Bat Out Of Hell Reunion feat. Danielle Steers, Ben Purkiss and Simon Gordon
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Get ready to feel All Revved Up with this thrilling episode of Breaking the Curtain! Introducing the Bat Out of Hell the Musical Reunion with special guests: DANIELLE STEERS (ZAHARA), BEN PURKISS (HOFFMAN/ ATL. STRAT), AND SIMON GORDON (ESQUIVEL/ ATL. STRAT)!
Join us as we chat all things Bat Out of Hell from on-stage mishaps, character backgrounds, hilarious in-audience stories, and MORE!
This post is a transcription from an episode of our Breaking The Curtain podcast, available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/breaking-the-curtain/id1534338089?i=1000507114607
C - CRISSY
J - JOCELYN
D - DANIELLE STEERS
B - BEN PURKISS
S - SIMON GORDON
C: Alrighty, we have a thrilling episode for you today! Jocelyn, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling All Revved Up…
J: I’m definitely feeling the fever grow…
C: Our love for this musical just won't quit…
J: We are so excited to give you all a rockin’ welcome to the Bat Out of Hell Musical Reunion!
C: We’re joined today by two cast members from the original production in Manchester, and one who joined as a replacement during the London Coliseum run!
J: Without further ado, please join us in welcoming Danielle Steers, Ben Purkiss, and Simon Gordon!
C: So to start, let’s just go around and say your name, where you are currently in the world, who you played in the show, and which productions of Bat Out of Hell you were a part of.
D: Hello, hi. Danielle Steers here. I played Zahara in the show. I have been with the show since it opened back in 2017, I’ve pretty much done the show everywhere except Germany, yeah. And I’m in London right now.
S: Hello, I’m Simon, I’m the Scottish accent you’ll recognize. In the show, in Bat Out of Hell, I was Alternate Strat, and I joined when we were at the Coliseum. And in terms of the area of the world I am right now, I am, funnily enough, in Scotland.
B: Hello, I’m Ben from Ashford and Kent, I am the Ashford and Kent accent you will be hearing. I was in the original cast of Bat, and I played Alternate Strat and Hoffman - Still have the cowboy hat.
C: That was one people definitely wanted to know as well!
B: It’s hanging on my mirror.
C: Oh, nice!
J: So, right off the bat…
Everyone reacts to the horrible and unintentional pun.
J: Were any of you huge MeatLoaf or Jim Steinman fans before you got involved with the show?
D: I was. I remember when I was little I used to go to karaoke with my mom and dad, and I remember, still distinctly to this day, hearing Paradise By The Dashboard Light for the first time, and being like, “What is happening? What is this?” Two people were singing it really badly and I just fell in love with it. And then I just started listening to bits and bats - Hey! Bits and bats! We are throwing all the Bat puns in there today. But yeah, I was quite a big fan.
S: After you, Ben.
B: Thanks, man. I wasn’t. And it’s hilarious because I had to learn Bat Out Of Hell. Obviously, when you’re at drama school, you’re sitting there learning pieces of music, so I was sitting there going through the rhythm like: “like-a-bat-out-of-hell, I’ll-be-gone, when-the-morning-comes”, and I sang it in the audition. The rhythm? Amazing! And they were like, “Cool… Stop that. Stop what you’re doing.” So, no, I actually didn’t really have any clue about any of it.
S: I’m much the same as Danielle. It’s so strange that you mentioned Paradise By The Dashboard Light at karaoke, because that’s the exact same way I was introduced to Meat Loaf. Two of my good friends sang Paradise By The Dashboard Light at karaoke one day. I think I was maybe seventeen, eighteen, just like “What is this?” It was so different, it told an actual story that was really easy to follow as well. I just thought it was awesome, but much in the same way as Ben, I also had to learn Bat Out Of Hell. I didn’t know the song, and yeah, that was very interesting.
B: It seems like it worked both times, so maybe there’s something in there?
S: There you go.
C: It really is quite like, the perfect karaoke song as well when you’re a few drinks in.
D: My God, it just goes on and on… It’s fantastic. I love it!
C: Just when you think it’s going to stop…
J: It keeps going!
C: How did you prepare for such an intense show?
B: …. Maybe we should just put our hands up or something?
S: The silence after you asked the question…
D: I was just waiting for somebody else to answer… No prep. But you know what? It was a really brutal rehearsal process. The stage is so big, for starters, you’re like, running around everywhere, you’ve got to build your stamina up that way. And then singing at the same time. The choreography’s not easy. It’s literally just those first few weeks of rehearsals where you just build everything up, but vocally… It’s a big sing for everybody, even the ensemble, it’s a huge sing, so you kind of have to take it easy sometimes. But yeah, it’s a lot.
