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A Serial Killer Can Dream, Can't He?

To the creators of “Silence! The Musical,” it’s not Hannibal Lecter or Clarice Starling that are the main focus of the story of “The Silence of the Lambs,” it’s Buffalo Bill, the serial killer who keeps a woman imprisoned in an unknown location while the FBI tries to find him.

“He holds a special place in our hearts,” say Jon and Al Kaplan, who wrote the music and lyrics for “Silence!” which will be performed as part of the New York International Fringe Festival this month. “Buffalo Bill has maintained a cult following through the years.”

The Kaplans have gone beyond just the funny idea represented by the very title of the show and put the characters from the Oscar-winning classic movie into the shoes of characters audiences might find in a Broadway musical.

“Everyone has their ‘I Want’ song,“ they say. “We’ve always loved the Menken-Ashman Disney ones like Belle’s and Ariel’s [heroines of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’]. With musical theater, you’re able to get inside characters’ heads in ways you’re unable to in film. Buffalo Bill, for instance, has very little dialogue in the movie, but through several songs in our musical, we can describe anything and everything he’s feeling.”

A couple of those songs are “Are You About a Size 14?” and “Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket,” to give you some idea.

“Form his point of view, everything he’s doing is just wonderful and exciting,” the Kaplans say. “So his songs are generally upbeat or impassioned, even though the things he’s doing (like murdering) are terrible from the audience’s perspective.”

The Kaplans, who are struggling film composers, first came up with the idea two years ago in 2003 and recorded a CD of the songs they wrote. The Fringe Festival production has added several more songs to what is on their CD.

“There are so many iconic moments in that film that are ripe for song parody,” they say. “With the Fringe production, we’ve covered everything we left out the first time around. There are many new songs and the overall running time of the music has more than doubled.”

Silence! The Musical will have five performances at the Tesseract Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, at various times and dates between August 19-28.



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