BWW EXCLUSIVE: Rob Evan Talks Steinman, Wildhorn, TSO & More

Rock tenor Rob Evan is perhaps most famous for his essaying of the dual title roles in Frank Wildhorn's JEKYLL & HYDE ten years ago on Broadway - and playing the leads in the new rock reinterpretation of the score known as JEKYLL & HYDE: RESURRECTION - but since that time he has appeared in entertainment entities as diverse as LES MISERABLES, Disney's TARZAN, Alan Menken & Howard Ashman's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, concert performances of CHESS, THE MUSIC OF Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Dream Engine and, of course, his muse-like work for Paul O'Neill, creator and composer of the international phenomenon known as the Trans Siberian Orchestra, as well as the Lord of Excess himself and a rock god like none other, BAT OUT OF HELL visionary Jim Steinman. There's a lot more to the story of Evan, Steinman and DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES than may seem at first bite. In this exclusive conversation, Evan and I discuss his many stage and concert appearances, as well as his extensive studio work - including BATMAN and many new, unheard compositions - with the resplendent and reclusive rock icon known to friends as just Jimmy. Here's a big bloody bite of my conversation with Rob Evan, who can be seen in a number of upcoming appearances on concert stages across the world, including his upcoming ROCK TENOR series of shows. He's also now newly aligned with Nederlander Worldwide Events as Associate Artistic Director.More information is available at his official site here.

Total Attack of the Heart

PC: Jim Steinman is my favorite songwriter of all time. How did you first get involved with him?

RE: Oh, let's see... (Pause.) I think it was DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES. I was Michael Crawford's standby in that.

PC: Of course.

RE: That's when I first met Jim.

PC: And what happened?

RE: I think Jim May have heard some of my work on Frank Wildhorn's stuff. Obviously, I've been a fan of Jim's for a long time. I mean, I used to use the BAT records to learn how to sing high! (Laughs.)

PC: Meat Loaf could hit those notes! It prepared you well.

RE: I think, even when I was playing Jean Valjean - way too young to be playing it - back in, I think it was, ‘96, ‘97. God, I was in my mid-twenties, I guess - and it's not a young man's part!

PC: Not at all.

RE: I was a big guy so I could pull it off, I guess. But, I could barely grow the beard! (Laughs.)

PC: Did Richard Jay-Alexander direct you?

RE: Richard Jay absolutely gave me that break. Basically, long story short, Richard Jay gave me my first break in show business.

PC: You and everyone else!

RE: (Laughs.) Yeah, he saw me in Nashville at the open call when I was just getting out of college - playing college football for Georgia. So, he saw me there and then they brought me onto the tour as Enjolras. So, that was the early 90s and that my first real big thing. Then, I left the tour after nine months and stopped by the Broadway stage door just to say "hello" and, two weeks later, they put me in the Broadway show.

PC: What a serendipitous story!

RE: Yeah, I just kind of went back and forth between that and JEKYLL, when we were developing that. I was on tour with that on the tour before Broadway, as the standby.

PC: Who was the lead?

RE: Robert Cuccioli. He started in the show in ‘94 - the same time as me. The thing is, they thought I was gonna be a great Jekyll but they thought I was just too young. I mean, Bob is ten years older than me. So, I first understudied it regionally and then did standby on the tour with a couple of guaranteed performances and, then, on Broadway I was the matinee Jekyll and did two-a-week and Bob did six. Then, I took over and did a year and a half as an over-the-title Jekyll and I had my own alternate.

PC: Perfect syllogism. I saw you in that when I was like fourteen. I remember being so disappointed it wasn't the guy from the CD and you ended up being even better!

RE: Oh, that's so nice. Thanks for that.

PC: You just brought a lot more power to the role. That rock edge worked better for me. You really brought it to that part.

RE: Listen, there is no doubt: it's all Richard Jay. It's all because of what he gave me. Richard gave me Valjean right after the JEKYLL tour and told me, "I think you are going to be a great Valjean and I am going to groom you into it." And, then, he gave me the tour after I understudied it on Broadway for like a month and a half. Then, he gave me the tour and I brought it back to Broadway. Literally, while I was playing Jekyll on Broadway I was rehearsing LES MIZ across the street.

PC: Wow. It wasn't overload?

RE: No, because of people who came to the show - like you - and gave me a fan-base. It got to the point that people would come to see me. Absolutely, those two parts back-to-back - together - gave me my big break as a leading man.

PC: That's a way to blaze a trail - those two roles.

RE: Right. Then, right after that, I got involved with Trans Siberian Orchestra. So, in my mind, I always wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to, you know, rock. So, I wanted to push the envelope with that as much as I could. Back in 2001, I knew they were going to do this BEETHOVEN'S LAST NIGHT rock opera thing and they had already recorded the album, but the guy was having problems singing it live, whoever they were trying to cast, so I came in and auditioned for them.

PC: It's a hard part to sing.

RE: It's a hard sing. So, they cast me. This was, literally, 2001 - and we didn't tour it ‘til last year! (Laughs.)

PC: That's a long commitment!

RE: Yeah, it was worth it, though. I mean, after TSO and this off-Broadway show, I heard about DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES - or TANZ, as it was known in Europe.

PC: What did you hear?

RE: Everyone was saying, "This is the show. This is gonna be the big show." It was just the big buzz. So, I had my agent call. Then, when I found out Jim was writing it and Roman had directed it - and, obviously he wouldn't be directing it here - but, I had my agent call and I said, "I really wanna do this show. See if there's anything right for me." So, they called back and said, "Yeah, there's one part right for you - and Michael Crawford's playing it!" So, I was like, "Sh*t!" (Pause.) Then, "All right, I'll move on. That's gone. Maybe at some point he will give it up and I can replace him and go in." So, all of nine months later they called me and said, "Would you consider standing by?" And, I said, "I'm trying to just play leads. I did that." I mean, it's one of those things where if you do it you will be called on all the time to do it and that's like, "Ugh!"

PC: The worst.

RE: Yeah, so they said, "Sit down and listen to the record and then make your decision." So, I sat down with a glass of wine and listened to it. (Long Pause.) I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was there with my wife and we listened to it from cover to cover and afterwards we were like, "This show is the show. This is gonna put our kids through college." So, I called my agent and I was like, "Yeah, I'll do standby for Michael Crawford. Let's get it. I want to play this part at some point." So, we tried to work it all out so I could take over - they were going to do a production in London and one on tour and one in LA - and I was like, "Hell yeah! This is great! I'm gonna play this rock n roll vampire - that's me! I'm gonna kick the sh*t outta this part!" But, of course, this didn't go down exactly like we had hoped... (Laughs.)

PC: What could have been, though.

RE: All I can say, politically, is that it became a very different project that I had started out signing on for. But, because of all that, I got to know Jim.

PC: And that makes it all worth it.

RE: Totally. I mean, at that time, they were also in the works with pushing BATMAN through. I mean, I started wearing my BATMAN T-shirt to work. I loved Batman. He was my hero. Out of all the superheroes when I was growing up, he was the one I could identify with. So, I said to Jim, "I want to sing Batman. I want to be Batman." And, he was like, "Well... OK." So, they had me in the studio over at the Hit Factory. I'll never forget it. It's apartment buildings now, but back in the day it was the best. I mean, people can record records in their closet now so who needs ‘em, right?

PC: I've reviewed a bunch!

RE: Right. (Laughs.) But, back then at the Hit Factory it was this line-up of gold records - THRILLER and all these hundreds of records.

PC: Like church.

RE: Totally! It was like church. But, then, to walk in the studio and work with Jim - it was like, "Whoa, OK."

PC: You're at church and you meet Jesus.

RE: (Laughs.) Yeah, I mean, I'm in the studio with this guy who has sold over fifty million records and I'm recording his newest thing; his newest song - I‘m like, "Sh*t, yeah, that's awesome!"

PC: What was it? "In The Land Of the Pig (The Butcher Is King)"?

RE: Yeah, the first one was "Land of the Pig".