S: I think it’s just a case of singing it in. It’s like Danielle said, the more you sing it the easier it becomes. But strangely enough, it never got any easier when I was in the ensemble. That was just… In the opening of the show, every single time, we all come offstage, everyone is gasping for air. It just never got easier, it’s really strange. Maybe that says more about my ability to dance and sing at the same time…
D: I don’t think so.
B: I think it like, it evolves as a process as well. Like, you start the show, you’re going a hundred miles per hour, flying by the seat of your pants, and eventually you realize like, “This is where I can breathe more. This is where I can have a bit of a step back vocally, I’ve just done this song, I have this coming up. This is where I can run offstage and get water, I can sit in a chair.” Sometimes it can be as simple as, “Right, I’m sitting on this here step, for four seconds until that lyric, then I’m walkin’ around to like…” You know, you learn your tricks and your things that you can do.
C: We actually just took Xena Bat Out Of Hell audition workshop dance class yesterday. And I’m like, getting on here with Jocelyn like “My hips are just…. Gone!”
J: That being said, we’re feeling it. We didn’t do the whole number, we didn’t even have to sing… And we are feeling it.
S: Dead Ringer?
C: No, it was the end of All Revved Up.
B: All Revved?
D: Yeah, rest in peace, that never got any easier, nope.
C: I can imagine.
J: I mean, in the audience it looks like a lot, like obviously it’s a lot, but you don’t think about it because you’re all just so animated, and it’s amazing! But now that we’ve actually tried our hand at it, it’s like… You guys are amazing.
D: Yes… Fullout, fullout. I used to collapse on the floor after every Revved Up. We used to pull ourselves up those stairs, and I just used to lay on the floor for like, whatever was next. I think it was Rob and Sharon, um....
B: Who Needs The Young?
D: Yes. That was me, just laying on the floor, on a cold floor… And I didn’t even do the whole number! What a mess…
J: That’s awesome. I think we were there too.
C: We were like, “We’d be cut after round one…”
J: Yep, snip snip. Kind of taking a little detour here, sliding back… We know a lot of characters in the ensemble have names and personalities and backstories and that kind of thing. So we would actually love to talk to the two of you about what that process was like, in getting to have so much individuality within something that is usually so uniform.
B: So I had a lot of fun with Hoffman. My whole thing was that he thought he was a cowboy. So he put on this southern accent because he had a rough childhood and he found solace in watching Toy Story, and sort of related to Woody. I’ve had the same costume since like, the first promo launch in London. I think I’m one of the only ones, the costume for Hoffman has not changed because I loved it so much. I was like, “No, this is it.” And it just became this gimmick of like, I’d come on with a southern accent and like Emily Benjamin would always call me out onstage and be like, “You’re not southern!” And I’d be like “Oh my God, what?” Yeah, I mean… I think I went a bit crazy with it, but it was fun! It was fun and it like, fit, and it gave, I imagine from watching it because lots of people did that stuff, it gave it a life of its own in the big ensemble numbers.
C&J: Love it!
B: Yeah, over the top… As always.
S: For me, I actually inherited the character of Esquivel from Ruben.
B: You did!
S: He sort of passed it on to me. So, in terms of like, a backstory, I was literally just dropped into the baptism of fire. I missed the entire rehearsal process with the cast. I rehearsed on my own in a dance studio, and the first time I was with the cast was in front of an audience.
J: No way! I didn’t know that!
C: Yeah, me neither.
S: Yeah. Michael Naylor, bless his heart, he’s got the patience of a saint. He was with me in that studio for an insane number of hours trying to get me to a level that he felt comfortable enough with actually showing to people who had paid for a ticket. I don’t know if he ever reached that level, actually. I think it got to a stage where management said, “I think it’s time that Simon does some work, we should put him onstage now.” So, I kind of figured all of that out during the show, when I was onstage because the process for me was just learn where to go and don’t run through any flames and don’t crash into anyone. It’s funny you say Emily Benjamin, because we had a whole sort of backstory going on between the two of us as well, she was brilliant.
B: She is the greatest! Such a great company member, like really takes it seriously, but has fun with it and you can tell she loves every minute as well. She’s gonna be buzzin’, we’ll send her this!
D: We love Em Benj.
J: And so, we’re going to turn it over to Danielle, because you have been with Zahara from the very beginning. Let’s talk similarly about the process of developing that character.
