When I was an acting student, back in the mid 90’s, a friend of mine showed me Forbidden Zone. It was a bootleg on a crappy VHS tape, there were about 5 of us in the room and I will be perfectly honest, much beer… and other intoxicants. The movie started and I was swept away. My mind was blown and I was generally freaked out. I love surrealism and the avant-garde… but this wasn’t like anything I’d seen before. Forbidden Zone was its own thing, with its own aesthetic, totally unique, and completely original. It was an explosion of insanity with as many nods to Max Fleischer cartoons as there were to Fellinni, fused and held together with any amazing and eclectic soundtrack.
Cut to 14 years later, Forbidden Zone floating in the back of my mind and my dear friend and colleague, Michael Holmes brings it up out of the blue:
Michael: “Have you ever seen a movie called Forbidden Zone?”
Me: “Yeah! That movie is crazy!”
Michael: “I think I wanna adapt it for the stage…you wanna direct?”
Fear immediately bubbled up in my brain. How was I going to stage this? How I was going to be faithful to the movie while making an original staged musical its own thing? Where am I going to find someone to fill the shoes of Herve Villachaize?
Well, as I write this many of these questions have yet to be answered. But after Michael and I met with Richard Elfman and his business partner Jack Murphy it became clear that we had the full support of Forbidden Zone’s Master. As anyone who knows him will tell you, Richard’s energy and passion is second to none and absolutely infectious… I felt inspired.
As Michael and I, along with our amazing production team, embark on this journey to the Sixth Dimension we have many challenges to overcome. But we are determined to bring back to life Fausto, Doris, Frenchy and all of the beautifully insane characters that inhabit the Forbidden Zone! We look forward to seeing you all there in May!
- Scott Leggett