PC: Then what? "We're Still The Children"?

RE: Oh, so, so many. After that, Jim was like, "Let's put Rob on all the songs. Let's push Rob. Let's take the ones that we can push and push Rob with them and try to figure out a way to make him the star of my songs." So, I would go into the studio with Steve Rinkoff and we would do session after session. Then - I mean, Jim lives like a vampire, so you start recording at eleven PM and you come out at three or four. I mean, it's rock n roll.

PC: What songs did you re-record?

RE: God, "Left In The Dark". He let me do a ton of Meat's stuff.

PC: Did you do the Streisand arrangement?

RE: No, it was the one he used on BAD FOR GOOD. I mean, I think that's the one I'm most proud of. Jim even said it was amazing. I did the whole speech - you know, "Where did he touch you and how did it feel?"

PC: The intro and the outro?

RE: I think just the intro.

PC: At Joe's Pub you did both.

RE: Right! You're right! We did do it that way.

PC: What else?

RE: "Rock N Roll Dreams", "It Just Won't Quit". Then, I did one I just loved called "Vaults of Heaven".

PC: From WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND?

RE: No, no, no. (Maniacal Laugh.)

PC: A different one?

RE: This is the Rory Dodd version. It never saw the light of day. This is the original "Vaults of Heaven". This is way before WHISTLE.

PC: Give me one lyric.

RE: It's to the melody of "For Sarah", but it was before "For Sarah". (Sings melody but no complete lyrics.)

PC: The readers are gonna kill me!

RE: (Laughs.) Yeah, it's like "For Sarah" but in a completely different key with a completely different arrangement and a slightly different vocal line.

PC: What do you think of recycling? He also used that melody in a form in "Milady" for THE CONFIDENCE MAN, as Barry Manilow used to perform it.

RE: You know, Jim does that - he recycles some of his melodies and a few snatches of lyrics and, listen, if he wrote it he can steal from himself!

PC: Exactly. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Strouse have done it many times, too. Plus, it all adds to his great gesamtenkurst - all of his songs and work are interrelated.

RE: Right. Also, Jim labors over his songs. He calls them his children for a reason - he labors and labors and labors over them. It doesn't come easy, but when it comes it's just - it's like an opera, each one of his songs. And, I mean, he doesn't pump out a lot, but what he does produce he has labored over so much and they all mean something and always have a little wink to them. He always has a twinkle in his eye when something is done. Completely. For now.

PC: How is your relationship with him these days?

RE: Well, Jim is not quite the same Jim - he had a pretty hard road after VAMPIRES with some health issues - but he's still such a really amazing guy. He's just... really unique. (Laughs.) That's the best way to describe Jim. (Pause.) Jim is just cut from a very special piece of cloth that there was only one piece of. Ever.

PC: Have you hung out with him at this house?

RE: Oh, yeah. I've been to his house.

PC: No way! So, you've seen the SUSPIRIA rooms and everything? He really has that?

RE: Yeah! Yeah! He does. (Pause.) That was an experience I'll never forget - going up to his house with Bonnie Tyler after the show at Joe's Pub. It was a trip. It was all a real trip! (Pause.) I just dig it. I mean, I'm over-the-top, too, in the way I like to perform and the parts that I play. Over the years, I've probably recorded - it must be at least thirty songs. They are all there somewhere.

PC: Where?! In Steve Rinkoff's vault?

RE: Yes! (Laughs.) We developed the whole Dream Engine thing over a long time. First, Steve and I thought of the Over The Top thing, but, then, we thought "We should take this further. Let's make this a vocal group." We labored over titles and then Jim signed-off on us using The Dream Engine. It's all his songs performed as he intended them to be performed and sung as best they possibly can be by a host of artists. We went through so many casting phases... (Sigh.) I don't feel like we abandoned it, but, at the same time, at some point a real opportunity has to present itself for a project like that.

PC: Exactly. What's the next step?