D: It was very scary for me. It was my first role, so I was creating something completely from scratch. It was forever changing. I used to get handed scripts right before we went on, like things were… It was a very scary time, and the show had never been done before, so we were all finding our feet together. Zahara is very much a heightened version of myself, I guess, and I put things of myself into her like, “I wish I was as fierce as her and not scared of anything.” She’s just an extended version of me, really.
It’s like what you said about Em Benj, the more you do the show, you find these little pockets with people, and you’re like “Oh, at this point, I’m with these people” and you create your own little story in that moment. And when somebody doesn’t do something one night, like me and Simon used to have a little thing when he was up on the - oh, what’s it called? The billboards. It was in All Revved Up, and we would like, lock eyes, and I was like “Okay, that’s a thing.” And at one point, a few days later, he didn’t do it and I was like, “Have I done something? Why are you not looking at me?”
So, yeah. It’s really just creating as you go, and sometimes you like to keep people on your toes so you might want to mix things up a little bit. I had much fun creating the role of Zahara, she has a very big place in my heart.
C: Definitely, we love you and Zahara!
J: And we’re going to turn it right back over, and then we’ll go back to questions that are for all of you. The two of you both also got to be an alternate for Strat while you were with the show, would you like to talk about the process of being an alternate for a character, and what that experience is?
S: So the process of being an alternate… Well, first of all it was a total pleasure to be the alternate for both Andrew(Polec) and Jordan(Luke Gage). In some ways, the difficulty is that you, like we were saying earlier, you don’t get to sing it in. I would say that’s the most difficult part about it. When you’re doing multiple shows a week, you find things and your voice becomes stronger. But when you’re not, and you just have to go one maybe once or twice a week, it really takes a lot out of you and takes a lot of energy, vocally and physically, that you really haven’t had the chance to build up yet. And you’re always making sure that you’re ready to go on if you have to. The fun part of it, is obviously that you don’t have to deal with that pressure of having to do it seven, eight shows a week because that comes with a whole load of different pressures. And you can enjoy being in the ensemble with the rest of the company. It was just a fantastic experience overall to go on and to be the alternate for both of them. I learned by watching both of them, actually. Like with Andrew, in Canada. He would be in the gym every day. Even if we had a two show day, Andrew’s in the gym on the treadmill, doing stretches. I can’t remember if it was Andrew himself who told me this, or if I heard it from someone, but he used to run, like on a treadmill, and sing the songs. And that sounds crazy, but honestly, singing the songs, you’re literally gasping for air getting through them. So, yeah it was awesome.
B: Yeah, I’ll pick up on the Andrew love. You know, I alternated him. And actually, in rehearsals as well because I was so young when I came to it, I think I was twenty-two, maybe, or twenty-one when rehearsals started. So, I was literally deer in the headlights, and to watch this guy, right? And literally it was like watching a master, because it’s the long game with him, you know? You watch his shows and you see the small changes, and they’re all so like, instinctive yet intellectual. And to watch someone take so much care of a role, for me, is one of the things you know, when you look back and you’re like ‘Oh, these things when I was coming up, I learned that and it helped me and my process as an actor’. Watching his care and creation and development of the role from when I started to when I finished, and again after because I came back, you know, and I watched the show. That was a real lesson, I think, for me and that was one of the benefits of alternating is when you get to alternate someone like that, you know? And I think the other unique thing, for me about alternating, is like what we’ve been talking about! When you’re in the ensemble, you get the whole company experience, you get to do the big ensemble numbers with everyone and find the little moments, and it’s the transference of that. Like, I always felt so supported by the ensemble when I went on, because 1) you’re really close, you share a dressing room with these people, you’re all mates. You’ve kind of got the best of both worlds in that you get to experience playing the role and what that meant, and you’ve got the ensemble, and the energy and the support, and that kind of thing. So I think that’s personally, those two things.
D: Andrew Polec, lala la la la…
B: Piss off!
D: I’m joking! Love him!
J: So, all of you were with the show for an extended period of time, and like every musical ever, it has changed. And Bat’s gone through a lot of changes. So we would love to know: Is there a change that A) You absolutely loved, and B) Is there anything that was cut that you wish was still within the piece?
