Beastie Boys' Off-Broadway, and Four Other Weird Rock Musicals

It used to be that plays like Hair epitomized the marriage between rock and musical, but recent years have seen the combination pushed to new limits. You probably know Green Day's American Idiot and U2's constantly flailing Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, but have you heard of Serj Tankian's musical based around ancient Greek gods? Or witnessed Dave Grohl as Satan? Or the heavy metal murder musical that just premiered in the US?

Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys' Gloucester Blue

Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz, better known as Ad-Rock, is handling the original score for his father's off-Broadway play Gloucester Blue, described by Broadway World as a "black comedy about a man who returns home after a long absence and encounters all manner of infidelities and murders." It's expected to run at Manhattan's Cherry Lane Studio Theatre from November 16 through December 8. While this may seem random, Ad-Rock's other recent projects include remixing funky world savy indie sensation tunE-yArDs' "Gangsta" and whipping up some PB&J for Bravo's Top Chef: Just Dessert.

Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise," the first single from Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. It kicks off with "Fight For Your Right"--we're guessing Ad-Rock forgave his dad for catching him smoking weed in the second verse?

Serj Tankian's Prometheus Bound

System of a Down's Grammy Award-winning Serj Tankian never seems to calm down; he just keeps going and going, whether it be solo projects or a musical about Greek Titan Prometheus that he has in the works. The musical, Prometheus Bound, is inspired by a Greek tragedy about the heroic struggle of Western civilization's first prisoner of conscience, a.k.a, the struggle of a man against the brute force of a dictator...perfect timing for our society, much? Not only is the musical written by Grammy and Tony Award-winning playwright Steven Sater, but the artistic director is hell-bent on immersing the audience in an environment that merges Dionysian energy (doubtful that orgies will be included) and the rebelliousness of a rock concert. It premiered earlier this year, and details can be found on Serj Tankian's Web site.

A look into Serj Tankian's vision :

South Park's The Book of Mormon

Trey Park and Matt Stone, the creators of the animated show South Park, spent seven years writing this musical that ended up winning Best Musical at the 65th Annual Tony Awards, and the original Broadway cast recording became the highest-charting Broadway cast album in over four decades, reaching #3 on the Billboard Charts. This religious satire musical lampoons organized religion and traditional musical theater, but the flip was switched when the musical was released in early 2011. Turns out the demographic that loved it the most were the ones the musical was about.

South Park creators accepting the Tony Award for Best Musical:

Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny

This American satirical flick has garnered a cult following after its 2006 release. While it bombed at the box office, what it lacks in any type of substance it makes up for in comedy and such stars as Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins, Ronnie James Dio, Meat Loaf, and even Dave Grohl, who cameos as Satan and battles Jack Black and Kyle Gass in a rock off as shown in the video below.

Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical

It's hard to know what to expect with this production. In short, a tatted up thug takes bloody revenge on a corrupt NYC cop who shot him in the head and kidnapped his girl.

The musical seems to be full of random memories stitched together in between the ex-con's headaches due to the bullet still lodged in his brain. Think The Rocky Horror Picture Show meets a cheesy horror flick filmed on a low budget. However, the creators of Mr. Bricks signed a deal with legendary Troma Entertainment, established in 1974 and was responsible for early works from Trey Parker, Robert DeNiro, Samuel L. Jackson, and Buddy Giovinazzo. It premiered at D.C.'s Spooky Movie International Film Festival in October; see the trailer below.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise