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Anne Martinez swings for the fences with ‘Bat’

Updated September 28, 2022 - 6:21 am

Anne Martinez can sing it.

She can also write it, direct it, design it, costume it, produce it, choreograph it, dance it, negotiate it, sign it and promote it.

She can perform an aerial act, too, if need be.

There is not much in show business, including the business, outside of Martinez’s skill set. So, it is not a surprise the decadelong Las Vegan has won one of the principal roles in “Bat Out of Hell — The Musical,” which opens for previews this week at the Paris Theater (showtimes are 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays).

The musical is based on Meat Loaf’s classic catalog, as written by renowned composer Jim Steinman. The company is dedicating the entire open-ended run to the memories of those departed rock stars. The musical incorporates elements of “Peter Pan” and “Romeo and Juliet” in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan borough called Obsidian.

Martinez portrays Sloane, opposite Travis Cloer’s Falco, mayor of Obsidian. The two are parents of Raven (rising Las Vegas talent Alize Cruz), who has fallen in love with rebel leader Strat (Las Vegas newcomer and powerhouse rock vocalist Travis Cormier).

Martinez arrived in town 10 years ago, not for a bat but for “Bite,” the vampire-themed adult revue at the Stratosphere (now The Strat). She has since performed in “Baz” at the Palazzo Theater, her own “Alice” rock musical at several Vegas venues, “Fantasy” at Luxor and behind Terry Bradshaw, also at Luxor. She was also a touring vocalist with Engelbert Humperdinck and was featured in the ABBA tribute “Dancing Queen,” which played for a couple of months nine years ago at Planet Hollywood Resort.

Johnny Kats: We met just as you arrived in town for “Bite,” which seems like forever ago.

Anne Martinez: Many moons ago, as we said in the show. It’s been 10 years in Vegas in August.

How does this show compare to others you’ve done in Vegas?

This is the hardest music I’ve ever done in my career. Definitely. It’s epic, operatic rock. It’s just such a genre in itself. And every song is just like, bleeding, high-energy intensity, and very, very rhythmic and very specific in its rhythms. So, you’ll sing the same chorus, like, four times, but the downbeats are different each time and the accents are different each time. It requires a lot of technical concentration, while you’re singing your face off.

How have you studied your character? She is a young parent in the storyline.

We live in this huge tower that kind of looks down on these little 18-year-old renegades who are in this motorcycle gang, and they’re just full of chaos. And Falco, Travis Cloer’s character, is just trying to keep it together. But deep down he misses being a part of that. We have one child, and my character got pregnant as a very young girl, 16. Her parenting is very chaotic, because she’s very young and makes youthful mistakes. The marriage is extremely complicated, but through song interaction and memory, you see the extreme affection she has for her child.

The West End version of this musical had a lot of script, about 2½ hours, which is being cut back for the Vegas run. Does it still have a lot of dialogue?

The cool thing with this musical is that there is a book, there are lines, and they carry the show. But not too much. It’s a good balance, because we’re not sitting in a scene forever. It’s quick. And also, lyrically, where they place the songs and how they were written really gives so much information. Some of the dialogue I say is actual poetry that Jim Steinman wrote, and he was always into being young and sexy and full of energy. He never let that go, and you feel that in the musical.

A lot of Broadway and Broadway-styled shows have not worked in Las Vegas. Do you think this is the type of show that will succeed here?

I personally think it will do well. (The producers) have been really smart to cut it down to 90 minutes. They didn’t come into town with their egos on their sleeve. They came here, researched, asking those questions and making some really hard, heartbreaking cuts of songs that they didn’t want to cut. So, that alone I’ve got so much respect for because it’s hard to cut your own material. Jim was writing this since he was in college. “Bat Out of Hell” is actually the musical that he wrote, and he was trying to get it to the stage. That wasn’t working, so he said, “Let’s make it as an album.” Then it blew up. But the musical was his intention, from the beginning. That’s where it is different, and what makes it so special.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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