Better watch out, Dee Snider’s coming to town


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Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Hear those bells ringing? Hear those guitars wailing? That’s “Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale,” which will make its world premiere Nov. 4 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.

Heavy metal legend Dee Snider announced the opening of his new musical during an Oct. 15 press conference at the Kathleen Mullady Theater at Loyola University, 1125 W. Loyola Ave. 

Snider, the lead singer of the ‘80s heavy metal band Twisted Sister, is known for hits “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” as well as for his fight against Tipper Gore and the Parents Musical Resource Center about censoring music. Now, Snider has written his first musical. 

He said the project was born from a desire for a new creative endeavor, something he had never done before.

“My whole life is looking for that [creativity],” Snider said. “I want to have that feeling again—that first time-feeling. I’m blessed with a rock ‘n’ roll career, but after a while, its doing the same thing over and over again. Even with new music, you’ve been there and done that, so it’s hard to find a new experience, and this has that feeling of a first time.”

“Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale” came out of what was originally an idea for a concept album to follow up Twisted Sister’s 2006 Christmas album, A Twisted Christmas, Snider said.

“This story came along, and I said, ‘Hey, let’s do kind of The Wall or Tommy sort of thing,” Snider said. “A story that we could perform in concert, which would have us doing some degree of acting as a fictitious band called Daisy Cutter. ”

The musical tells the story of a band called Daisy Cutter and follows the band members as they sell their souls to the devil for fame and success but find the true meaning of Christmas instead, according to Snider.

Adam Hunter, the director of “Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale,” said the show is made up of actors who are also musicians in order to present the feel of a real rock ‘n’ roll band on stage.

“Once they were hired back in June, they took it upon themselves to get together and start developing that relationship a band has,” Hunter said. “They’ve collectively come together and shared. Some have more music experience, some have more acting experience. They’re rubbing off on each other in the right way, and they sound great.”

Hunter said that apart from writing the script, Snider also takes the role as the storyteller.

“It’s a Christmas tale in the sort of classic television special where there’s a narrator sitting in front of a fire place,” Hunter said. “So Dee [Snider] is our narrator, commenting on the story and pushing the story forward, so he’s telling this tale to the audience.”

Scooter Pietsch, script supervisor, said the show does a great job of combining the excitement of rock ‘n’ roll and the joy of Christmas.

“It’s funny, and it’s also heartwarming,” Pietsch said. “[Snider] wanted a show that he wanted to see, that his kids wanted to see and his grandkids wanted to see, and it is that kind of show, despite mine and other people’s desire of putting the occasional cuss word in there. We have been banned from [swearing], so it’s completely clean yet funny.”

Snider said Chicago was the perfect location for the show’s world premiere because of its status as a renowned theater city, its history with rock ‘n’ roll and its reputation for its celebration of Christmas.

“You want to find a town with a rich theater history, which [Chicago has],” Snider said. “When you say, ‘It did great in Chicago,’ that means something to people, as opposed to saying, ‘it did great in Phoenix.’ What do they know? It’s hot—sorry Phoenix, but it’s true.”

Snider said he is extremely proud of the musical and that it has been an exciting experience for him since its conception.

“I’m more excited to talk about something I’m doing that hasn’t sold anything than to talk about my past,” Snider said. “Like a kid, I wrote something on a piece a paper, and now there are millions of dollars being spent bringing it to life. I feel like a kid at Christmas.”

“Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale runs Nov. 4  – Jan. 5 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water   Tower Place.