PCS Blog

Top 5 Musical Influences of LIZZIE creator Steven Cheslik-deMeyer

Posted by Alice Hodge | 03 June 2014

LIZZIE co-creators: (l-r) Tim Maner, Alan Stevens Hewitt and Steven Cheslik-deMeyer.

In the first installment of this three part series, we asked co-creator Steven Cheslik-deMeyer (above, far right) for his musical influences behind LIZZIE.


My big influences on the LIZZIE music, in no particular order:

1. Heart (of course): Though I like it all, I think of 70s Heart and 80s Heart as almost 2 different bands. The more stripped-down folk-based heavy metal of their 70s records, especially Little Queen, runs deep in LIZZIE. But the 80s stuff is cool, too -- as you can tell we don't shy away from a big singalong chorus. Ann Wilson's voice has been a touchstone from the beginning.



2. Patti Smith: I've gone back and listened to Horses many many times during the creation of LIZZIE. Very inspired by the raw emotion, the poetry, the idea that rock and roll has a transcendent, salvific quality.



3. The Runaways: for the aggression and the sex and the fuck you.


4. Lita Ford: I was obsessed with "Kiss Me Deadly: right around the time we started writing the first songs for LIZZIE. All that raunchy melodrama teetering on the edge of camp. Girl is not subtle. The tone and attitude of LIZZIE is very influenced by Lita Ford.




5. Grace Slick/Jefferson Airplane: Along with Ann Wilson, hers is the voice. We weren't really thinking so explicitly about it at the beginning, but I think that that style of rock belt is what makes it such an obvious fit to tell the Lizzie Borden story as a hard rock musical. Listen to her voice: it's not that far removed from Ethel Merman.



When we wrote the first (and second, and ...) version of this show, the idea of musical theater as rock concert was out of left field. There was no rock and roll on Broadway. It had been a long time since Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. There was no Spring Awakening or Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, let alone American Idiot, none of it, not even Hedwig.



Check out Part 2 of the LIZZIE Influences series with Alan Stevens Hewitt


And Part 3 of the LIZZIE Influences series with Tim Maner


LIZZIE runs May 24 — June 2





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