Dark Knight of the Soul

15 July 2008 (Press The Action Button)
28 April 2010 (Press The Action Button)
15 January 2011 (Press The Action Button)

15 July 2008
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An Interview with the Dark Knight of the Soul Webmaster

(ED. Using the initials AVD)

Since his creation, Batman has appeared in many mediums. Books, television, radio, film, just about every entertainment form has featured The Dark Knight. And while many fans might not know it, Batman was even geared up to be in a musical production.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing a man who knows much about the Batman Musical project. He is in fact the Webmaster of a site dedicated to the project and it is at his site that I learned most of what I now know about the project. He goes by the name AVD and his site is Dark Knight of The Soul.

The interview was conducted via e-mail with me sending him the questions and him sending back his answers. I hope you enjoy, as do I, his insights into Batman The Musical:

Waufreak89: When did you first learn about Batman The Musical?

AVD: I've been a fan of "Batman" and "Bat out of Hell" since as long as I remember. I heard about the project in 1999 when it was announced. I was thrilled, I thought it was the most amazingly unlikely idea and, done right, would surpass "The Phantom of the Opera". Don't you think "Batman" would make the ultimate gothic musical?

Waufreak89: When did you decide to start Dark Knight Of The Soul?

AVD: I always supported the idea of a "Batman" musical because the Burton movies sang to me. For example, I think "Batman Returns" would make a brilliant opera. Then I was passed a recording of a Jim Steinman concert in New York called "Over the Top". The encore was the world premiere of Batman and Catwoman's love duet "Not Allowed to Love". It was the most beautiful song I ever heard and I'm a big fan of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim etc. The website was born. Jim released the demos and the rest is history.

Waufreak89: From information I gathered on your site, it seems Batman The Musical would have taken many liberties with the mainstream Batman cannon. Do you think purist fans would have been upset by the fact Joker killed Bruce Wayne's parents and a young Selina Kyle just happened to witness it all?

AVD: It's all in the telling. The purist fans loved "Batman Begins" and, last night, I saw the premiere of "The Dark Knight". There were just as many changes, to me, that were in Burton's films and the musical. It really doesn't matter as long as you tell a story well.

Waufreak89: Jim Steinman's songs for the musical are absolutely fantastic. What are your overall feelings of Jim's music?

AVD: "Batman" and Jim's music are very special to me. I think I have a biased opinion in that regard (!) I was blown away by the music. I thought it was the closest you get to heaven but I wasn't sure if they were moving the narrative or operating as character studies. Jim is one of the greatest songwriters ALIVE but he needed a visionary like Burton to collaborate with.

Waufreak89: Do you think Jim managed to accurately capture the essence of Batman in the songs?

AVD: The Gotham citizens are the most frightened and frightening ensemble I've heard since "Sweeney Todd". Batman, The Joker and Catwoman are all precisely done, just as I imagined. It's true to the Burton films and the original emotion from the 1930s. That's what I wanted.

Waufreak89: In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King is my personal favorite of the songs; do you have a favorite of the bunch?

AVD: They're all special to me. If I had to choose, it would be "Gotham City" which could start global-freezing!

Waufreak89: Under the tribute section of your website you have an phenomenal fan-made song entitled I'll Decorate The City In Ribbons Of Blood. What did you first think when you listened to that stunning song?

AVD: David (Scaramouch) is a genius and a true Steinman fan. We both contributed to the Steinman tribute album and the first song I heard (of his) was "More Nocturnal Pleasures". It was the most amazing song. I always knew he was developing this, which is based on an unproduced Steinman song, but I was stunned. The first image I had was Heath Ledger as The Joker. I could see him, or someone like him, performing it and, of course, I've played it ever since. Non-stop. He's a fantastic musician who loves Queen (I love Queen and "A Night at the Opera") and Steinman and I'm cheering for his success.

Waufreak89: Do you think there is still any hope that Batman The Musical will ever be produced?

AVD: Actually, I was told the other day that plans for The Musical stemmed back to the 70s (no Steinman involvement.) The Broadway musical "Grand Hotel" was in development for 30 years and Jim has been working on a rock version of "Neverland" for 40 years. Never say never. I still believe that Burton isn't done with the franchise and Steinman and Elfman are the only people, I think, who could write it. The reason the website stands is because Warner Bros. should reconsider the project. I think it would have one of the biggest advances in Broadway history. The movies broke records at the box office and it's a wonderful tale on the lines of "Sweeney Todd" and "The Phantom of the Opera".

Posted by Waufreak89

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28 April 2010
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Dark Knight of the Soul Interview Part 2

(ED. Using the initials AVD)

So a Batman live show is in development. The news broke a few days ago and upon hearing it I was immediately reminded of the never produced Tim Burton Batman Musical.

Back in July I posted an interview (Ed. Link @ Original Link) with the Dark Knight of Soul webmaster AVD. The website explores The Batman Musical which was scheduled to be produced back in the 1990s. If you've never checked the site out then I encourage you to swing on over. You will surely enjoy reading about this unique chapter in Batman's history.

Today I present a follow-up interview in which AVD discusses the impending Batman live show.