RE: There are projects where you go back after a couple of years and say, "Yeah, this is still relevant and this works." Actually, Steve Rinkoff and I just recently started talking about some stuff - not that we ever stopped talking, but it's a business and I have to feed my family and I'm very involved with Trans Siberian Orchestra. I love Paul O'Neill and where we are headed with that to a rock-Theatre World. That's, again, where I can find my way to walk that line and being able to be really honest. I want to create a genre as much as I can - I mean, Meat did it so totally with Jim on BAT way back then. So, now, I'm on two platinum records because of my work with TSO and I'm taken kind of seriously in the recording industry, but I also have my foot in the Theatre World. I have a real passion for Broadway.

PC: What's coming up onstage?

RE: Frank Wildhorn has written a rock n roll version of the movie EXCALIBUR with me as this rock Arthur with the intention of bringing that goth vibe to Broadway.

PC: Has Jim contributed any lyrics?

RE: Well... (Sigh.) Yes, he has written a few lyrics for a few songs. Listen, wine glasses were clinked once upon a time and Jim gets preoccupied with other things and Frank is still pushing it forward. I'm hoping there is still some Jim involvement but I can't officially say. Frank and the producers and some people are pushing it forward. It's gonna happen, but Frank has WONDERLAND and BONNIE & CLYDE coming to Broadway and I'm actually flying down to Florida to do a concert of some of his songs this week.

PC: I wish you were going to be on the upcoming Frank Wildhorn DVD, but you aren't on it.

RE: Yeah, and the last one was a bit of a debacle. That fell through the day before we were supposed to fly to do it. That was all the producers, nothing on Frank. Frank and I are best of friends. Linda Eder and I just did TEARS OF HEAVEN concept album. Frank and I also did the rock version of RESURRECTION in Korea.

PC: What was that like, that audience with that show?

RE: We were like rock stars. It was hilarious, Pat. Truly. I mean, I'm doing this Hyde-on-acid sort of thing and Alex Skolnik on guitar...

PC: The football player and the guitar player!

RE: With 35 pieces behind us! Those people didn't know what hit ‘em!

PC: What was the reaction like?

RE: Well, afterwards I was like, "Oh, I hope they liked it." So, we went out onstage and bowed and they kept clapping. Then, they didn't stop. We left. We went back out. They still wouldn't stop! Then, one of the producers said, "They are not going to let you leave until you do another song."

PC: No way! What did you do?

RE: Right? We were like, "This is the show! We don't do encores!" So, then, we just did "This Is the Moment" again and they lose their sh*t - lose their sh*t! And, we left and came out again!

PC: What did you sing then?

RE: I was like, "How about 'Hey Jude'?" So, we went out and I said, "Does anybody like The Beatles?" and the crowd went: "Ahhh". (Makes Crowd Noise.) So, by "Na na na" and the brass it was like we had won a battle - they were rushing the stage with their camera phones. We did sixteen performances over there. When I came back, I had this newfound passion, I'm like: this is all I want to do. I want to do over-the-top rock theatrical pieces. So, with Paul O'Neill right now we are doing BEETHOVEN in Europe in March and then the US in, like, June, and then we go back into the studio to do ROMANOV, his new project. Then, he has GUTTER BALLET. Now, Paul O'Neill realizes the Christmas show is this giant monster and, if I know Paul at all I know that someday soon he will buy a theatre and just put on these shows all year round there.

PC: Do you want to bring them to Radio City Music Hall? Or the Garden?

RE: I want to stay involved as much as I can. I loved doing BEETHOVEN. And, with other composers, I want to do any parts that serve me well. I think Arthur will be a great part for me. I think Batman would have been a great part for me. I've been pretty busy with my symphony career and my new project, THE ROCK TENOR - which we did in Philly and we are getting ready to do a New York showcase in February.

PC: What are the hardest songs you've sung? You have such range.

RE: Jim's "Left In The Dark". Paul O'Neill's "This Is Who You Are" is like a three-octave-range! (Big Laugh.) It's funny because I'm like, "I'm gonna only sing songs with the widest possible range I can so it will be hard to find someone to replace me!"

PC: What does Paul think of Jim?

