“I hear buzzing; I hear buzzing in my brain.
And when I hear it, well it makes me feel insane!”
With those opening two lines from the song, “Slaughter House Blues”, Broadway was knocked on its ass when, Chainsaw! The Musical opened on October 31st, 1999.
I was lucky enough to see the opening night performance of Chainsaw! with a sold out crowd at the Florence Lawrence theatre.
Needless to say, Chainsaw! made history that night. The original cast included John Stamos as Buck, John Goodman as Leatherface, Marlon Brando as Grandpa and Sarah Jessica Parker as Debbie, The Lone Survivor.
Buttressed by some incredible music and amazing stage direction, both the critics and the public were taken by the musical based on the 1972 film, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. New York Times critic, Alan Shay called Chainsaw!, “A bloody great time with more bite than anything that has graced the Great White Way in eons!”
One of the play’s most touching moments was when Goodman’s Leatherface and Parker’s Debbie sing the duet, “Just The Touch of Your Skin” – there was not a dry eye in the house after that number. Conversely, the show stopper was Brando’s Grandpa who owned the stage when he sang, “Grandpa’s Bringing the Hammer Down Tonight!”, many of you are familiar with this song as both Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston covered it on subsequent albums of their own (Bab’s of course changed the narrator’s sex with “Granny’s Bringing the Hammer Down Tonight,” while Houston engaged Puff Daddy to produce a dance version of the number).
Sweeping the Tony Awards the following year, Chainsaw! brought its creators, and cast untold accolades causing the show to become the must-see event when coming to New York City.
Today, Chainsaw! (with its fourth new cast) is the hardest ticket to score, next to Hairspray, and word has it that Hollywood is chomping at the bit to bring it to the silver screen by next Christmas.