Duncan Sheik is still knee-deep in theater projects. The Tony-winning composer is getting ready to mount the first staged production of his new musical The Nightingale this June in San Diego, he’s still polishing away at the musical version of American Psycho, and he’s also trying to get the much-anticipated film version of Spring Awakening off the ground. Yet while the stage calls, Sheik is taking some time to focus on his music career. Sheik is co-headlining a concert tour with Suzanne Vega (most widely known for “Tom’s Diner”), which will play New York’s Highline Ballroom on April 25 and 26. Sheik phoned Stage Rush on the drive to his first rehearsal for the tour to chat about how American Psycho is influencing his next solo album, Spring Awakening going the indie film route, and why he’s wanted to dodge his biggest hit, “Barely Breathing,” for so long.
How did this collaboration with Suzanne Vega come about?
We’ve known each other for a really long time because we’re both practicing Buddhists. We knew each other through those circles and we’d see each other at various places when we’d be touring for our records. For a long time, Suzanne had this idea about writing a show where she would play Carson McCullers and perform these songs that were inspired by her writing. Suzanne’s daughter is a huge fan of Spring Awakening, so Suzanne thought that since I’ve done the theater thing before, she’d call me up. We ended up writing a score for this piece together. She performed it a year ago at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and she’s been performing a few of the songs in her concerts since then. So we decided to do this co-headlining tour. Read more
- Going to the opening night of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
- Interviewing Lion King ensemble members Ray Mercer and Jean Michelle Grier
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Is Bloody Bloody the coolest show to hit Broadway this season, or do you have your eye on another show? What Broadway openings have you been to? Tell me your stories and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow Stage Rush on Facebook and Twitter for updates, news, and sightings when you’re on the go!
I was there when it played off Broadway, then attended the media day, and even was present at its first Broadway preview. So when I was invited to the opening night performance and party of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, despite my excitement, I worried people would start thinking I was a Jackson groupie. And maybe I am! Well, not exactly, but there’s no shame in supporting a show that’s this good or one you believe in. And I believe in Andrew Jackson.
I was the plus one of the very generous Sammy Davis, my friend and the mind behind the self-titled Sammy Davis Vintage, who is a vintage fashion expert and stylist. We arrived at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre early enough to soak up the opening-night flashbulbs and festivities occurring on the street. We first saw Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walk the press line, followed by the very pregnant Katie Finneran, Eve Best, Keith Powell, and Andrew McCarthy. Bloody Bloody writer/director Alex Timbers and composer Michael Friedman also passed through photographers, looking ebullient for the debut of their creative baby. Getting swept up in all the famous faces and buzz, it was easy to lose track of time, and we realized we should go in and take our seats before we missed the curtain.
The excitement in the theater was palpable. I had already observed Donyale Werle and Justin Townsend’s enveloping set and lighting when I attended the first preview performance, but I swear the ornaments glowed brighter this night. The performance began 15 minutes late, but when it did, the audience gave the cast of Bloody Bloody a warm welcome. Title star Benjamin Walker riffed a little more than usual in his opening statements, warning the audience that their sustained applause was just delaying them all from the open bar at the after party. Read more
After receiving what was undoubtedly the most kick-ass history lesson of my life last spring when I saw Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at The Public Theater, I wondered how the show would handle a Broadway transfer. Even now, the emo-rock musical about America’s seventh president still has a more off-Broadway feel to me. Its humor is incredibly specific and the story verges on off-putting and offensive at times. But like its title character, this show doesn’t follow convention.
Now playing at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, Bloody Bloody has once again opened with commitment. The show’s focused style of humor and aesthetics would not work without pure dedication, and Bloody Bloody has gone whole hog. Or rather whole horse, as one hangs upside down from the ceiling over the audience.
Walking into the home of Bloody Bloody is an instant immersion into another world. Scenic designer Donyale Werle has done stupendous work, expanding beautifully on the setting at The Public. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Bloody Bloody last spring was the all-inclusive set design, with gaudy chandeliers and Christmas lights stretching far out into the audience. Werle has adapted the themes wonderfully for the 1,000-seat Jacobs Theatre. The house is splashed in deep read and painted portraits adorn the walls all the way to the back. The Christmas lights and chandeliers have returned, hoisted high above the audience, stretching back through the mezzanine. The Jacobs Theatre looks like a ghoulish setting for a Halloween party.
Once in the theater, the audience is prepped for all the sights of Bloody Bloody. The creative team for this show is the one to beat come Tony season. Werle, lighting designer Justin Townsend, and costume designer Emily Rebholz have collaborated with such unity. Rebholz’s costumes have done the actors the service of making them look as sexy and radical as they need to portray themselves. All aspects of Bloody Bloody fit together like a puzzle. Read more
- Striking out at Next to Normal during stars’ final week
- Missing Memphis’s Montego Glover at Broadway in Bryant Park
- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson announces Broadway transfer in September
- Broadway grosses
Rushers, what did you think of Brian D’Arcy James as Dan in Next to Normal? Please tell me, since I didn’t see him. What did you think of this week’s Broadway in Bryant Park? Were you disappointed Montego Glover was absent, or were you thrilled to see Danielle Williamson? Are you getting your eyeliner out in anticipation of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’s Broadway transfer in September? Leave all your excitement, woes, and thoughts in the comments!