Just in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Meat Loaf‘s famed 1977 rock opera Bat Out of Hell is being made into a musical scripted by Jim Steinman, the man who wrote all the songs on the best-selling album.
Bat Out of Hell is certified at 14 million sold in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and, since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991, the album has sold another 5.2 million copies.
Sixteen years later, Steinman worked again with Meat Loaf on the follow-up, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which sold 4.8 million copies in the U.S., and then contributed seven songs to the third volume, 2006’s Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, which sold just 327,000 in the U.S.
Steinman will incorporate the songs that helped make the first album such a global phenomenon, including “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” “You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night),” “Bat Out Of Hell,” and “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” plus others such as “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” from Bat Out of Hell II.
Directed by award-winning theater and opera director Jay Scheib (Powder Her Face, World of Wires, Platonov), the storyline for Bat Out of Hell: The Musical is described in the press material as “a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland.”
Previews for the production begin Feb. 17, 2017, at Manchester Opera House in England and will eventually play in Canada. Casting is currently underway in the U.K.
Bat Out of Hell: The Musical marks the first production from a new worldwide partnership between Iconic Entertainment Studios (Spamalot, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Rock of Ages: The Musical) and Canada’s Bell Media, a multimedia corporation with leading assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media.
Produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl for Iconic Entertainment Studios, Randy Lennox for Bell Media and Tony Smith, Bat Out of Hell: The Musical is apparently the place Steinman had always intended for it to be performed. His workshop of a 1974 theater piece laid the foundation for the original album.
“Bell Media has so much to offer to live productions it’s surprising they haven’t been in this area before,” said Cohl, Iconic’s chairman, in a press statement. “I look forward to working with Randy and his great team.”
“Bell Media’s foray into live theatrical production emphasizes our commitment to producing engaging content on diverse platforms,” said Lennox, Bell Media’s president, broadcast and content. “… Bat Out of Hell represents a strategic revenue opportunity for Bell Media, modeling the phenomenal success of other musical adaptations including Mamma Mia! which went on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide and is still running in several major cities more than a decade since its debut.”
Meat Loaf himself is not directly involved in the production, say his U.S. and U.K. publicists, but he has nothing but praise for Steinman’s efforts. “I love Jimmy,” the singer said in a statement provided to Billboard. “He and I have been friends and worked together for over 40 years so it’s incredible for me to see his dream of over 50 years finally come to fruition.”
Meat Loaf’s latest album, Braver Than We Are, comes out Sept. 9 in Europe and Sept. 16 in the U.S. All the songs were written by Steinman.
Sept. 7: This story has been updated with a statement from Meat Loaf.