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Bat Out of Hell  


Bat Out of Hell


               by Arney Rosenblat


In Bat Out of Hell - The Musical which is rocking New York City Center you'll find vibrant music that will arouse your spirit, visuals that will dazzle your eyes and a story that will dumbfound your brain but for an overall fun time-- two out of three ain't bad!


Bat Out of Hell - The Musical is a mash-up of Romeo and Juliet, Peter Pan and perhaps The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It is the over-the-top personal vision of Jim Steinman , who is credited with the book, music and lyrics, which he started tinkering with decades ago while still in college and it is crammed with some 20 plus songs he wrote, the majority of which are from the  Meat Loaf trilogy of Bat Out of Hell albums that initially debuted in 1977.  The musical adaptation arrives in New York after successful  runs in Manchester, London and Toronto..


The story, such as it is, unfolds in a dystopian version of Manhattan named Obsidian in the year 2030,a fact reinforced by The Obsidian Times newspaper issue 666 "celebrating a decade of Bat Out of Hell" which reflects that date and is distributed to the audience as the show's program. (Post apocalyptic settings are unfortunately de rigueur these days) 



Bradley Dean and Lena Hall 


  Ruling this cheerless metropolis from his tower where closets his disillusioned alcoholic wife Sloane (Lena Hall) and innocent eighteen year old daughter Raven (Christina Bennington) is a dictator named Falco. (Bradley Dean) 



Challenging his authority and generally annoying him are a covey of rebels known as "The Lost," who because of the after effects of a chemical disaster have had their DNA frozen in time at the age of 18.  The leader of this band is Strat (Andrew Polec), a frequently shirtless,,motorcycle riding wild-haired dynamo. 


 No surprise, the sheltered Raven takes a shine to Strat when she sees him from a far and he obligingly steals this Rapunzel from her tower courting her with sweet nothings such as "On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?"  [The opening line from the song "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)"]  Needless to say, by the finale, she finally says "yes."


The production as directed by Jay Scheib is a whir of flashing lights, confetti bombs and smoke machines; throbbing music (effectively provided by music director Ryan Cantwell); energetic dancing (choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart);and live cameras filming (video design by Finn Ross) the actors with the visuals projected on to screens situated along the creative multi-level set (the handiwork of Jon Bausor)


What makes the nearly three hour show fun and engaging are the shower of rock anthem and pop icon songs like "I'd Do Anything for Love," "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) and, of course, "Bat Out of Hell,"that leap into the audience, each delivered with spirited vitality and top notch skill by a generally outstanding cast   Leading this band of notables are Bradley Dean (Dear Evan Hansen, A Little Night Music, Spamalot) and Lena Hall (Tony award winner for Hedwig and the Angry Inch).  Their renditions of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," What Part of My Body Hurts the Most," "Who Needs the Young," and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" are worth the trip to New York City Center alone.  The same can be said for Danielle Steers in her role as Zahara, whose counter-gender rendition of "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," a beautiful duet shared with the talented Tyrick Wiltez Jones,  brings down the house.  Jessica Jaunich as Valkyrie in the Ensemble is also a real stand-out, particularly in the song "Objects in The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are."  Polec and Bennington who established the roles of Strat and Raven in the original production, though perfectly fine performers seem to lack much chemistry together.


Although the Steinman songs could have been dropped in anywhere within this loosely scripted jukebox musical, he chose "I'll Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) as the finale to send his enthused audience back into the night. carrying with them his and his character's mantra, "If you don't go over the top, how are you going to see what's on the other side?"  


Jim Steinman's 1977 Meat Loaf album "Bat Out of Hell  sold more than 43 million albums worldwide and his 1993 follow up albums ""Bat Out of Hell II and "Back Into Hell" went platinum five and six times in the UK and US. Therefore, if you need a show with rousing rock music, want an overwhelming visual experience and don't mind a story that won't challenge a live brain cell then Bat Out of Hell- The Musical is for you


Bat Out of Hell - the Musical

Running time - 2 hours 40 minutes

New York City Center

131 West 55th Street


Closing date: September 8, 2019