RE: Paul loves Jim. You know, Paul, this really giant successful man, still thanks me for introducing him to Jim Steinman. I mean, he writes these kind of operatic things, too - like Jim. To see the two of them together - these two icons - was just, "Wow!" I just see myself as a guy whose lucky to be on the ride.

PC: How does it feel to be a fan and then the muse itself?

RE: I think it's both a burden and an amazing privilege at the same time. I feel like Bonnie Tyler - I remember when we were rehearsing for the Joe's Pub thing and whenever Jim would come into the room Bonnie would get really nervous. So, I'm like, "Bonnie, you have the 1983 Song of the Year [for "Total Eclipse of the Heart"]. The songs you have sung for him have been such gigantic hits. He makes you that nervous?" And, she said, "Yeah, because I feel like I'm going to let him down!" And, I feel it, too.

PC: Why?

RE: Well, Jim is a perfectionist. He doesn't swoon unless it is worthy of him swooning. I feel that way with Paul O'Neill, too - he has put his soul into these songs. Paul trusted me with that. Jim trusted me with that. On NIGHT CASTLE, Paul said to me, "This whole two-disc record is built around this song and I wrote it for you." I swear to God, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack - I even went to emergency room!

PC: What did the doctor say?

RE: It was just an anxiety attack! I was just so excited. It was like a dream come true.

PC: "Rock N Roll Dreams Come Through", after all. Supposedly, BAT OUT OF HELL is a go and will be happening in the next year or so.

RE: Listen, I still do "Total Eclipse" at every symphony gig I do - the DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES version. I think Jim's music needs to be out there in the world. To do that song with a seventy-piece-orchestra still gives me chill bombs. I'd love to jump back into live gigs of Jim's stuff, though. Really.

PC: Where did the ROCK TENOR thing come from?

RE: After the Dream Engine thing fell apart, we wanted to do an album but with the record companies and the state of the recording industry as it is is so troubled. Even live shows are troubled - I was just at Prince's show last night and they pushed the two nights from the night before and last night into one and it was still only a quarter full. It was a great show, though, and he kicked its ass - and he's in his fifties. His voice was awesome, his guitar was awesome.

PC: He doesn't get enough respect. Some of his concept albums are incredible.

RE: He's totally like Jim like that.

PC: Prince is the Jim Steinman of funk/r&b.

RE: Definitely! So, with this new ROCK TENOR show I am doing I am showing off that part of my voice in addition to all the other stuff. So, I got all my favorite people in town involved - all the A-list music guys. GLEE didn't exist when we started this, but we do all these mash-ups.

PC: Oh, like what?

RE: We do a Handel aria into a fusion of "Open Arms" by Journey ending with "Johanna" from SWEENEY TODD.

PC: Wow! You're really running the gamut.

RE: Yeah, we also do LES MIZ's "Bring Him Home" fused with "Home" by Daughtry. We do "O Fortuna" from CARMEN BURANA with "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. Plus, there's some Jim - there will always be Jim in any of my shows.

PC: What do you do of Jim's?

RE: We do the whole "Paradise" and then do this song by this female Celtic group called "Half Acre" and we fuse that with "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All".

PC: So, you've finally done that song!

RE: Yes, I did! (Laughs.) We tear it up!

PC: Are you involved with BAT OUT OF HELL: THE MUSICAL?

RE: No, I am not involved with that. I hope it all works it out. It's been such a long time coming. I'm just thrilled to hear he is writing. That's what we were concerned about - whether or not he had the ability to do something new. It's been rough recently and he's had a rough life, so I know it was killing him to not even be able to sit at the piano. But, to know he can and he is and he's writing new stuff - that's awesome.

PC: Best Jim story?

RE: Jim would crack me up. He would tell me about trimming his nails so they would bleed when he played and he just thought that was so cool. (Big Laugh.) Gloves of blood.

PC: Gloves of blood. Tell me about the new "Braver Than We Are" and the war version you did, with that "Mama" monologue.

RE: Well, I wanted to be the first guy to do a new Steinman song, even if I didn't really think we should do a political thing. Adrienne Warren, too, was so good on that. You know, I still get so angry thinking about DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES and how everything went down. I mean, "Say A Prayer"?

