Sing Me a Story: Five Rockers Whose Work We'd Like To See On Broadway
Rocks Off has had musicals on the brain lately. Between Once, featuring music by The Swell Season, dominating the Tony Awards and Rock of Ages, featuring music by the cream of the '80s hair-metal crop, hitting theaters tomorrow it's been a pretty good week for musicals that aren't cut from the traditional Broadway mold.
Photo by Marc Brubaker An Arcade Fire backdrop for the band's Woodlands show last year
For the average rock fan, these types of musicals have a greater appeal than those normally found on the Great White Way. Hard as it may be for some people to believe, not everyone is into the stylings of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Gilbert and Sullivan.
The merging of songs from a particular band or era with a plot is sometimes referred to as a "jukebox musical," and it's proved to be a pretty successful way to get non-musical-theater types into the building. Beyond Once and Rock of Ages are musicals based on the work of Green Day, Queen and Abba.
Knowing that producers are always looking for the next big thing, Rocks Off has decided to push the process along and give them a shortlist of other artists whose work they can mine for fun and profit.
5. Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie): Why single out one member from a group? Truth is that for a long time I was cold on Death Cab for Cutie. I could understand the appeal of the group but they didn't really do much for me.
Then I happened to catch Gibbard live on his solo acoustic tour and it made me give him a full reevaluation. Stripped down of the excess and taken back to the just acoustic guitar and vocals, it finally clicked in my brain just how talented of a songwriter he really is.
If you use the songs from Plans as a base and picked accompanying songs from the rest of the DCFC collection, you could probably build a pretty solid story around love found and love lost. And if you do go that direction, don't forget about Gibbard's time in The Postal Service; "Nothing Better" is as strong as anything else he's released and "We Will Become Silhouettes" sounds great sung by a crowd.
4. Marilyn Manson: For long time fans who've given up any hope of his novel Holy Wood coming out, a musical might finally be the chance to make sense of the storyline that works through the trilogy of Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, and Holy Wood (In the Shadow Of The Valley of Death).
It would be a controversial story and a difficult sell, but for a director looking to do something avant-garde without all the hassle of writing new material Manson provides a lot of upfront. That's not just the songs either; there are characters, storylines and iconography ready to be molded into a cohesive whole.
Watch a live performance of "Antichrist Superstar" that features the pulpit and the banners and you start to get an idea of what the second half of the show could be like before the big climax. And while we're at it, doesn't "Coma White" seem like a great Act 1 closer?