D: It Just Won’t Quit was cut, which was devastating. Also, Good Girls! I’m so upset about it. I think it only lasted about a week? And I was so, so sad when it got cut, but I didn’t have as much of an attachment to it as I did to It Just Won’t Quit. But also. It Just Won’t Quit changed so many times! Like, I used to start the song at one point, or was the Frying Pan? It changed so many times… No, it was going into It Just Won’t Quit, wasn’t it? Just so many things changed. If you asked me to recall the original version, I couldn’t tell you. Cause also, the original version when we first ran the show was like, three and a half hours long, like the first time we did the show. So that was cut down. But I also loved when they added the fire rain at the top of Act 2 for Land Of The Pig, when we got the fire rain that was really great, and also the heart in Bat Out Of Hell, the exploding heart, the foils, when we got those… I remember watching it from the back the first time when they were like ‘Okay, we’re just gonna try it’. I was like, on the rocks waiting for something to happen and these foils just moved out and I was like ‘Is that it?’ But then I saw it from the front with the lights and everything and I was like, ‘Wow, that looks amazing!’ But it doesn’t look so fun from the back.
B: There was one, there was one thing - Two things! One’s a fun one, and one’s one I really wish they figured out. The fun one is that the ensemble was supposed to eat Falco… Do you remember that in rehearsals?
B: It was like, one day, and it was like… I can’t remember where it came from, but like, it was sent down from the Gods of like, management or whatever, that Falco was going to be torn apart and eaten by the ensemble! Laughter. And I was buzzin! I was like, ‘Give me a wing, give me a breast, I’ll get barbecue sauce!’ So that is the funny one. And the one I really wish they figured out is that at the beginning, with the Strat track. He was gonna dip his hand in the pool and pull out the mic stand, and it was going to be covered in oil. It was gonna be like he’d go to the pool and drag out the mic stand and then be like, ‘BOOM - I remember everything!’ I was like, ‘Wicked cool.’ No idea how they would have done it, but I was fine with that.
C: Oh my gosh, that Falco bit is just…
J: I want to see that now, can we add that back in?
D: We have so many things from rehearsals that like, never made it onstage. Like, we used to have Life Is A Lemon used to be in the show. When I say ‘used to be in the show’, it was in the rehearsal version of the show, and Raven’s bedroom was going to turn into a sauna and there were going to be girls in towels like walking around, handing out drinks. It was like, Trump Tower, and we were all protesting outside and someone was going to set themselves on fire and like… I literally could go on for hours, there was so much stuff!
S: Like I was saying, I wasn’t part of the rehearsals, but I’ve heard a lot of the best stuff that was going to be in it and yeah… I’m gutted that it all got cut. I think at some point, there should be a show of just the things that got cut. I’d get a ticket to that show. I’m also the same about It Just Won’t Quit. I was gutted about that, because the first time I ever went on as Strat was at the Coliseum, and they cut it like, the show after. So I sung it one time.
B: That does not sound good.
S: They must have seen it and gone, ‘Yeah, that definitely doesn’t work.’ Laughter.
D: So it was your fault?
C: I actually remember the night the cut it being on Bat Clan and all that, and it was just insanity… People were like, ‘Oh my God, they’ve cut 45 minutes of the show!’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, what’s coming here to Toronto?!’
D: Just the opening speech.
S: You know, I heard that for the U.S Tour… Or another version somewhere, I can’t remember where the version was that this happened, but I heard that Land Of The Pig got cut.
D: Yeah, we didn’t have a lot of stuff, like we didn’t have a pool and the beating Falco bit… Because we didn’t have a pool, we had to beat him up, and he did a quick change whilst we were beating him up. So, yeah we had no Land Of The Pig, though which was really sad. We opened with Objects which is just a very odd start to Act 2.
S: And Land Of The Pig, that was a stab. I think that’s just the rockiest rock song in the show, and to lose that I think is just very sad. But you know, they gotta do what they gotta do.
C: Even the little things, and not to bash it at all, but… Like the heart that Danielle mentioned during Bat Out Of Hell, it wasn’t there and that moment is like… It’s like a snapshot you know? And to lose just like those little touches was like very, very sad.
S: I think that the version in the Coliseum and Dominion and also, I think the first time it went to Canada, Toronto. I think the benefit of that is that they know it’s a residency. It’s going to be in the same place for X amount of months and so they can ship all this stuff in, but if it’s going to be touring, I think… That show is just colossal, and it must have presented so many challenges in terms of literally like, driving that stuff around from city to city.
D: It’s also having the rigging and stuff like that. To like, fit it in. It’s a mammoth of a show.
C: Especially with the second bedroom and the towers…. That must be hard work, yeah.
J: And there’s a lot going on too, you know? Going slightly off topic here, but I remember going to see the show the first time I saw it in Toronto and going ‘I need to go back because I didn’t know where to look’. There’s so much going on at once, and I’m so glad that like, when you go to see it a couple times you get to kind of appreciate the whole thing, instead of going ‘Did I miss something?’
D: Yeah, take everything in.
