Dark Knight of the Soul
19 July 2006 (Nadalander Blogspot)
21 December 2006 (Comic Book Resources)
21 August 2007 (Kung Fu Rodeo)
22 August 2007 (Film Junk)
22 August 2007 (Obsessed With Film)
25 October 2008 (io9)
28 January 2010 (Comics Alliance)
30 May 2011 (Houston Press)
3 April 2013 (Panels On Pages)
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 Song", here. (Ed. Link @ Original Link)
Posted by Robert J. Lewis
21 December 2006
Comic Book Resources
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Jim Steinman is attempting to make a Batman musical.
You may not know who Jim Steinman is just by hearing his name, but you probably have heard his work before.
Steinman is the brains behind the massively successful album, Bat out of Hell, with singer Meat Loaf.
He also wrote hit songs for Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse of the Heart") and Celine Dion ("It's All Coming Back to me Now").
However, what Steinman has been trying to get off the ground for years now, is a musical based on, of all things, Batman!
He sure loves his bats, huh?
Interestingly enough, the musical came VERY close to being done a little while ago, and Steinman has already written the songs for the show (with writer David Ives writing the book).
The website Dark Knight Of The Soul catalogues the developments of the musical...
Dark Knight Of The Soul also helps us by linking to all the songs that Steinman wrote for the musical (two of which, "In the Land of the Pig the Butcher is King" and "Cry to Heaven," were included on Meat Loaf's latest album), with lyrics and links to Steinman's released versions of the songs. Here are the links.
As a fan of Steinman's work, I hope this gets worked out. Imagine a Batman musical!!
Posted by Brian Cronin,
Comic Book Legends Revealed
22 August 2007
Kung Fu Rodeo
Batman: The Musical Online!
It's not the entire play, but there's an interesting website here that details the story of Batman: The Musical circa 1998. The site runs down the production facts, the bios for the creators involved, a full-blown FAQ page and, best of all, downloadable MP3 files of demo songs that were written for the thing. If overblown, Broadway-sounding, 9-minute long songs from The Joker, Catwoman and Bruce Wayne are your thing, then this is most definitely the site for you.
Posted by Stephen Gerding
22 August 2007
Behold The Ill-fated Batman: The Musical
Over the years we've seen a lot of silly stage musicals based on unlikely feature films; everything from Star Wars to David Cronenberg's The Fly. But did you know that for almost a decade now, Warner Bros. Theater Ventures have been trying to bring a musical based on Tim Burton's Batman to Broadway? No joke! The project was first announced back in 1998, with playwright David Ives set to write, and Jim Steinman hired to compose the music (ironically, he is the same guy behind Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album). Tim Burton was even in talks to direct at one point. Alas, Batman: The Musical never materialized, but you can still check out the remnants of what might have been over at Dark Knight of the Soul - The Unofficial Memorial to Batman: The Musical. The website collects articles about the project that appeared in the press, and it even has lyrics and demo MP3s of some of the songs!!! Just check out this sample from "The Joker's Song (Wonderful Toys)":
Where does Chicago get all that meat?
How does Venezuela get all their heat?
And where does Adidas find all their feet?
You'd like to know the answers now wouldn't you boys?
Well, tell me, where does he get all those wonderful toys?
Maybe if enough fans speak up we can get Heath Ledger to do a rendition of this tune in The Dark Knight?
Posted by Sean,
Source Kung Fu Rodeo
22 August 2007
Obsessed With Film
The Batman Musical That Never Was
There's been talk regarding a potential Batman musical for many years, but I never realised how close it got to becoming reality until I read Film Junk's story on it today. Playwright David Ives was working on the script, Jim Steinman was composing, and Tim Burton himself was all in line to direct. I've never been into musicals, people spontaneously bursting into song either on stage or screen always seems a little baffling... so Batman going all razzle dazzle probably wouldn't have been to my tastes.
Nevertheless, there's an online "memorial" site for this incarnation of Batman, which contains lyrics, articles on the project's development and even some song demos on MP3. Here's a sample of what to expect lyrics wise courtesy of the Film Junk guys:
"Where does Chicago get all that meat?
How does Venezuela get all their heat?
And where does Adidas find all their feet?
