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Tarantino in Concert: A soundtrack musical

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On the Record performs Tarantino in Concert at DBA in Los Angeles in April.
  • On the Record performs Tarantino in Concert at DBA in Los Angeles in April.

Tarantino in Concert co-creator Shane Scheel says he's "had a hard time" describing his show over the years. It's not traditional musical theater. It's not a rock concert. From all appearances, it doesn't look like the kind of jukebox musical you might reluctantly watch after puking on the King Cobra because you just need to find somewhere air conditioned to sit down.

So what is it then? The production consists of "live re-enactments of scenes" from eight Tarantino films "mashed up inside a rock and roll concert," says Scheel. And it comes to Indy with Tarantino's approval and after a string of high-profile performances at places like SXSW and the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Here's another term to work with: Scheel calls Tarantino in Concert "a true mash-up. We don't spend ten minutes in one movie and then move to another. You'll be sitting in the diner with Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega, she'll be telling the story of Fox Force Five — and then we blend that right in to the Vivica Fox scene from Kill Bill — and then we seamlessly go back into the diner where she finishes the story."

On the Record performs Tarantino in Concert at DBA in Los Angeles in April.
  • On the Record performs Tarantino in Concert at DBA in Los Angeles in April.

For the Record, the L.A.-based company behind the show, have done so well with Tarantino in Concert that, this year, they opened a space of their own in L.A. which they can program year-round. Let's take the story from the beginning: "Many years ago, I noticed there was this vast amount of talent in Los Angeles that was relocating to New York, and I started producing these piano bar parties in Hollywood," says Scheel. "After we had done that for a little bit, we decided we should do some theme nights. So one night, we gathered a group of friends together to sing the soundtrack from a Tarantino film."

Things just rolled on from there, with the company first doing concerts at a '60s-themed bar, then taking them on the road. Beyond Tarantino, For the Record has drawn from the soundtracks of Baz Luhrman ("a wildly theatrical production where a lot of people die," Scheel says), Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers, John Hughes, Paul Thomas Anderson, Garry and Penny Marshall and Robert Zemeckis.

Quentin Tarantino approves of this performance.
  • Quentin Tarantino approves of this performance.

But For the Record has had the most success with Tarantino, whose films Scheel loved before he started performing the songs from them. On that note, what's his favorite song from a Tarantino film — or rather, what song does he think was used most effectively? "I'm still a big fan of 'Stuck in the Middle with You' from Reservoir Dogs. That was a big inspiration for us to dive into this world where theater and rock and roll meet."

And does he amplify or downplay the violence in Tarantino's films, which plays so deliciously off of his film's soundtracks? "There's definitely a violent edge to the show, which I think often scares people away. But I often think that his violence is done with a comic book feeling. His most gruesome scenes are done with a wink. That's what makes it work for us — we don't have to be too literal with anything. There's gunshots, there's language, we chop people's ears off — but somehow the audience laughs."

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