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
- Duncan Sheik plays second show at City Winery
- It’s official: Jennifer Damiano will play Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
- Broadway in Bryant Park ends with American Idiot and La Cage aux Folles
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? Are you prac-ti-ca-lly per-fect? Did you catch Duncan Sheik’s concert at City Winery? Do you think he should continue with the covers or return fully to performing his solo work? Are you on board for Jennifer Damiano joining Spider-Man? Did you see the finale of Broadway in Bryant Park? Which week was your favorite this summer? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Duncan Sheik returned to New York’s City Winery Tuesday night to complete his two-show commitment, after canceling his June 10 concert due to illness. The Tony-winning composer was back in regular form for an evening of 80s alt-rock covers and solo work.
Sheik kicked off the 80s covers segment with Depeche Mode’s “Stripped,” which he performed back in March at his concert at New Jersey’s South Orange Performing Arts Center. He moved through a set of new covers, which Sheik introduced as their “world premiere; which is code for we haven’t rehearsed them much.” The list included songs from The Cure, Howard Jones, and The Smiths—all with mellow arrangements. One of the few times in his set did Sheik get upbeat was when he played Tears For Fears’ “Shout,” which was a surprisingly mainstream choice for Sheik. As he’s done many times before, he introduced “Shout” with slight embarrassment as “a pop song,” which is something he did repeatedly during the show.
When he played his first concert at City Winery in June, Sheik’s set began with a Nick Drake album in its entirety before moving on to his solo work. Toward the end of Tuesday’s set of covers, a chiding audience member called out “Play Duncan Sheik!” The bashful Sheik responded, “I’m getting there; I just have to get this out of my system.” He began the segment of his own work with “For You” and then jumped to a Whisper House song, which he classically brushed off with, “My last album was called Whisper House. It was a theater thing.” From that musical, he played “The Tale of Solomon Snell,” which I thought was a poor choice, being that there are stronger numbers from the piece, and it has been a part of his past few set lists. Strangely missing lately has been “Earthbound Starlight,” which was the debut single off the Whisper House album. Read more
Happy birthday to me! Joining me for this special edition of Stage Rush TV are my dear friends Georgina and Kym, along with some other very esteemed guests who open the episode.
- At the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY to see Michael Mayer’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, featuring Brian d’Arcy James and Anika Noni Rose
- When friends and theater combine to make a cherished tradition
- Congratulations to the winners of the Night Music/Promises, Promises ticket giveaway
- Broadway grosses
Do you have any theater traditions with your friends, Rushers? Let me know what it is, and what your special memories are. Have you ever been to Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater? Will you be seeing this concert production of On A Clear Day this weekend, or are you waiting for when it comes to the Vineyard Theatre in January 2011 (or both)? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, (and birthday wishes) in the comments!
Stripping a production down reveals all its vulnerabilities. The beauty of this approach is that if the work is strong, its assets will make up for any money-gobbling features like scenery, effects, and venue. The Looking Glass Theatre’s off-off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening: A Sin of Omission is one of those productions that shines when nothing much more than writing and acting is on the table.
Coming off of the critically acclaimed and box office success that was the Broadway musical version of Spring Awakening (which was beautifully minimalist itself), attending this translation of Frank Wedekind’s original straight play at the Looking Glass Theatre produces a little culture shock. Descending the Hell’s Kitchen building’s basement stairs to a non-air conditioned black box theater, I admit this spoiled theatergoer momentarily grappled for the amenities of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Yet upon first seeing Kyle Lampe’s bare-bones set, which boasts pretty much only a swing, I had a feeling I’d settle in comfortably.
Knowing the story, the simple presence of the swing reminded me of Wedekind’s characters, the tragic teenagers who, in the middle of their playful youth, long only for love and understanding. The nine young actors who embody upwards of 20 characters in the play convey Wedekind’s powerful emotions quite acutely. Read more
- Interviewing Promises, Promises music director Phil Reno
- Seeing Duncan Sheik in concert at City Winery
- Stage Rush will be live blogging from the Tony Awards!
- Broadway grosses
What do you think, Rushers? What do you think it would be like to watch over 1,300 performances of the same show, like Phil did with The Producers? Did you catch Duncan Sheik’s concert at City Winery, or are you planning on seeing next week’s show. What do you think of Sheik forgetting lyrics? Leave it all in the comments!
Duncan Sheik was definitely enjoying his quirkiness Thursday night at his concert at City Winery. In his first of two June shows at the SoHo restaurant and concert venue (the second is June 10), Sheik performed an album by the late British singer/songwriter Nick Drake—Pink Moon—in its entirety. Sheik repeatedly highlighted the music’s mellow, and sometimes vague, quality, of which the audience seemed unfamiliar with (as was I). Sheik humorously joked with the audience, thanking them for their cooperation with his indulgence throughout the album’s 11 songs.
Despite the album’s obscurity to most of the audience, Drake’s music shares many similar qualities to Sheik’s, overlapping in somberness, soft tones, and introspective lyrics. Accompanying Sheik was Gerry Leonard on lead guitar. In fact, these two shows at City Winery seem to be a split-up version of Sheik’s March concert at New Jersey’s South Orange Performing Arts Center. Leonard assisted Sheik there as well, as did Whisper House’s Holly Brook, who will be joining him at next week’s show. Sheik also added that during next week’s concert, he will be singing covers of songs from the 1980s from artists such as Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode—some of which he played at the SOPAC show.
Set list: Read more
- Duncan Sheik spills details on Spring Awakening movie
- Sheik in concert in South Orange, NJ
- Broadway double-header: rushing A Little Night Music and The Miracle Worker
- Broadway grosses
This just makes me really happy.