Last night the cast and creative team of the upcoming Bat Out of Hell the Musical officially launched the show outside the London Coliseum. Taking over the whole of St Martin's Lane outside the historic London venue, a truck decked out with a full rock band welcomed Meat Loaf to the stage to introduced the cast of the musical.
Dozens of motorbikes lined the streets, revving their engines in chorus to officially welcome the show to London's West End. The musical, which has been almost 50 years in the making, will finally open in London in June 2017, following a world premiere in Manchester earlier in the year.
Michael Cohl, one of the producers of the show spoke to the assembled crowd, thanking them for coming to the launch, firstly on behalf of Jim Steinman who has said he looks forward to seeing everyone in June at the opening of the show. He went on to explain about how the project came about, and Steinman's original intention to create a brand new show.
“Jim came to me a while back and said he had been working on this as a musical for 40 years, it was intended to be a musical. He asked would you please help me see if we can get that done. I was overwhelmed when he told me the story and I said I would do my best. My first job was to create a team of managers, producers, directors, creatives and I needed to find a set of individuals who believed in it the way we did who could measure up to Jim's book and Jim and Meat's songs. It's taken about five years and finally I can tell you we put together a team of people who have BAFTA, Academy Award nominations, Tony Awards and Olivier Awards most of all – we've put together a team that can measure up to the challenge of the project.”
The team for the show includes direction by Jay Scheib, choreography by Emma Portner, with musical arrangements and supervision by Michael Reed. Set design for the production is by Jon Bausor with costume design by Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestrations by Steve Sidwell, and musical direction by Robert Emery.
Speaking about the physical look of the show, Cohl commented that Bat Out Of Hell looks set to be a highly unique new musical.
“We've designed a stage that's somewhere between Blade Runner 2017, Wagner and a post apocalyptic world. I think that what we're about to launch here is the next great British musical to originate in London following in the footsteps ofMamma Mia! and We Will Rock You.”
It's home at the English Opera House's London Coliseum was also commented on as Cohl thanked Cressida Pollock, the ENO's Chief Executive Officer:
“As all of your know there was a time and it's been a long time, that something like this would never be allowed in the Coliseum, so here we are, ready to break into those hallowed grounds.”
Welcoming Meat Loaf to the stage the rocker greeted the crowd and reiterated the message that Bat Out of Hell has been a long labour of love for its core creative team:
“This has been Jim Steinman's dream for 50 years, and for my friend of 42 years and somebody who I love dearly to see his dream finally come true is remarkable. Thank you for making Bat out of Hell what it was – without England it wouldn't exist.”
As the cast assembled to perform a selection of numbers from the show Meat Loaf was asked to give his advice to the ensemble who will be performing hit songs such as You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth", "Bat Out Of Hell", "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)" and "Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad".
“My advice to the cast is this, make every character belong to you” he commented. “Make it your own. When you make it your own you can go out to the audience and the audience will make it theirs, if you make it your own. Thank you for all the years – god bless you and keep rocking!”
Bat Out of Hell the Musical opens at the London Coliseum on 20 June 2017, following previews from 5 June, for a limited season until 22 July 2017.
This article appeared on LondonTheatre.co.uk on 11/4/2016 and was written by Dom O'Hanlon