Award-winning librettist Hunter Bell and his SILENCE! The Musical stars, David Garrison and Jenn Harris, recently visited "Theater Talk" to discuss the process of turning the classic movie thriller The Silence of the Lambs into a comedy musical. Hosted by Michael Riedel and Susan Haskins, this episode of "Theater Talk" aired February 24 - 27 on WNET/Thirteen and CUNY TV. Check it out below!
SILENCE! The Musical, the unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs, is currently playing to sold out crowds at The 9th Space Theatre at Performance Space 122, 150 First Avenue (at 9th St.) With book by Hunter Bell, music & lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan, and direction & choreography by Christopher Gattelli, SILENCE! The Musical opened on July 9, 2011 and was recently selected by Time Magazine as one of the year's Top 5 Musicals.
Originally announced as an eight-week limited engagement, the show's producers have extended the run five times to accommodate demand for tickets.
In the Academy Award-winning film The Silence of the Lambs, rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling matches wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to catch the serial killer known only as Buffalo Bill. Clarice must face her own demons and race the clock to unlock Lecter's clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Bill. It's a hair-raising thriller that's kept countless millions on the edge of their seats and permeated the pop lexicon with delightfully creepy quotes like "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti" and of course "It places the lotion in the basket." At long last, this delicate symphony of suspense has been turned on its ear and retold in the only way it can be - as a musical. A singing chorus of floppy eared lambs narrates the action; Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin; and even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he'd like to lead someday outside the prison walls.
There have been an unusually high number of recent celebrity sightings at SILENCE! The Musical, including such luminaries as Jodie Foster, Chita Rivera, James Earl Jones, Joan Rivers, Josh Groban, Kelly Ripa, Jonathan Demme, Matt Bomer, Stephen Schwartz, John Kander, Jonathan Groff, Mario Cantone, Justin Kirk, T.R. Knight, Lea DeLaria, Steven Pasquale, and Christian Campbell.
David Garrison (Hannibal Lecter), Jenn Harris (Clarice Starling) and Stephen Bienskie (Buffalo Bill) head the cast of SILENCE! The Musical, which also features Callan Bergmann, Harry Bouvy, Ashlee Dupré, Annie Funke, Deidre Goodwin, Howard Kaye, Topher Nuccio, Pamela Bob, and Doug Trapp. Music Supervisor is Mark Hartman, with orchestrations by Brian J. Nash.
Created by Jon and Al Kaplan in 2002, SILENCE! began as a collection of songs on the internet which immediately attracted a staggering number of fans. The Kaplans' subsequent screenplay SILENCE! The Musical was adapted by Hunter Bell into a live stage show, which also featured newly composed songs by the brothers. Fueled by a rabid cult following, SILENCE! shattered every box office record at the 2005 FringeNYC Festival, winning the award for Best Musical. SILENCE! The Musical met with further success in London where it garnered ecstatic reviews at the Above The Stag Theatre.
Bookwriter Hunter Bell co-wrote and starred in the Broadway musical [title of show] as well as Now. Here. This. at the Vineyard. Hunter is a co-creator of the web series the [title of show] show, and he recently co-created and wrote a television pilot which has been sold to ABC. David Garrison starred as Steve Rhoades on the (also wildly irreverent) classic TV series "Married With Children." His many New York stage credits include Wicked, Titanic, Torch Song Trilogy, The Pirates of Penzance, Hollywood/Ukraine, Geniuses, I Do! I Do!, and Snoopy. Jenn Harris received a Lucille Lortel Award for her performance in Modern Orthodox. Her other Off-Broadway credits include New Jerusalem, The Understudy and Swan!!! and she is a frequent guest star at Joe's Pub: Our Hit Parade.
SILENCE! The Musical is produced Off-Broadway by Theater Mogul. The performance schedule is Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM, and Sundays at 3 & 7 PM. Running time is 87 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $25 - $79 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or through www.SilenceTheMusical.com.