Dee Snider on Broadway Album: 'Career Suicide or Brilliance'
Dee Snider recently unveiled the first video from "Dee Does Broadway," his album of show tunes, which Razor & Tie released on May 8. The video is for "Mack the Knife," the English language translation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Moritat" from "The Threepenny Opera," and it fits perfectly with Snider's vision in creating the album.
"When I had the idea I approached [producer] Bob Kulick," Snider tells Billboard.com. "I knew he knew how to get these things done. I chased him down and said here are the parameters: They can't be rock songs - no 'Jesus Christ Superstar' or 'Hair', they've got to be legitimate show tunes and we're not just going to turn it up -- we have to make them rock."
Snider, classically trained as a countertenor, started tackling songs from "Cabaret," "Sweeney Todd," "Guys and Dolls" and "West Side Story" and soon he had an impressive list of duet partners that included pop and Broadway singers.
"I wanted to do 'Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)' and we thought of Bebe Neuwirth. I thought it was awesome casting and when we recorded I was amazed at how great she was. She says 'you know I played this on Broadway' and I didn't know that when we asked her," Snider relates.
"I knew Cyndi (Lauper) and thought she would be great on 'Big Spender.' Another friend of a friend was Patti LuPone and as all of these people said yes, I'm going 'what kind of a parallel universe is this?'"
LuPone joined Snider on the "West Side Story" medley of "Tonight" and "Somewhere," Clay Aiken came in for "Luck Be a Lady Tonight," and four men who know how to rock a feathered boa - Snider and the "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" trio of Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams - dress up "There is Nothin' Like a Dame."
"This is going to be one of those polarizing things -- career suicide or else brilliance," he says. "And I'll be accused of selling out. But c'mon -- a country album would be selling out. This is show tunes."