PC: That was one of the most powerful moments I'd ever seen, as Ethan Mordden also points out in his book - but they cut it in previews and moved the drawbridge moment to after the button.

RE: It was so frustrating. There were so many moments like that. And, I could just sit there offstage and watch. The one time I got to go on, I just had to do what I could.

PC: What was that like? Crawford never misses a performance.

RE: Yeah, they kept that under wraps. We were about to open and we were about to be reviewed. It was so weird. He was sick and I found out at six o' clock that I was going on - and I was in Westchester at the time. The way I looked at it was, "This is the first time. I get to pop the cherry and I'm gonna do it a thousand more times. I just want to get there and do it and get it over with, for the first time." So, I just went into the theatre and focused. Plus, it was not the guy I wanted to play.

PC: The clown - or count?

RE: (Laughs.) Yeah, so I tried to split the difference but I couldn't really do it. You know, (Italian Accent.) "Its-a me!" and all that.

PC: Did you have your own costume? They changed so often and there is no way you two could fit in the same anything!

RE: (Laughs.) You got that right! Yeah, they made me my own costumes. They were great about that. (Pause.) You know, at least I got to do it once. I mean, if I had come out of that process not having been able to do it, I would have been really mad.

PC: And you played Abronsius, too.

RE: Yeah, I did. Rene passed a kidney stone that day so I did the Professor. I only agreed to it to give me something to do, to be honest. I need to constantly feel like I'm creating or acting or performing. It was fun to play, but Krolock was me. But, back to "Always It's the War"...

PC: What was your first impression?

RE: We went through several versions. Jim would just keep pumping out completely different versions and finding which one he liked the best. It was obviously a statement of the time we were in and still are in. You know, "It's always the f*cking war."

PC: Wasn't it intended for a documentary?

RE: Yeah, that was sort of dropped. You know, I was the quarterback of the team but Jim was in control. I know that in the past Jim had had things done not the way he wanted them done by other artists and we just wanted to preserve the vision Jim wanted. The Dream Engine was Jim's baby. Steve Rinkoff and Steve Margoshes were important, as well.

PC: And what about "Only When I Feel"?

RE: I remember going through material with Jim and Steve and asking "What can Rob sing and what hasn't been done and what can we put on the record?" That's constantly what we were trying to do: what is going to be on the Dream Engine record? The WUTHERING HEIGHTS version was the way I came to know it and only the "Break It" part made it into the movie. It was written like I sing it.

PC: Yeah, Meat Loaf just does the "Break It" part, as well.

RE: It was written as the one big song, though.

PC: Interesting. Some fans call it a bit of a Franken-song.

RE: I know what you mean, but that's sort of the point, I think.

PC: My favorite new Steinman song is "What Part of My Body Hurts The Most". Tell me everything about it.

RE: Yeah, man. That was the one. (Pause.) That's the song.

PC: It's the hit.

RE: It's the hit. I remember hearing it in the studio and hearing it for the first time.

PC: Who did the demo?

RE: Kyle Gordon. Kyle can sing - Kyle can sing.

PC: Was it the techno version?

RE: No, piano only. Rinkoff added the chains and clinks and all that later. We have studio versions of a bunch of different versions of that and "Still The Children" and so many others. It's all there. It's all in the can, ready to go.

PC: The holy grail.

RE: The time is right to take another look at what we have. Jim and I are great and Rinkoff and I are planning big things.

PC: The future is what it used to be, after all!

RE: (Laughs.) Yeah, you're really right, Pat. We need to bring Jim back! I just wrote a letter to Jim and said, "Jim, I've been listening to the VAMPIRES stuff again and I want to re-look at that stuff. Enough time has passed. I think we could hit a home run with it now." I want to go into warehouse and do an interactive show with that score and serve up a real biting version.

PC: A bite away from the future. Wi-fi has changed everything.

RE: It's time. The time has come. (Sings.) "The time has come".

PC: What's your favorite Steinman song?

