Q&A: Tony Winner Lena Hall of ‘Bat Out Of Hell’

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell: The Musical is based on one of the best-selling albums of all time. To create the high-tech show, Steinman incorporated iconic songs from three of the Bat Out Of Hell albums he created with Meatloaf, including “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth,” “Bat Out Of Hell,” “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” plus two previously unreleased songs. Bat Out Of Hell is set in a post-apocalyptic world where chaos rules. Strat (Andrew Polec), the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven (Christina Bennington), the daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco (Bradley Dean) and his disillusioned wife Sloane (Lena Hall). The musical is currently playing at New York City Center for a limited run through September 8th.

Lena Hall is a Tony winner and Grammy nominee for playing the role of Yitzhak in the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hall, who made her Broadway debut in Cats, has also appeared on and Off-Broadway in 42nd Street, Dracula, Tarzan, Kinky Boots, The Toxic AvengerPrometheus Bound and How to Transcend a Happy Marriage. Next year, she will star in the TBS science fiction epic Snowpiercer.

When you heard about Bat Out Of Hell, what went through your mind?
Lena Hall: I heard smatterings ages ago. When I was in rehearsals for Kinky Boots, I remember hearing that they were making a musical of Bat Out Of Hell. I thought, “Oh my God! I have to be a part of that.” And then, years later, I was hearing about how the show was in London. And then when they came to me, I said “Yes!” The show marries my sensibilities so well. There’s the musical theater part of me. And then there’s the rock and roll part of me, where they let me just be me, have fun and rock out with the songs. It is so much fun. It’s total happiness.

What do you think the show is ultimately about?
LH: There are a lot of comedy moments and some wild storytelling going on. It’s apocalyptic, and we’re on an island. The basic meat in this show is about family. It’s about keeping and holding on to family. It’s about Empty Nest Syndrome, and not wanting to let your teenager go out into the world. Yet it’s also about wanting them to experience the world, and do it better than you did. It’s trying to shield your child from making the same mistakes you made. Deep down, underneath all the stuff that happens on stage, the show is about family connections. It’s about having to let your child go on their way and do their own thing.

Is there something you wish you could tell your younger self?
LH: Enjoy the moment and take it in now. You’ll get there eventually. It’s your own journey and your own time. So take the time to enjoy the moment. And also look back on all you have accomplished.

How does singing make you feel?
LH: It’s my kind of nirvana. It’s the way that I feel the most enlightened. When I’m singing, I feel closest to a higher power. To sing and connect with an audience is my church.

By Jeryl Brunner

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