B: Yeah, I feel like as much as the show is like… The atmosphere in the stalls is unbelievable, I feel like if you go up a tier in the front row of the first tier… That’s the sweet spot.
B: You get to just take in the whole thing.
J: And the choreography! From up there, watching the choreography and the patterns turn… I love a good Mezz. seat, but in New York, I was in the balcony, like the furthest back you can go, but right at the ledge. But you could see all of the different formation changes and the tracking, and it was gorgeous to watch from up there.
And speaking of the stage… We know that any show that is long-running or in general, everybody has their fair share of onstage mishaps. And we would love if you had any you would want to share with us?
S: How long have you got?
D: I can’t! The only one that comes to me right now is when I was first given my chainsaw. I think it was in Manchester… I can’t remember. I used to run on from stage right, and exit stage left with it. And Natalie Chua was dancing so beautifully there of stage left and she stepped back and I tripped over her foot. But I had a chainsaw in my hand, so I just literally planked on the floor, landed on my boobs. It was so painful. With my arms out in front of me… And Jen, our stage manager just looked at me, I was laid flat on the floor on the stage with my chainsaw… That was really painful and horrible. So we changed it then, and I never did that again. But I can’t remember anything else. Oh… I have to mention - Sorry, I keep talking, I’m very excited to be here. I have to mention the time when Rob Fowler didn’t come onstage…
S: Which time?
D: During the bedroom scene. ‘Where is she?!’ After I’d just packed the bag, Raven’s run away with Strat, I’m packing the bag, I put the gun in the bag, Falco doesn’t enter the bedroom… This is in Manchester, so we haven’t been doing the show very long, and I was like ‘Oh, what do I do?’ I’m like, looking around the room, trying to find something to do, there’s a camera on me, so I’m trying to improvise. And then Sharon comes into the room who plays Sloane and she’s like ‘Zahara, what are you doing here?’ and I was like ‘I don’t know, what are you doing here?’ And we literally had to improvise this whole scene and Rob Fowler never showed up…. He was elsewhere at the time. And it never happened again. But that was a very scary moment.
C: That’s amazing.
B: Mine… The only one I can remember is during Bat, I was on and I think I tripped over a mic wire, and I fell backwards… But I didn’t touch the ground because the world’s strongest man, Giovanni Spano… I was literally like ‘Like a bat out of--’ and I fell, arms up like this and he just caught me with two hands on my back and just propelled me back up. It was the most amazing… I was back, and then I was up, but a bit forward because obviously, he has biceps the size of the planet, so I flew like 90 feet forward… But it was amazing! I mean, I guess it was a mishap, but that was a bonus.
S: That was a mishap that could have been had it not been Gio.
B: Yeah, he saved my life!
S: I think mine is when the bedroom door didn’t open so I just kicked it in… That was not one of my finest moments. I just took a run and… Well, because Georgia Carling was on for Raven, and she was lying on the bedroom floor about to sing All Coming Back To Me Now and I had to enter and do a scene, and then she would go into the song. And I was just stood at the door trying to get in, thinking ‘I’m leaving her on her own here, she’s not going to be able to do anything unless I get onstage’. And I just, I kind of looked around me and just thought ‘I’m going to have to run through the door’, so I just ran at it and went through it, and it came off onstage. I don’t know how Georgia kept it together, she completely nailed the scene, nailed the song, and she just completely held it together like a pro. Our stage manager, Jen, she said to me after the show, ‘Why didn’t you just walk around the set? Why did you run through the wall?’ And I was like, ‘Jen, you’re talking total sense here, but I was in a blind panic, I was just thinking of Georgia!’
B: I think after that moment you need to do a Scottish accent, like puts on a Scottish accent ‘Hey! You…”
C: That totally reminds me of, there was a mishap during the tour with the door in the bottom bedroom? So right after Paradise, and there was a technician working on it. So whoever entered last, I guess Sloane, kept the door open? So the little technician just peeked out and closed the door! It was so good, he was working the whole time! It was a moment that’s just in my brain and I can see it so clearly.
B: That actually reminds me of… I’ve probably taken this from my memory because it was one of the most traumatizing moments of my whole entire life. It was early, early, early on in the run, probably like, maybe last week off previews or something? And I was on for one of my, I don’t know, whatever shows… And my voice was absolutely ruined, and there was no one in the building, so I went on and I did Revved Up, and couldn’t sing. I stopped singing and I went off stage to Jackie Morgan, who’s the company manager, I went, ‘Hey! I can’t sing, so can I go?’ She was like, ‘No.’ And they called Andrew. Called him, woke him up, and got him into the building, but I had to do Act 1. And I couldn’t sing… So, I remember, I had to come on to do Bat Out Of Hell at the end down the octave. Demonstrates, laughter.
