Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Animal House strips Barenaked Ladies

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TORONTO -- Barenaked Ladies say a lack of time is behind their split with the upcoming Broadway musical Animal House.

Executive producer Matty Simmons revealed earlier this week the tunes the Canadian pop group created for the stage version of the 1978 comedy film "just didn't work."

And he said Dirty Rotten Scoundrels composer David Yazbek took over the music and lyrics a few months ago.

In a new statement provided to The Canadian Press, Ladies frontman Ed Robertson says the band is "disappointed that things didn't work out" between them and the show.

He says they worked hard on the songs "but ultimately couldn't give any more time to the project," noting they had a record and a tour to work on.

Robertson says, "Sadly, Broadway had to take a back seat for longer than they were willing to wait," and adds the band wishes them well with the project.

The stage version of National Lampoon's Animal House is based on the John Belushi comedy about a rowdy frat house of misfits.

Simmons, who co-founded National Lampoon, said Thursday of the original score for the stage adaptation: "I mean it just wasn't something we liked."

"We wanted music that would fit the story and the nature of the story and the raucousness of the story. The movie has a personality and the music had to suit that, you know?" he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

"And it had to be good. I mean, I'm very big on music where when you walk out of the theatre you remember the music. Most musicals nowadays you don't (remember the music). Years ago when Rodgers and Hammerstein and (Irving) Berlin and people like that were writing music on Broadway, you walk out, you remember eight songs. Now you're lucky if you remember one."

Simmons said writer Michael Mitnick has also had to overhaul his first draft of the book for the show, which he expects will be ready in late 2014.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 G2

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