You'd like to know the answers now wouldn't you boys?
Well, tell me, where does he get all those wonderful toys?"
Whether or not you're into musicals, this site is a must read/listen for all Batman completists. The musical is definitely derived from Tim Burton's two Batfilms and you have to wonder, could Batman Begins have killed this project? Previously Burton was responsible for the definitive live-action take on the character, with Begins being pretty successful, perhaps that made the idea of a Burton inspired musical a little harder for the Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures company to sell.
Posted by Will Reynolds
25 October 2008
Batman On Broadway: The Musical You'll Never See
We told you earlier this week about Darq Knight, a show that unofficially takes The Dark Knight and gives it the Rogers and Hammerstein treatment, but that's not Batman's first brush with musical theater... nor his most terrifying. Because, ten years ago this year, the Dark Knight was saved from a fate worse than even Joel Schumacher: A Broadway musical written by Bat Out Of Hell writer Jim Steinman and directed by Tim Burton. Yes, we have excerpts of the songs.
The musical was announced in December 1998, with Warner Bros. aiming to use their successful publishing/animation/movie franchise to conquer yet another medium. Melodramatic musician Steinman was to co-write the songs (alongside David Ives, who'd write the script), and buzz continued about the project's potential for the next six months or so, before things went very quiet. It wasn't that work wasn't continuing on the project - by this point officially called Batman: The Musical - just that it wasn't the top of anyone's list of priorities; Steinman, at this point busy on other rock operas (Garbo - The Musical, anyone?) would occasionally give interviews or quotes about the project's slow progress, but it was to all intents and purposes dead until 2002 saw Tim Burton being announced as being moments away from signing on as director... Something that he now vehemently denies ("I thought: 'Oh no - Batman On Ice!' he's told numerous reporters about his feelings on the subject). Nonetheless, the project was suddenly back on everyone's minds, and aimed for a 2004 preview. Until a little something called Batman Begins came along, and took the franchise in another, more serious direction (To be fair, the critical and financial failures of Steinman's other musicals probably helped in the decision to bury the idea).
So, what were we robbed of? Thanks to the internet, you don't really have to wonder - As well as recycling some of the songs from the musical for a third Bat Out Of Hell, Steinman leaked the demos for some of the music online, and the YouTube faithful did the rest (Ed. Link @ Original Link)
Steinman had described his vision of the project as being similar to Burton's movies - dark, gothic and moody. Apparently, he forgot to think about that while writing the music, preferring to opt for his usual "overblown and melodramatic" form, instead. And yet, it's hard to deny the fact that just a little bit of Steinman might have made The Dark Knight that little bit zippier, especially with lyrics like the following, from the "touching" "We're Still The Children We Once Were":
Where's Mommy? Daddy?
Where'd they go?
They've left us here alone
And with all the arts we've mastered
And all the things we've known
Who's going to take us home?
Admit it; you'd have loved to have seen Christian Bale growling his way through that, while Michael Caine looked embarrassed standing behind him.
The idea of superheroes in musicals is an ill-advised one that keeps coming up, whether it's the never-produced Captain America musical from the 1980s or the current money pit that is Julie Taymor's Spider-Man, but the relatively low key, powerless Batman is one of the few that could probably be pulled off onstage. While Batman's movie star may be high in the sky right now, all it takes is Chris Nolan refusing to do a Dark Knight sequel and the Taymor Spider-Man to become a hit, and this seemingly dead project could be born again. All we're hoping is that Steinman's score gets replaced. I mean, if Spider-Man gets U2, then surely a Batman musical could get REM or some other late '89s/early '90s icons, right...? Just, please: No Sting.
(You can read more about the musical at The Dark Knight Of The Soul, a site devoted to what thankfully never was, including all of the Steinman demos.)
Posted by Graeme McMillan
28 January 2010
Bat Stuck In Hell: Songs From the Lost Batman Musical
As the Spider-Man's big musical debut, "Spider-Man: Turn Out the Dark," continues its uncertain march to a possible Broadway premiere, our spider-sense is warning us of a possible huge spider-flop. It sounds ridiculous from the start: A Spider-Man musical written by U2's Bono, directed by the Julie Taymor (who directed the Broadway version of "The Lion King"), with Alan Cumming as The Green Goblin and an all-new villain called "The Swiss Miss." It sounds like a bad Simpsons parody.
