The much-hyped Panic! The Musical is set to make its theatrical debut next Monday in New York City, and every time we run a news story about its developments, there seems to be some confusion on our reader’s part. The initial press coverage and subsequent hype may be to blame for the misconceptions surrounding this production, so we’re going to take the time to clear things up.
Panic! The Musical is in no way associated with the band Panic! At The Disco. What does this mean? It means the band do not endorse or support the musical and, if they were feeling particularly black-hearted, could have the whole production shut down. (Copyright’s a bitch.) Though the creative forces behind the musical have stated their intentions to use the band’s music in the production as well as for inspiration, this is not really a Panic! At The Disco musical. The situation here is far different from Green Day’s American Idiot musical, which was conceived after director Michael Mayer listened to the album and subsequently approached the band for permission to do a theatrical adaptation.
The key difference between Mayer and Panic! creative director Alexis Acar—aside from age, experience and 14 previous Broadway productions under the belt—is permission. Without it, it’s not clear how far Acar and her team can make it. But after speaking with her, she seems no less determined in the face of this. “I know this doesn’t sound the best, but I don’t really take no for an answer,” she says. “I always see a no as a yes in disguise. Never say never, because a no can be changed.” (A representative for Panic! At The Disco did not return our request for comment on this matter.) “If Panic! were to shut us down, I do feel we have a fanbase that are very supportive. I have no doubt they would fight for the show—just as I would fight for the show.”
She points out that the musical team are currently in the process of negotiating for the full rights to use the band’s songs, but that even without the rights, they’ve already achieved in months what would normally take years. “We could lose it all tomorrow,” says Acar. “It’s a negative way to think, but it’s a real way to think. Still, I can appreciate how far we’ve gotten and all of the success that we’ve had. We have producers that want to take this show to [London’s] West End, take it to Broadway, take it to LA—but, obviously, we cannot do that until we get the 110 percent permission from the band themselves. You’re never gonna know unless you try. I tried—and here we are.”
It’s a wonderful idea: bringing the music of P!ATD to life through a theatrical medium. It’s also a very popular idea: The initial announcement seemed to awaken a dormant need and sense of excitement fans may have not even been aware they had. Who can blame them? The very thought of “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” being vaulted up to something like the grandiose scale of Broadway is exhilarating. It’s almost a wonder it hasn’t happened yet. “How is this not already a thing?” Acar asks. But if it were to happen, shouldn’t it be the band’s choice? >>>