RE: "For Crying Out Loud". I love so many of them, though.

PC: Would you record "Surf's Up"?

RE: Are you kidding me? I love that song. It's so Jim. (Pause.)

PC: A h*rd on and a mandolin chorus on the beach?

RE: (Laughs.) It's so, so Jim.

PC: He writes like a movie director.

RE: Right. They are movies. They are operas. Each song has its own story. I love "Objects" and I love "Confessions", too.

PC: You killed the last verse of "Objects" in the triptych version.

RE: Oh, thanks. I loved that version.

PC: I'm glad they released it on the website. What do you think about Jim releasing demos and all of that?

RE: Jim has to be very careful. And, as a defense of Steven Rinkoff because he gets the short end of the stick from the fans because he won't release stuff: Jim has to protect his stuff. At his level, with songs that have been such gigantic hits, he has to protect the new songs and the hits. You know, if something is released on the internet it is considered an official release and it can be covered by anyone and become the official version of the song. We were worried about this with "Body" and also a version of "Is Nothing Sacred (Anymore)?"

PC: One of my favorite Steinman songs. So killer. Too bad Celine Dion's version was never released.

RE: Right, she recorded the demo of it.

PC: She does a great job.

RE: Yeah, but it got bumped off the album she did, somehow. Then, Russell Watson did a version that Jim was not too fond of.

PC: I loved him in KRISTINA.

RE: He has an incredible voice.

PC: I am obsessed with that score, and I loved you in CHESS.

RE: Yeah! I did that in Nyack with Brian D'Arcy James.

PC: I adored his interpolation of "Hey Jude" at the end of "Pity The Child" there. I guess that song has something theatrical about it!

RE: He's got a killer voice, too. I love CHESS, I loved working with Neil Berg on that show over the years.

PC: Have you heard LOVE NEVER DIES yet?

RE: I love what I have heard. I've been doing "Til I Hear You Sing".

PC: There's a great heavy metal song in that show.

RE: No way!

PC: "The Beauty Underneath" - The Phantom showing his son his contraptions and magic. It's Lloyd Webber's most hard-rock song ever.

RE: Oh, now you have my interest piqued! When Lloyd Webber wrote WHISTLE and "Tire Tracks" he said to Jim, "Oh, I'm just ripping you off, Jim!"

PC: Did Jim actually write any of the melody of "A Kiss Is A Terrible Thing To Waste"?

RE: That's another one where Jim swears Andrew was just ripping him off. (Laughs.)

PC: What is your final impression of DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES?

RE: It was not THE PRODUCERS. It's not camp. It's not tongue-in-cheek - Jim is not tongue-in-cheek. It's like with LITTLE SHOP - the most fun I've ever had. The stakes have to be high for the characters, and in that show they weren't. It wasn't laugh-laugh-laugh.

PC: There were moments of brilliance.

RE: And, those songs. Those songs. Those songs. (Long Pause.) I gotta say, DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES is the highpoint of my career in a lot of ways - but there is so much more there.

PC: What about the concept album? Did you work on that at all?

RE: Yeah, I remember they wanted Steven Tyler and Pink to do "Total Eclipse of the Heart".

PC: How weird. You sing ‘em like they must be sung - Meat can't even do them like you anymore.

RE: Thank you. That's such a big compliment - he's such an idol of mine. It's a privilege, Pat, really.

PC: And ROCK TENOR?

RE: ROCK TENOR in Manhattan in the Summer and ROMANOV with TSO in the Summer, too. Then, EXACALIBUR and my Symphony shows - BRAVO BROADWAY ROCKS, where I do TOMMY and SUPERSTAR.

PC: What do think of SUPERSTAR and TOMMY?

RE: I love them both. I met Margoshes on TOMMY. I love working with him.

PC: This has been great. Thank you so much. This is for the Steinman fans - keep up the faith. Right?

RE: Oh, yeah! (Laughs.) Keep up the faith! Jim would be honored to know he is loved like this. (Pause.) Thank you so much, this was so fantastic. Talk soon, bud.

 


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From This Author Pat Cerasaro

Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)