'Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale'
Iconic rocker creates a musical with a combination of classic carols and headbanging anthems
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THERE are many things that come to mind in association with Christmas, but leather-clad hard rocker Dee Snider is not one of them. That, however, is about to change––and change in a big way.
Snider, known primarily as the lead vocalist and frontman for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, has created a unique tribute to the holidays with Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale, a world-premiere musical that will be presented on the Broadway Playhouse stage from November 4 through January 4.
In the production that is on track for Broadway next year, Snider will do his own rendition of classic Christmas tunes, what he calls “rocking them out.” Imagine a traditional Christmas carol performed to the tune and cadence of Twisted Sister’s classic “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” “Christmas is a big holiday in our house, and five years ago it dawned on me, ‘Where’s the rock and roll Christmas show?’ Everybody was raised on rock, so I took it upon myself to create a show that’s family-friendly, a little edgy, with a little rock, but it allows you to walk out feeling Christmassy,” says Snider, who wrote the musical and will be performing in each production. “It’s a family show; it’s a fun show; and it’s time for a rock and roll Christmas show. This is it!”
The story is about the struggling rock and roll band Daisy Cutter, a group that’s still looking for major stardom even though the decade of heavy metal has long passed them by. In a last-ditch effort, the four musicians sell their souls to the devil to fulfill their wildest heavy metal dreams, but Snider says after signing that pact with the devil, the group, for some reason, “can’t stop singing Christmas songs.”
During preparation for the show, Snider, a lifelong New Yorker and an alumnus of TV’s Celebrity Apprentice, moved to Chicago this summer so he could be hands-on every day at rehearsals to ensure that his vision for the 90-minute production is actually played out on stage. In addition to writing the play, Snider, who is a central character in the cast, has pledged to perform in each show, “even if they have to prop me up,” until the run is complete and he returns to the New York area.
While in Chicago––where Twisted Sister has performed numerous times––Snider has made a seamless transition to the city. He has enjoyed Chicago’s hospitality, and has taken every opportunity to mingle with fans at the area’s hot spots, including the wide range of restaurants. His re-acquaintance with the Chicagoland area has prompted the singer/songwriter/actor/radio personality to wholeheartedly agree with his wife Suzette, who says, “Chicago is New York’s prettier little sister.”
Whether in Chicago or New York, when it comes to family life, Snider, contrary to popular thought, is much more traditional than his heavy-metal image suggests. He has been with his wife for 38 years, has four children and three grandchildren. For him, the Christmas holidays have always been a special time to be with family. “I’m a real traditional family guy. You might look at me and not think so, but my life at home is sane and wonderful and nice,” says Snider, who grew up singing in the church and school choirs. “We have a huge Christmas tree and all of the decorations. And that’s part of the reason for me writing Rock & Roll Christmas Tale. Every year we go into the city [New York] to see the Christmas tree, go to a show and all that stuff. I felt that we are at a time where there are so many people who have been raised on rock. So now my granddaughter and I can enjoy a show that rocks––as long as it has a heart for Christmas.”
Even in his Twisted Sister heyday, Snider defied the classic rocker image by shunning alcohol and drugs, to the point that he described himself as “an alien in the rock community.” Today, that same “alien” still embraces Christmas with the enthusiasm of a youngster, and he has brought his love of the season to the Chicago stage. So Christmas classics such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas will be joined by another possible Christmas classic-to-be when the curtain goes up on Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale.
For more information and tickets, go to www.broadwayinchicago.com. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.
Dee Snider sang songs from Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale during the "Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert" at Millennium Park.
Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale includes Christmas carols sung to the rhythm and beat of such Twisted Sister songs as "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock."