“Everyone is really excited to do the show there. It will be up-close and personal and the ambience is absolutely perfect,” said Steighner.
River City is creating a special Murder Ballad drink for the occasion and is allowing the cast to rehearse off hours in the bar.
From Tom Dooley to Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe, songs of cheating lovers and their violent demise have spawned an entire genre of folk and popular music called “murder ballads.” Murder ballads aren’t uniquely American but since they combine sex, violence, and a lot of personal drama, they have become a staple of American blues and folk artists. And now, we have the musical Murder Ballad, a rock opera that is set in the here-and-now but deals with themes and a story as old as the first tale of cheatin’ hearts.
Local actors Michelle Firsching, Luke Firsching, Emily Vawter and Tommy Fliss sing their way through a 90-minute score that truly rocks, unlike many so-called “rock operas.”
Steighner said that the writers of Murder Ballad — Juliana Jordan (book) and Julia Nash (music and lyrics) come from the world of rock and roll. Some of the songs were repurposed from the composer’s rock band.
Although the songs have a very wide range of pop styles, they’re not the usual middle-of-the-road Broadway rock songs but have an authentic feel.
In a recent interview, Nash said she was originally inspired by the album “Murder Ballads” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the song “Psycho” by Elvis Costello.
The stage band of Steighner (keyboards), Dennis Castanares (guitar), Paul Thompson (bass) and Michel Grodner/Jason Hartmann (drums) has had a great time playing the songs.
Steighner said that although the show has no explicit content, it does contain some strong language and adult situations. Minors are permitted but will need to purchase food to be in compliance with River City’s licensing.
Murder Ballad runs Oct. 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m. The show has an approximate running time of 80 minutes with no intermission. Bar service will be available before and after the performance.
Tickets are $20 adults ($15 for CGOA members), $5 youth ages 10-18, and free for kids under 10 (though the show isn’t really recommended for kids). Seating is limited. Tickets are available in advance through gorgeorchestra.org