Friday, October 2, 2009

Internet, Approve This!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the introductory number for the partially developed / never produced Batman: The Musical.

Wait, what’s that, you say? Back up? Glad to.

In 2002, a Batman musical was in development to be produced by Warner Brothers on Broadway. Keep in mind this was during the dark, dark ages of Batman when the last we had seen of the Caped Crusader in any real context was Schumacher’s Batman and Robin in 1998, which, according to many people, never actually happened.

This musical was a collaborative effort by Tim Burton, Jim Steinman, and David Ives. To reiterate:

Tim Burton – the maddeningly inconsistent visionary who can be so right (Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood), and so wrong (Planet of the Apes, Batman Returns) with considerable aplomb.

Jim Steinman – former songwriter / producer for Meatloaf (Bat Out of Hell, and trust me, you can hear it in the song)

David Ives – genius playwright (All in the Timing, Polish Joke)

Interestingly enough, Steinman and Ives were the team that brought the Michael Crawford vehicle Dance of the Vampires to Broadway, which is the modern musical’s equivalent of, well, Batman and Robin.

How David Ives got mixed up in all this bu11sh1t, I’ll never know. Suffice to say, he did.

Anyway, Batman: The Musical languished in development for years, before finally, and thankfully being abandoned. However, Steinman has a website – Dark Knight of the Soul, where you can find five song demos. I’d love to discuss them all with you, but I’ll whet your appetite with this one, and let you visit the site yourself.

Now, onto the song itself:

0:01 – Meatloaf Piano

0:25 – First lyrics are in latin. Classy move. ClASSy

I don’t know what you people think the citizens of Gotham City sound like when they’re singing, but if this isn’t it, then surely there is no God.

1:12 – On a serious note, this Salvation Army woman makes my pants tight.

2:17 – Looks like it’s gonna be a dark one tonight!

Then the Salvation Army Woman and a streetwalker join forces… now I know this is just a demo, so there’s only one voice singing, but still, this streetwalker and Salvation Army woman have disarmingly similar vocabularies. Could they be related in the play? God, I hope so.

3:47 – First appearance of the boy soprano (insert your own Robin joke here).

This goes on for a few more maddening minutes, plus more Meatloaf piano.

6:34 – the piano heralds the arrival of our hero, musical Batman.

7:01 – at long last, we hear the voice of our hero, and sadly, it could very well be Tom Wopat (

The lyrics become so Meatloafian I become convinced that Batman is wearing a billowy white poet’s shirt and he’s carrying a lacy hankie.

7:47 –“I Work The Graveyard Shift” – har har! So do all the unemployable white people who work at gas stations!

8:20 – Someone fails to finish re-writing his lyrics before he shows it to the Batman / musical crowd (a sizeable number, they can almost all fit in my house) for approval.

9:41 – This song is still going.

10:25 – Now, for some reason, the singing stops and the piano just takes off. Could it… could it be that musical Batman is now dancing? One can only hope. If he is, it’s some sort of lusty folk dance better left to a barn full of Irish immigrants.

11:18 – Now, Batman earns the audience’s approval by whining.

12:30 – Someone drugs Batman just as he is finishing the song, and you can hear him collapse on the piano as the song concludes, an inexplicable 12 and a half minutes after it first began.