Cohl, Bell Dig Into Classic Meat Loaf

Bell Media has joined forces with Michael Cohl for a theatrical version of Meat Loaf’s classic album Bat Out Of Hell.  

Bell Media, a media giant responsible for numerous Canadian television, radio and digital media assets, decided that this would be its first major foray into live theater and invited Cohl, who was contracted several years ago to try to salvage the disastrous “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” production.

Bell’s president of media and broadcasting, Randy Lennox, and Cohl are co-producing the project, hoping to repurpose Meat Loaf’s proven popular music into the theater format, a feat that was first accomplished in Mamma Mia! with the music of ABBA.

“Bell Media’s foray into live theatrical production emphasizes our commitment to producing engaging content on diverse platforms,” Lennox said in a statement. “We are excited to bring Bat Out of Hell to the stage as our inaugural production, and look forward to capturing the heart, soul, and imagination of audiences around the world, as this musical masterpiece enters its 40th anniversary.”

The recent success of the history-based musical “Hamilton” made it clear that there is still money to be made on the stage, but by-and-large theater productions are proving to be hit-or-miss investments. The Globe and Mail referenced research suggesting that less than 33 percent of big-budget Broadway shows recouped their production expenses between 1999 and 2008.

Bell has expressed great faith in Cohl, who was described by his co-producer as the “premier live theatre promoter in the world.” The former Live Nation head lists productions of “Spamalot” and “The Lord of the Rings” on his resume.

“Bell Media has so much to offer live productions it’s surprising they haven’t been in this area before,” Cohl said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Randy and his great team.”

The production is set to be directed by Jay Sheib and will revolve around the classic Meat Loaf album, which was one of the best-selling releases ever. Composer Jim Steinman originally based the music from that LP theater music. Casting for the show is open now in the United Kingdom and the previews are slated to start February 17 at the Manchester opera House, according to FYI Music News.