Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2022

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‘Bat Out of Hell’ brings an unbridled spectacle to Paris Las Vegas

Bat Out of Hell the Musical

Chris Davis Studio

Bat Out of Hell - The Musical” opens at the Paris Theater on September 27.

Grammy Award-winning composer, lyricist and producer Jim Steinman always wanted his rock-and-roll musical “Bat Out of Hell” to land on the Las Vegas Strip. The musician passed away in April of 2021, but the production premiered in 2017 at the Manchester Opera House in England before a West End run, North American and international tours and an off-Broadway run in New York City.

At last, the Las Vegas debut is here this week, with an opening performance set for September 27 at the Paris Theater. “Bat Out of Hell – The Musical” continues Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays at 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

“Part of it had to do with Jim’s initial vision, being such a fan of great theatrical events and great spectacle,” said director Jay Scheib, who also helmed the London production, which won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. “Las Vegas is one of the only places that has really created a true center for that kind of work. He had always really hoped for the production to come here and felt very strongly about that. I wish he were here with us, but we’re really happy to be fulfilling this dream.”

The stage show famously uses the ubiquitous music Steinman produced for Meat Loaf’s award-winning and best-selling 1977 album of the same name, including anthemic rock hits like “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Although the album was released long before the musical, Steinman originally created most of the music for the show in the early 1970s.

“It was meant to be an adaptation of Peter Pan, but it didn’t work out with the rights so they packaged up the songs for a different project. One of the actors he was working with was this guy who also had a band and went by the name of Meat Loaf,” explained Scheib. “The songs originally meant for the musical were released as the album ‘Bat Out of Hell,’ so in an interesting way, it was sort of a premature cast album, just 40 years too early.”

Fans of the record will recognize the storytelling in the songs and understand the narrative of the musical in a powerful way. The epic tale is akin to Romeo and Juliet with main character Strat, the leader of a youthful group of rebels known as the Lost, falling for Raven, daughter of Falco, the ruler of the dystopian city Obsidian, and his wife Sloane.

“I find in the end it turns out to be a story about two young lovers who succumb to love at first sight and will do anything to be together, even as we watch the parents of Raven go through the struggles of aging and struggling to remain together,” Scheib said. “They’re going through their own process trying to figure out how they will keep passion alive and manage to stay together.”

In the Paris Las Vegas production, Falco and Sloane will be played by two veteran Vegas performers known for powerful singing voices in Travis Cloer (“Jersey Boys”) and Anne Martinez (“Baz,” “Jubilee,” “Showstoppers”). Another local, newcomer Alize Cruz, plays Raven, and Canadian singer Travis Cormier takes the lead role of Strat.

“There are so many great performers in the Las Vegas area, and of course we’re coming in right after several very difficult years in the performing arts. We had auditions in New York and L.A., then we came here and ran a few weeks of auditions and it had always been our desire to try to cast as many local people as possible,” Scheib said. “Much of the cast is meant to be part of the Lost, young people, kids who have lost their way, so it’s a great opportunity to find folks that are new to the performance world and just getting started.”

With a 25-person ensemble, an eight-piece live band, plenty of pyrotechnics, live cameras, projection and animation, “Bat Out of Hell” promises to be the full-scale production show this venue hasn’t had in recent years, and it comes at a great time for the resort after Paris recently added several new high-profile restaurants to its portfolio. There are loads of new experiences to be had at this center-strip stalwart.

And the over-the-top spirit everyone recognizes from those classic Meat Loaf tunes is deeply engrained in the stage presentation, which seems like a great fit for Las Vegas.

“There’s this completely unreserved energy in the music,” Scheib said. “Some of Jim’s songs are 10 minutes long and there are very few pop songs that have that kind of unbridled energy that carries on with such duration. We have several of those in the show … and so we pursue all of these gestures with the same kind of incredible force of technical wizardry.”