Bleach, Anthony Cairns, Tamzin Griffin, Jo Pocock and Graeme Gilmour, Shockheaded Peter features 11 original songs written and performed by The Tiger Lillies, a trio from London's underground. Those tunes, played on drums, bass and accordian, and sung in an eerie falsetto, tell of such young ruffians as Johnny Head-in-air, who nevers looks where he's going; Conrad, who won't leave off sucking his thumbs; Harriet, a fiend for playing with matches; and Augustus, who forever cries "take that nasty soup away!" Invariably, the morality tales end with the terse lyric "He's dead," or "He died."
The whole is overseen by a ghoulishly attired narrator, who proclaims himself "the greatest actor that ever existed," and proceeds to take on roles include a large cat, the slovenly title baby, and Snip Snip, the flame-headed demon who cuts off the thumbs of naughty Conrad.
Shockheaded Peter is a musical staging of the 19th-century children's book "Struwwelpeter" (slovenly Peter), a volume of cautionary children's tales by Heinrich Hoffman.
The production, which was briefly seen at New York's Victory Theatre in 1999, returns to Off-Broadway with its original cast. Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott direct the production.
The creative team comprises Julian Crouch and Graeme Gilmour (who created the distinctive one-dimension sets), Kevin Pollard (costume design) and Jon Linstrum (lighting design). Shockheaded Peter plays Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 8 PM, Thursdays at 10 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 7 PM with matinees on Saturdays at 3 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets, priced $49.50-$65, can be purchased beginning Dec. 1 by calling (212) 239-6200. The 10 PM Thursday-night performances are priced at $25.
The Little Shubert Theatre is located in Manhattan at 422 West 42nd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.