It might just be that all Superhero musicals are doomed to failure...after all, the uber campy "It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman," crashed and burned after less than six months on Broadway back in 1966. The 1980's "Captain America" musical, while heavily promoted in Marvel comics, never even made it anywhere near the stage.
Another super-musical that never got staged might just have been the best one ever..."Batman: The Musical," a rock opera featuring songs by longtime Meat Loaf songwriter Jim Steinman and scriptwriter David Ive, and possibly going to be directed by Tim Burton -- more on that bit later.
Why do a musical about Batman? Well, you can't argue that there's isn't something suitably operatic about Batman's origins and method. After all, Phantom of the Opera definitely proved that caped singers can bring in tons of both awards and cash. Spurred on by that and the success of the Broadway adaptations of "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast," Warner Brothers started a division to develop new Broadway musicals based on their properties, starting with Batman. Warner Brothers apparently first approached screenwriter Larry Gelbart (best known for creating the TV version of "M*A*S*H*") to write the musical, but he turned it down.
They next hired Jim Steinman to write the songs, who is best known for writing the Meat Loaf albums "Bat Out of Hell," "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell," as well as Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Air Supply's "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All. For the book, they got playwright David Ives, who had done musical adaptations of "The Secret Garden" and David Copperfield's magic show "Dreams and Nightmares."
There are conflicting reports on whether Tim Burton was going to direct the show; several newsources back in 2002 reported that Steinman had said Burton was had signed on to direct, but Burton was quoted in 2008 as saying that when they asked him to direct it, he thought "'Oh no -- Batman On Ice!'" which isn't the most enthusiastic response.
What was the plot going to be? The show's book has never been released and all we have are demo versions of some of the songs and this quick summary from Jim Steinman's blog:
In CATWOMAN: Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman secretly, was a WITNESS to the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. A street urchin who happened to see it all, hidden away. The brutal murders haunt both Bruce and Selena. But both respond totally different to their traumatic bruising. Bruce learns to vow REVENGE and becomes the avenging knight, BATMAN. But Selena is mostly mentally scarred by realizing how easily things that are precious can be taken from you. (Mrs. Wayne's pearl necklace is ripped from her throat.) So Selena grows up, CRAVING precious jewels, & obsessed with HOLDING ONTO THEM! (She never wears them outside, shes a plain mousy woman, but she hoards them in chests.) Only when she transforms into CATWOMAN are her love of danger & lust for precious jewels & "crime" what dominates her. Its the secret total possession of them that drives her, not the public display.
So both "witnesses" to the crime of the Wayne's horrific murder by Joker has mutated two little "observers": Bruce became Batman, Selena became CATWOMAN. Two little "lost" children have mutated thru their own complex reactions to a numbing loss, and in fact fall in love, with a dark, somewhat "kinky" S&M like undertow. This is new to the Batman world.
Catwoman sings her song alone in a jewelry store, an orgiastic revel in the glinting glittering jewels, piled up around her. She smashes glass cases and dances as erotically as Salome with the severed head of John the Baptist. I think you'll recognize my best use of the "chorus" here: "I NEED ALL THE LOVE I CAN GET AND I NEED ALL THE LOVE THAT I CAN'T GET TO(O)"
Then, at the end of BATMAN, under the fiery ruins of an elevated train & track, fighting ferociously with Joker, Catwoman & Batman unite. And in the battle, Catwoman is mortally wounded, "saving" Batman's life heroically. In a climactic elegiac song, BATMAN, holding the dying Catwoman in his arms, sings "We're Still The Children We Once Were", along with the expiring Catwoman, AND with THEMSELVES as the little kids who saw the murder. It forms a hopefully thrilling, tragic quartet: Bruce as an orphan, Selena as a terrified urchin, BATMAN, as a heartshattered avenger, and CATWOMAN as a dying doomed hero. A spine tingling quartet. Batmans final act of gruesome revenge still awaits. But this is the operatic finale..."
