Will Cult Musical Bat Boy Grow Wings for a Broadway Life?

News   Will Cult Musical Bat Boy Grow Wings for a Broadway Life?
 
Bat Boy, the cult 2001 Off-Broadway musical about a half-boy, half-bat trying to find his place in society, is being revised by creators Laurence O'Keefe, Brian Flemming and Keythe Farley — and has goals for a Broadway life.

"My goals are utterly predictable. You can tell exactly what our goals are," songwriter O'Keefe said in an upcoming interview with Playbill.com. "We would love Bat Boy to make it to Broadway. It had a close shave. It came close in New York. It was doing well before 9/11. We'd love it to finally make it there."

O'Keefe and book writers Flemming and Farley are currently in Cambridge, where they are rewriting material for a college production of Bat Boy at Harvard University, running Nov. 14-23.

When members of the student-run Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club contacted the writers to visit the campus, they jumped at the chance — and even offered to revise the material for the current production at Harvard (songwriter O'Keefe's alma mater).

"We'd love this material to work," said O'Keefe, who explained that this was one of the first chances the team has had to reunite. "If it works, then yeah, we will look into maybe making it the canonical version. We made some great changes for [the 2004 production in] London, and sometimes people producing the show in America say, 'Hey, can we do the London version?' … And, we help them institute it."

O'Keefe admitted that the piece was flawed and said the team is constantly working to improve it. (Look for more in Playbill.com's upcoming Playbillder Spotlight on the college production.) He added, "We would love to be able to say to the various movie and Broadway-type people who have periodically expressed interest, 'Hey, yes. Not only do we agree with you that we'd love Bat Boy to come in and have a Broadway life, but we've been thinking about it, and we've been working on it. We haven't been sleeping on it. We've been trying to make it better.' Our goal is to make this show more attractive, better, more like itself — not go off on tangents because we think we have a fairly good handle on when the show is right and when the show isn't — and we would very much like it to be worthy of the attention.

"Every couple months, some smart guy from New York or Hollywood expresses some interest, and we've always been, like, 'Yeah, we're very flattered by your interest. Deep down, we kind of know the show probably could benefit from some more attention and revision before we start going down the extensive routes of production… Keythe and Brian and I love to tinker with it, but we don't just tinker with it to tinker. We'd love for it to just be a better thing that is suddenly so attractive that everybody wants to do it. We'll see."

Bat Boy, the musical based on the 1992 Weekly World News cover story about a bat child who grew up living in a cave, starred Deven May in the title role with Kerry Butler as Shelley Parker.

The ensemble-driven show (often staged with a small cast, whose parts are doubled throughout the piece) tells the story of an angst-ridden teenage bat boy named Edgar, who is struggling to find his place in society.

Look for more in an upcoming Playbillder Spotlight story.

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