Waufreak89: The live show is not set to a musical but rather an "elaborate arena production". Do feel this is good route, or do you think a musical would have been more appropriate?

AVD: I think a serious legitimate musical would have been a lot more interesting. I think it could have been something like "Sweeney Todd" or "The Phantom of the Opera" and not just some spectacle or whatever they're producing now. You think about it. You've got the Batman name, Jim Steinman who's sold over a combined 100 million records, then maybe a hot name for the Joker and some unknowns playing Batman and Catwoman. It was genius. The films did great business. Imagine if that audience came to New York to see the show.

I don't know about you but this new development doesn't sound anywhere near as exciting to me.

Waufreak89: The recent Batman films have been dark in tone, where as the live show is targeted at kids and family. Do you find this kid-friendly approach refreshing or do you think they should gone darker instead?

AVD: It depends what their market is. If they wanted to treat it as a serious story, and not just something like "Batman & Robin" which, by the way, was something I thought we'd moved away from, I think they should make it dark, gothic, romantic, brooding, all of that. It always seems to do the Batman character the most justice.

Waufreak89: Alan Burnett and Stan Berkowitz are working on the script. Do you think they will succeed in taking their inspiring work in animation and transposing it into the vastly different medium of live performance?

AVD: That's an interesting question, because I thought Disney succeeded in doing just that with "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King", but then we got "Tarzan" and "The Little Mermaid". So there's always that risk. Ultimately, I think, if it's going to be just a little touring show like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" back in the 90s, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Waufreak89: The show is said to feature multiple villains. Are there any villains you would especially like to see?

AVD: Joker, Catwoman and Two-Face are my favourite characters, but I would actually like to see Ra's Al Ghul, Bane or even the Mad Hatter.

Waufreak89: Lastly, do you think there is a chance we will ever see a Burton Batman Musical? Or has time and interest just slipped on by?

AVD: It's not impossible. A lot of people thought Andrew Lloyd Webber wouldn't go through with the "Phantom" sequel. But if they were to do it, I hope they wouldn't go the same route as "Spider-Man". I've now heard the budget for that show has bloomed to around US $52 million which, if you ask me, is preposterous. They'll need to sell out every night for the next 5 years just to make back their investment. I think "Batman" could be a lot cheaper and more experimental, like an opera almost. "Batman Returns" is still a beautiful film to look at and it's not exactly traditional Batman imagery.

Posted by Waufreak89

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15 January 2011
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Dark Knight of the Soul Interview Part 3

A quick glance at this page's last 10 posts will show a fair degree of coverage for Spider-Man the Musical. I guess it's safe to say that we are a bit obsessed with the show. And while I can write all day about the production, the simple fact is I have very little background in musical theater. But thankfully, I have a friend who knows quite a bit about live theater, especially in regards to super heroes.

That man goes by the name Ryan L and he runs a website called Dark Knight of the Soul. The site chronicles the Batman musical that was to be produced back in the 1990s. I urge you to check out his site; as it is the definite source for information on this lost chapter of Batman's history. I have previously interviewed Ryan twice on this website. I recently contacted him for interview number three, in which he gives his thoughts about Spider-Man The Musical.

Waufreak89: Recently the show has been delayed for a fifth time. What effect do the numerous delays have on public opinion of the show?

Ryan: There has been no other musical like "Spider-Man". If it succeeds, it will be a triumph. It will really be a triumph. If it fails, well, you can probably forget about "Carrie" and "Dance of the Vampires" and all of the others. "Spider-Man" will be the greatest flop in the history of musical theatre. So, of course, it's enormously risky. Maybe we have to be more patient...

Waufreak89: The several injuries suffered by actors have been well documented. Do you feel it is irresponsible to keeping a run a show that clearly has safety issues?

Ryan: I would if that was the case. But I have now heard that the show is safe, otherwise there wouldn't have been any further performances.

Waufreak89: Do you feel Spider-Man the Musical can ever make it's money back on ticket sales alone? If not, do you think they can recoup through other means such as merchandising?

Ryan: Well, I heard that it would take five years of sold out performances to recoup. And that was when the budget was $45 million. I have no idea what they could do. I don't think mounting other productions would help either. It would make it even more difficult. The album might help though. Might...

Waufreak89: What do you think of the character of Swiss Miss? Do you feel it was wise for the show producers to invent a new villain when Spider-Man has such a massive rogues gallery to pull from?

Ryan: I don't know if it was wise or not. We'll see in about a year's time. But I wouldn't have invented a new character, no. I would have used a famous character and done something new with it.

Waufreak89: Do you feel the negative press surrounding the musical hurts chances of other super hero musicals being produced in the future?

Ryan: Oh, absolutely! When "Dracula" opened in 2004, the critics were comparing it to "Dance of the Vampires". And it was the same with "Lestat". There were a lot of comparisons being made. And because of those three productions, I don't think we'll ever see a vampire-related musical on Broadway for at least ten years. If "Spider-Man" fails, and "Superman", if that ever transfers, you can probably forget about "Batman" completely.

Posted by Waufreak89

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