By David Browne
January 15, 2014
Now that EDM has infiltrated the pop charts and has its own upcoming EDM Awards show (by way of Dick Clark Productions, of all companies), what else does it need in its push to dominate the world? A musical. In Vegas.
At least, that’s the idea behind Kind Heaven, the in-the-works house-based theater production currently being assembled by Perry Farrell. During the last few months, Farrell has dropped hints about the project, but he’s finally ready to go public with more details about what could be the most out-there presentation of his career. “It’s a musical, but it’s written with a house sensibility,” Farrell says. “If Giorgio Moroder had written a musical, it would sound like this.”
Set in southern Thailand, Kind Heaven is, in Farrell’s words, “a love story with a very modern scenario.” In a plot set amidst the country’s sex and drug trades, the Thai government brings in soldiers to restore order and subdue insurgents, and the story shifts to a romance between one of the soldiers and a female worker in the region. Together, they retreat to “Kind Heaven,” a Buddhist monastery. “That’s where they bring the civilians they want to take out of town, and the military holds up and protects the monastery,” Farrell says. “It’s completely fictional, but I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute.”
Farrell also envisions the show as “immersive”: ticketholders will walk through it, making it more like interactive performance art than traditional theater. “It’s better than sitting in seats,” he says. “The play happens around you.” Like Tony and Tina’s Wedding? “It’s not Tony and Tina’s,” he says without missing a beat. “It’s much heavier, and in a war-torn region.”
Farrell says he currently has no plans to star in the production himself: “I can’t commit to being in Vegas for a residency. I have other things to do, like Lollapalooza.” But he and French producer and DJ Joachim Garraud (who’s collaborated with the likes of David Guetta) have written and recorded most of the music. Farrell and his wife Etty Lau Farrell plan to test out the tracks when they hit the DJ circuit soon. It’s still unclear when and where the show will be produced (and who will star) and Farrell has yet to sign a deal with a venue in Vegas — but he recently visited the city to inspect potential theaters, including one across the street from a prominent hotel.
One aspect is clear, though: Thanks to Kind Heaven, no one should expect to hear from Jane’s Addiction for some time. “This is a pretty massive undertaking,” Farrell says, “so Jane’s Addiction is going to take a hiatus. It’ll be a couple of years before you see Jane’s again.”
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