Tuner finds perch at Union Square Theater
In the battle of the tiny tuners, “Bat Boy” appears to have landed the Union Square Theater, leaving “Reefer Madness” to continue its hunt for another large Off Broadway joint. August Wilson’s “Jitney” vacates the Union Square on Jan. 28.Both musicals fall into that mid-size range of shows requiring a cast of 10 or more performers, making it economically unfeasible for them to play a house with fewer than 499 seats — the top end of the Off Broadway capacity scale. “Bat Boy” is based on the blood-letting adventures of the half-child/half-bat who is best known to readers of the national tabloid Weekly World News. The show had its world premiere at the Actors Gang Theater in Los Angeles in October 1997. The Kevin Murphy/Dan Studney musical “Reefer Madness,” a spoof of the 1936 cult docu about the evils of marijuana, also originated in L.A., where it was recipient of five Ovation Awards. Its Gotham incarnation is being produced by James L. Nederlander and Verna Harrah. “Bat Boy” won two Richard Rodgers development awards for its creators: composer-lyricist Laurence O’Keefe and book writers Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming. Tricoastal composerO’Keefe is enjoying a very tricoastal career. A resident of Los Angeles, the composer-lyricist is one of many young creatives involved in the new musical “3hree”: His contribution is the music for “The Mice,” one of the show’s three installments. The tuner triptych had its world premiere Oct. 25 at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia and is expected to travel to Broadway either this season or next. O’Keefe also wrote music and lyrics for “La Cava,” a new musical based on the life of Florinda Espatorias that is currently ensconced at the Piccadilly Theater in London. On that project, O’Keefe shares credits with Stephen Keeling and John Chaflin. Earlier this year, Scott Schwartz helmed a workshop and readings of “Bat Boy,” and he is set to direct the commercial production. He also helmed “Jane Eyre” (with John Caird), currently on Broadway, as well as John Bucchino and James Waedekin’s “Lavender Girl,” yet another installment of “3hree.” Hal Prince directed the third piece, “The Flight of the Lawnchair,” by Robert Lindsey Nassif and Peter Ullian. New York producers of “Bat Boy” include Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Robyn Goodman, Jean Doumanian and Riot Entertainment.