D: I was going to mention, honourary moments because they’re fantastic. Was Barney falling into the pond… He’s the only person to ever do it, but it was a fantastic moment. I do have it on video, I will release it.
D: Him doing a backwards rolypoly into the pond, fantastic. And also, Craig Ryder ripping off his - He was on for Falco. He ripped off his trousers in Paradise but he didn’t have his pink pants on. He was just there in his jock strap, and he looked like a Ken Doll. That was a brilliant moment also. I could go on forever… But I had to mention those.
J: And since they’re tearaway, you know, once they’re off… You’re done.
B: I forgot about that one, that’s hilarious!
J: And carrying on from that, did you have any backstage traditions or mishaps?
D: I used to have certain things I’d have to do before a scene. Like, the bedroom scene I’d have to like, fold a certain t-shirt, or… I can’t really remember anything now, but I definitely had little things that I used to do before I went on, that I had to do because I felt like the show, my show, would go completely wrong if I didn’t do them. So silly, superstitious.
B: We had one, Danielle and I! It was in the mirror box, I think it was before Crying Out Loud, and I had the blood bag on my arm. And Danielle, I would hear her walking up the stairs because you had to go there to preset the blood bag. And we would just look at each other and I used to go ‘I’m about to be dead’, and then die, and the scene would start. Every time!
D: I loved that with my Strats!
S: That makes me feel very boring... When Danielle came up to me in the blood box, I was dead.
D: He was already dead!
S: I was fully dead.
D: All the other Strats used to hand me the blood bag and then put it somewhere, I don’t remember how it was set up. But Simon didn’t do that. He just laid there like ‘I’m dead now’, and I’d be like ‘Kay…’ Literally just run up the stairs trying to pick up the blood bag and everything just like, ‘It’s fine, Simon, I got it!’
S: This is literally the first time I’m realizing that the other Strats did that stuff.
D: Cause I’m a nice person, I didn’t want to say anything.
S: My preshow thing when I was on for Strat was, I just had to say the monologue, the opening monologue, right before I went on. And you know what? If I could turn the clock back to the first time that I did that, I would not do it because it just became a burden. Like, I couldn’t go on unless I’d said the monologue. It was like a superstition thing, even if it was just going through it very quickly it was like, ‘I have to do it.’ I wish I’d never started that, I’m never starting anything like that ever again.
B: I think… Because I did the same thing and I know Andrew did as well. I feel like it’s just cause it’s so long that you’re like, you can’t be confident that you know it? Because it’s so long, you’re like, ‘No, I’ve got to, just in case’ like, something goes wrong, lines, whatever.
S: Yeah, you’re right.
C: That makes sense.
J: It’s a lot to remember!
J: We’re just going to hop on over to the fans! So, we know that Bat has a massive fan base, I mean, we’re obviously part of it. We would love to talk about any crazy audience moments and your best fan experiences.
S: I mean… We’ve got a crazy audience moment that tops the list by a country mile, for me, but I’m not sure it’s PG enough to repeat on this podcast.
J: I think I’ve heard this one…
C: Yeah, I believe so! Go for it, if you’d like!
D: Go on, then.
S: The security who had their eye on a couple who was… They thought someone had dropped something and was looking for it on the floor for a very long time between their partner’s legs.
C: That’s a good way to put it!
S: But that’s what we do at Bat Out Of Hell, we inspire people. You come to watch the show, there’s a certain energy about it… A few times people got thrown out for all sorts of sexual acts, so… That’s kind of what comes to my mind with the funny stories.
B: One of my favourite moments was, I can’t remember, but there was like, someone in the audience who… Cause usually the stalls would be filled with regulars, a lot of people would come see the show multiple times. I remember it was Rock N Roll Dreams, the Tink death scene. So, Tink died, and I think someone in the audience shouted like, ‘Good!’ or like, ‘You should be dead!’ or something. But then, one of the regulars from the stalls or something went, ‘Shut up!’ With such passion, and they shut up!
D: So many people shouting out, it’s brilliant. I remember in Manchester, it was during Bat Out Of Hell, actually. I was up on the top of the rocks, singing my heart out, and I just saw this commotion in the stalls and like, I saw loads of jackets running down the aisles. A fight had broken out in the stalls, like a huge fight had broken out, it was just mental, cause everyone was like, drinking, having a lovely time… But yeah, Bat fans are the best.
