Exorcistic, a rock parody inspired by a certain1971 novel and the William Friedkin film made from it, showcases Merlin as a rapping priest inspired by Max von Sydow's Father Merrin. Above, the show poster for the musical's Los Angeles fringe production.
Credit Thomas Hargis / Steve Allen Theater
In Re-Animator: The Musical, L.A.-based actor and opera singer Jesse Merlin plays Dr. Hill, a sex-obsessed surgeon who quite literally loses his head. (And, um, comes back from the dead.)
What do a reanimated deviant surgeon, a cannibalistic serial killer and a demon-plagued, vomit-spattered priest have in common? They're all characters in camp stage musicals inspired by horror films — and they're all played by the same classically trained opera singer.
His name is Jesse Merlin, and he looks a little like a young, untanned George Hamilton. But he has a bass-baritone voice that would be perfect for Gilbert and Sullivan.
Since that's not what Hollywood's looking for, Merlin had to scare up roles elsewhere.
Tash Aw was born in Taipei, grew up in Malaysia, and now lives in London. His first book, The Harmony Silk Factory, won the Whitbread Award for First Novel and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, preachers serve as spiritual guides for their flocks, but what happens when a preacher loses his own faith? We'll talk with one man who knows what that's like in just a few minutes. But first, anthropologists and archaeologists, of course, study the way that groups live throughout history.
The other day my 14-year-old asked me whether I would re-live my teen years for $1 million. The answer was a resounding "No!" Memories of searing humiliation still lurk in my (scarred) subconscious. The senior prom alone could keep me chatting with a psychiatrist for months. (Even though, from what I've heard, my date is happily out of the closet and a very successful interior decorator. All's well that ends well, right?) At this point, those memories should be a funny, rosy glow far in the distance. Ha.