Scott Hayes can’t recall ever being directly compared to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, but he's been told on more than one occasion that his celebrity doppelgänger is Anthony Hopkins.
The resemblance likely came into play during casting for SILENCE! The Musical!, a 90-minute theatrical "unauthorized" parody of Jonathan Demme’s 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs, which starred Anthony Hopkins as Lecter, the cannibalistic serial killer, and Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling.
Though SILENCE! The Musical! was created in 2005, this is its first appearance in San Francisco. It will premiere at the Mission's Victoria Theatre (2961 16th St.) tonight, and run through Saturday, February 25th.
Hayes told us that he remembers seeing Silence of the Lambs in theaters when it first came out in the early ‘90s.
“The whole audience was on the edge of their seats, screaming at times,” Hayes said. “With so much tension, it left an impression on people.”
Turning the famously tense thriller into a musical was part of the appeal for the show's creators, Jon and Al Kaplan.
“'What’s the last movie that you’d ever make a musical from?' That’s really the idea that this show came from,” said Victoria Lang, one of the show’s original producers.
The show was a success, winning Best Show at the New York International Fringe Festival when it premiered there in 2005. It's also been performed in Chicago, Tampa, London, and Los Angeles.
“I couldn’t resist working on it, because it was just too funny, too outrageous, and too hilarious,” Lang said. “Jaws drop.”
The musical's auditions were the first time Hayes learned of its existence, and he said wasn’t sure what to expect from a production that boasted songs like "Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket" and a chorus line of tap-dancing lambs.
But that didn’t stop him from auditioning, and after more than a month of auditions and call-backs, he was awarded the role of Dr. Lecter.
Playing one of the most iconic serial killers in cinematic history is "kind of empowering,” Hayes told us. “He’s omnipresent over everything that’s happening.”
Hayes also spends a large part of the show wearing Lecter's famous mask, which "really has an affect on everybody on stage,” he said. “I have to do a lot of stuff with my eyes, including not blinking for long periods of times, which only adds to [Lecter’s] creepiness.”
Creepiness aside, SILENCE! The Musical! is intended to be a comedy, and Hayes said that he laughed out loud numerous times when he first read the script. Even after months of rehearsals, he told us, the cast still sometimes struggles to not crack up onstage.
The whimsical Lecter said he's excited to finally share SILENCE! The Musical! with Bay Area audiences.
“I really think that San Francisco is going to eat this show up,” Hayes said. “No pun intended.”
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