B: There was quite a kerfuffle about Sing vs Don’t Sing. I swear, they made an announcement about it or something. Like, people would come and they’d sing, and then there would be people who didn’t want them to sing, and there would be arguments. On one side, people were just enjoying themselves, having a great time, and obviously the songs are unbelievable. But then on the other side there’s people who don’t, who just come to the theatre and don’t really kind of know what it’s about… So it was a whole thing about it.
D: That’s why we started to have the sing-a-longs. Which are, I think every show should do that. Like, it’s so much fun. Our sing-a-longs were crazy, I loved them, cause pretty much everyone knows the songs. So it’s just like, crazy. Love.
J: And I think that’s such a great option, and such a good way to kind of solve that, for the people who aren’t theatre fans but are coming to see Bat, or who are theatre fans and are coming. Having a sing-a-long night, that’s so great! Go then and sing a long, and then people who aren’t into that can go see the show another day. I think that’s brilliant, and I think you’re right, there should be more shows that incorporate that, especially those that have songs that are very popular, much like the ones in Bat.
B: &Juliet did that as well, didn’t they, I think?
D: Yeah, and we’ve had a few as well at Six. It’s good fun.
C: That totally just reminded me, my first show in London, there was a man beside me, it was during Heaven Can Wait, and Christina is singing so beautifully and then there’s this guy beside me singing. I was like, ‘Oh no….’ My friend was like, ‘I’ll fight him for you.’ It was so funny though, it makes the best memories. I also had a woman beside me trying to be like you, Danielle, she was doing the high kicks in her seat, it was brilliant! We were in the front row, and Gio was like ‘Is she in your crowd? Is she in your crew, Crissy? Cause that’s what I’m telling people.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know her.’
D: Wow, I love that! How did I miss that?
J: Looking back on the entire Bat experience, what would you say is your biggest “pinch me” moment associated with the show?
D: MeatLoaf being there, for sure. That was like, a bit crazy. And also one of the things I’ll never forget is closing night at the Dominion. There was a moment at the end and Rob Fowler told everyone to take out their phones and put their torches on… I just got goosebumps just thinking about it. It just looked so beautiful, and we were all so emotional, and that for me was like a ‘gasp’ moment.
S: For me it was my first ever show that I did. That was my first time ever being on a West End stage and I was playing Strat in Bat Out Of Hell and it was just… I’ll never forget that. And obviously, because it was the first time I’d ever been on the West End, I had like so many people there, in the theatre from London, and from Scotland and from all over there to support. It was just awesome. I mean, it’s probably the most nervous I’ve ever been, but it was amazing.
B: I think, probably… There’s one like… I remember my last Strat show. Everyone was like being amazing, and being so nice and appreciative, and showing me so much love. I remember in the bows, at the end of the bows, the Strat little bit at the end, at the end of that, Rob Fowler and Issac picked me up and put me on their shoulders and I was like, crying ‘Like a bat out of hell’. Then we all came down and we were just like, hugging… I think that was a very touching moment. Also, probably one of the coolest was the first launch, when we put the truck on St. Martin’s lane, and it was like a misty night, really dark. We just had this truck and these spotlights, and it was packed. It was unbelievable. Yeah, cool, I’ll shut up now.
B: I won’t shut up, that was a thing to be humble.
C: It’s okay, we’re chatty!
J: You don’t have to shut up here, that’s why we’re here! We’re chatty and we go on tangents, that’s why Crissy needs to edit so much every week.
C: Yeah, around 45 minutes of us trying to pronounce words and not pronouncing them and talking about the pronunciations…
J: We also wanted to ask, since you’ve all left the show, since you’ve last performed in it, how has it affected your life?
S: For me, I would go back to what I was saying about being the alternate to Andrew and Jordan, in terms of like, learning from the experience. It wasn’t just those two that I was able to learn from, it was literally everyone involved, just the first time I’d ever done a show of that scale. I think you just, there’s only so much you can learn in a drama school, I think you learn a lot more when you do it and how it works in practice. And I think you probably learn the most from your first job. You know, I’d been in other shows before that, but never of that scale and I think I just learned a lot that I will carry with me from everyone in that show.
D: What did I take with me from Bat Out Of Hell? A lot of friends, a lot of love, I learned a lot of new skills, like camera work, for instance, and also because it was my first leading role, I learned a lot of the job. As Simon said, you do learn so much from your first job and when you’re a swing for the first time, when you’re a cover for the first time, and when you’re playing a lead for the first time. It’s like my baby, it’s Bat, so I carry a lot of that show with me and a lot of lessons. And I don’t know if you know, but I recorded an album of Jim Steinman songs, shameless plug… So I took a lot of that with Jim Steinman… Big fan, big fan.
