19 July 2006

"Help Me Make The Music Of The (Dark) Knight..."

Believe it or not, the concept of "Batman: The Musical" was not a Jonathan Crane-induced hallucination. I'd heard rumour of it over the years, but then again, I also once read that Garth Drabinsky's Livent planned to mount "Raising Arizona" on the Toronto stage.

Jim Steinman--rawwwwk n' roll's would-be Wagner behind the successful Meatloaf collaborations, the "Streets Of Fire" soundtrack, and--kreegah!--latter-day Celine Dion warbling, was to compose the song score, with David Ives writing the book. In 1998, Warners officially announced that none other than Tim Burton would direct the stage incarnation of the franchise he'd successfully (and how!) reinvented for a generation nearly a decade earlier. Unfortunately, Steinman's vampire-themed musical (with former "Phantom" Michael Crawford, perhaps biding his time for "Condorman: The Musical"?) proved to be a flop and the studio's momentum for "Batman" dwindled.

Jim Steinman, however, managed to record what came to be known as "The Batman Demos" at the historic (and now gone) The Hit Factory in New York, with vocals from Rob Evan as Batman, Karine Hannah as Catwoman, Elaine Caswell, and Steinman himself. According to a fan-site, Warner's theatrical wing is considering resurrecting the property (no doubt thanks to the success of "Batman Begins") so who knows? I hear there's a stage free in Toronto, now that "Lord Of The Rings" has folded. Take your time, fellas--remember that "Superman" musical from the mid-70s?

In the meantime, you can listen to Steinman's "The Joker's Song", here.