Now, that doesn't reveal the Joker story, and we don't get much from the only other source of information--demo versions of six of the songs Steinman wrote, which he has hosted on his website. (Apart from one, which is hosted on the amazing Dark Knight of the Soul fansite.)
They are (click through for audio) (Ed. Links @ Original Link)
-- Angels Arise/The Graveyard Shift: What's presumably the opening song features a chorus of Gotham City citizens singing about the darkness of their city, which turns into Batman singing "The Graveyard Shift" from a rooftop as the musical's characters (including Joker and Catwoman) pass beneath him. This song was later adapted for the musical Dance of the Vampires.
-- In the Land of The Pig, The Butcher Is King: An operatic ballad sung by corrupt Gotham politicians. Steinman adapted the title from the phrase "In the land of the cock, the cock sucker is king."
-- Catwoman's Song (I Need All The Love I Can Get): A hard-rocking solo by Catwoman (natch!) about how she has to grab everything she can before her nine lives are up.
-- Not Allowed To Love: A love ballad between Batman and Catwoman.
-- Wonderful Toys: This over-the-top (OK, goofy) high tempo rock song featured the Joker singing about Batman's gadgets. It's sung by Steinman, who apparently entirely improvised the ending.
-- We're Still The Children We Once Were: A plaintive duet sung by Batman and a dying Catwoman.
So what happened to it? An official reason for its cancellation was never given, but many point to the failure of Steinman's musical "Dance Of The Vampires," an adaptation of Roman Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers" which was popular in Germany, but closed on Broadway after only 56 performances. (Incidentally, David Ives adapted and rewrote the script from the original German.)
After that, the show faded into obscurity, although parts of it surfaced in other projects. Meat Loaf released a version "In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King" on his album "Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose" (although, as Steinman points out on his blog, Meat Loaf repeatedly kept mistakenly singing the "Land Of The Pigs" on the track). On the same album is "Cry To Heaven," which features part of "Angels Arise." The band Dream Engine (created by Jim Steinman and Steven Rinkoff) has covered "Angels Arise" and "We're Still The Children We Once Were" in live performances, but haven't released a CD yet (you can hear samples on their Myspace page.) And reportedly, some of the songs may be reused in an upcoming "Bat Out Of Hell" musical, so at least one Bat might make it to the stage.
Oh, and if you're still having trouble visualizing the show, well here's a fan-made trailer for it combining footage from the Burton flicks with the demos (Ed. Video @ Original Link)
And for more info, check out the aforementioned Ryan Letizia's amazing Dark Knight of the Soul website.
- Jon Gutierrez
30 May 2011
Four Comic Books That Would Make Better Musicals Than Spider-Man
BATMAN: This is the easiest of all because it's already been very, very close to actually happening. Jim Steinman of Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler fame was commissioned as far back as the last century to write a Batman musical. We waited patiently for years and years - well aware of the fact that Steinman is not a fast composer - and finally gave up.
Then we heard this...
(Ed. Video @ Original Link)
That's "In the Land of the Pigs the Butcher is King" and it's easily the best song on Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell III. We were so impressed with it we did a little research and found out that Steinman wrote the song for the musical as a lament by Lt. Gordon and other Gotham City officials about the rampant crime in Gotham (1).
We were literally this close to getting a killer Batman spectacular based on the Burton vision, with music done by one of the greatest operatic rock composers of all time. It's just criminal that it didn't happen.
More information about the dead project can be found here (Ed. Dark Knight Of The Soul Link)
- Jef With One F
(1) Where does that information come from?
3 April 2013
Panels On Pages
Outside the Longbox: Superheroes on Broadway
Batman: The Musical
Not to be confused with badass arena show Batman Live (that comes next), Batman: The Musical was the 1999-2002 brainchild of Jim Steinman, David Ives, and Tim Burton. After Burton's work on the Batman film franchise, he was attached as director for the Broadway debut, with the show projected to open in 2005. However, after releasing a few demo songs, the show faded away without any further word as to its future.
With the Nolan Batman movies it's even more unlikely that the highly theatrical Batman: The Musical will ever see the stage. However, there is an entire website devoted to the doomed show at (Ed. Dark Knight Of The Soul Link), complete with the demo songs, articles, and more.
- Mary Staggs
News articles and stories are preserved for archival purposes.