C: Plug away! We’ll link it!
B: I got a hat. A hat, like a hat. Which I carry with me always, it really weighs heavy on my head. No, but for realsies, I think from my perspective, with that show in particular, there were so many people who were so good at what they do, whether that was onstage, off, with the management team, everything. People were really at the top of their game and it was so… Again, I was young, I was trying to just absorb as much as I can, just to swim in the sea of madness - That’s a metaphor guys, thank you. I’ve actually released a book of poetry - I haven’t… But being able to work with people at the top of their game and to see how they operate and see how they talk to each other, and interaction in a professional environment at that level. Yeah, it was a good thing, cause now I’m brilliant.
S: I want to finish all my answers with that.
C: And now, I’m a genius.
D: Yeah, now I’m really great, so…
C: Truly, from a fan perspective, the show has done so much for me, and I know for so many as well. Like, I don’t think I could have ever gotten on a plane and gone to London alone at 21, I guess I was back then? But, yeah, I’m forever grateful to the show and to all of you and the whole cast, everyone behind the show as well. So much goodness, so much kindness.
J: Yeah, it’s a show that has such a huge impact on so many people, and I think that’s really beautiful. From both the original music, and the story, to all of the amazingly talented people who make it happen every night.
S: Shows like Bat only happen because people support them, so the success of it is down to you guys.
D: I agree. I love the amount of people who come and make friends, and create lovely support groups and stuff. That really warms my heart and stuff like that.
C: It’s true, like Jocelyn and I, we met through Gio telling me in London like ‘Oh, message this girl’. So I did! And now we have a podcast together!
J: And here we are!
D: Oh, I love that!
J: It’s so true, there are so many people who have come into my life because of the show, and I got a best friend from it!
D: That is so wonderful!
J: And before we wrap up for the day, we would love to take this time to hand the mic over to you to hear about any upcoming projects or work you’re doing during this time so we can share it with our listeners!
B: Well, I’ll do our joint one, because Simon has another one. As probably, people know, we are part of a group called The Songsmiths and we have an album out and we are, as soon as available and possible, we have a live show ready to go, which we are going to smash out there! So any love on the Insta, and the Twitter, @thesongsmithsuk would be fantastic. That is me and Simon and Patrick Sullivan, who is busy. That’s our joint one, so go on Si, knock their socks off!
S: Yeah, well there’s The Songsmiths, and also I’m producing a show with Ryan Metcalfe. It’s a filmed theatre show version of Romeo and Juliet. Tickets went on sale last week, and you can buy tickets at romeoandjuliet2021.com. It’s got a really great cast, and funnily enough, Nick Evans who was the associate director of Bat, directed Romeo and Juliet. So, yeah, it’s going to be amazing. Ryan is currently editing it with his company right now, and it should be, hopefully, ready in about a week!
D: I can’t wait to see it!
B: I went to help out for a day on that, and I have to say that it is absolutely ground-breaking. Like, it’s unbelievable what they’ve done with it.
Also, get Danielle’s album!
S: For real, Danielle’s album is amazing.
B: Oh, Simon’s also on that! Well done, Simon!
D: Simon’s just got his fingers in all the pies, it’s fantastic!
C: We will plug everything on our website so you can find everything on there and support these awesome projects.
S: Thank you.
J: Thank you! And that’s all we have on our end, is there anything any of you would like to add before we close up?
S: Just thanks for supporting the show and us and taking such an interest. You’re now creating a podcast together and it’s brought you together, like you said. Thanks for carrying the torch.
J: We are so thrilled that you all agreed to be here with us, thank you all so so so much for joining us!
C: This was so cool, and really fun! Super special as well.
D: Yes, it’s been lovely, thank you for having us!
B: Thank you for having us!
C: We just want to extend a huge thank you to our guests today and all of you at home listening!
J: You’ll be able to find links not only to all of our amazing special guests, but their upcoming projects on our Instagram when we announce this episode!
As always, I’m Jocelyn and you can find me @bothsidesofthecurtain.
C: And I’m Crissy, and you can find me @breakaleg ! We also want to say, if there are any other shows you would like to hear some reunions from, let us know!
J: As always, our inboxes are always open, let us know if you enjoyed the episode and anything you would like to see from us in the future. Stay safe and stay stagey!
C: Take care!
THE SONGSMITHS: https://www.thesongsmiths.co.uk/
DANIELLE’S ALBUM: https://www.daniellesteers.co.uk/shop/p/sodium-haplt
ROMEO AND JULIET: www.romeoandjuliet2021.com
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