Meat Loaf finds fresh voice

Bat Out of hell re­vived as full-blown stage mu­si­cal

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Lau­ren La rose

TORONTO — Meat loaf is get­ting the unique chance to re­con­nect with his the­atri­cal roots as songs from his record-sell­ing rock opus Bat Out of Hell are in­cor­po­rated into a new mu­si­cal.

it was years be­fore his 1977 jug­ger­naut al­bum when the en­ter­tainer was im­mersed in a dif­fer­ent world of stage, play­ing roles in Hair and The Rocky Hor­ror Show.

in some ways, he’s re­turn­ing to that part of his life along­side col­lab­o­ra­tor Jim stein­man, who helped cre­ate the original al­bum and is the cre­ative force be­hind Bat Out of Hell: The Mu­si­cal. The play makes its North amer­i­can pre­miere saturday at the ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto and Meat loaf is cred­ited as an as­so­ci­ate pro­ducer.

“it means more to (stein­man), but it means so much to me,” Meat loaf said of the new stage show dur­ing an in­ter­view ear­lier this year.

“i have writ­ten him e-mails where i’ve been in tears talk­ing about, ‘i can’t be­lieve this is hap­pen­ing’ — your dream of 50 years.”

cana­dian au­di­ences will be in­tro­duced to the smash mu­si­cal after a sold-out run in Manchester and a stint at lon­don’s coli­seum Theatre.

The mu­si­cal fea­tures some of stein­man’s and Meat loaf’s big­gest hits, in­clud­ing I’d Do Any­thing for Love (But I Won’t Do That), you Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Sum­mer Night) and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

The huge emo­tions that we ex­plore in the show just come re­ally nat­u­rally from the mu­sic.” Christina Ben­ning­ton

stein­man cre­ated the book, mu­sic and lyrics for the mu­si­cal cen­tred on star-crossed love, re­bel­lion and rock ’n’ roll.

it’s an as­ton­ish­ing new chap­ter for Bat Out of Hell, which has sold more than 43 mil­lion copies, rank­ing it be­hind Michael Jackson’s Thriller, ac/dc’s Back in Black, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on the all-time best­selling list.

Meat loaf said the stein­man’s lat­est in­car­na­tion finds new in­spi­ra­tion in the source ma­te­rial.

“Orig­i­nally, all of stein­man’s stuff was based on Peter Pan,” he said. “This turned into Romeo and Juliet.”

u.s. ac­tor an­drew Polec leads the pro­duc­tion as strat, an 18-year old who thrives on his reck­less side.

“he’s ba­si­cally the epit­ome of eter­nal youth and re­bel­lion,” Polec said. “it starts out with him be­ing wild and crazy.”

soon he meets raven, the daugh­ter of a despotic ruler he’s fight­ing against, but he’s smit­ten by her and falls head over heels.

belfast-born christina ben­ning­ton por­trays raven, who’s in­stantly at­tracted to strat but shel­tered by her protective par­ents.

“i think she’s al­ways wanted to rebel against them,” ben­ning­ton said. “she meets strat and finds a kin­dred spirit she’s pretty much all in.”

Polec and ben­ning­ton each said they orig­i­nally dis­cov­ered Bat Out of Hell through their par­ents. both see the mu­si­cal as the prime show­case for the al­bum.

“The huge emo­tions that we ex­plore in the show just come re­ally nat­u­rally from the mu­sic,” ben­ning­ton said.

“it seems like it al­ways was where it was meant to be.”

Bat Out of Hell: The Mu­si­cal is slated to run at the ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto un­til dec. 24.

Specular

An­drew Polec as Strat, Phoebe Hart as Bes­samey and Isaac Ed­wards as Denym (left to right) star in Bat Out of Hell — The Mu­si­cal. The play makes its North Amer­i­can pre­miere Saturday at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto and Meat Loaf is cred­ited as an as­so­ci­ate pro­ducer.

Frank Gunn/the Cana­dian Press

Meat Loaf (left) meets with lead per­form­ers An­drew Polec (right) and Christina Ben­ning­ton from Bat Out of Hell — The Mu­si­cal, in Toronto in May.

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