Michael Shilling’s novel Rock Bottom is going to be a musical!

The Landless Theatre Company in Washington DC will present Rock Bottom (A Rock Opus) based on the novel by our very own Michael Shilling. The musical is a collaboration between Michael Shilling, Landless Artistic Director Andrew Lloyd Baughman and award-winning songwriter/musician Talia Segal. The production is directed by Melissa Baughman (Diamond Dead, 2008 Best Musical Pick of the Capital Fringe).

Rock Bottom is the story of the final day in the life of a rock band as it crashes and burns. The Blood Orphans were supposed to be the next big thing in rock, but today they find themselves washed up in Amsterdam, where bands go to die: a coke-fueled female manager, a sex addict drummer with a dark secret, a disgruntled bass player with a skin condition, a mistreated guitarist, and a born-again Buddhist frontman. It’s a darkly comic tour of frustration, danger, excitement, and just possibly, redemption.

Michael Shilling has extensive life experience as a rock musician. Rock Bottom was published in 2009 by Back Bay Books/Little Brown, and has earned rave reviews, including the label “best rock’n’roll novel ever written” by Houston Press.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think Rock Bottom would be musicalized, but now, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense,” said Shilling. “The book’s characters, cranky as they can be, are just born drama queens. So taking the story to this new medium feels very right.”

Landless Artistic Director Andrew Lloyd Baughman discovered the book while perusing a local bookstore for material in 2009. “It’s my Quixotic quest to forge the rock musical that actually works,” said Baughman. “It’s tough to filter through the voice of musical theatre characters, but the characters in Michael’s novel were so honest and compelling. I felt I have known them all in my own band experiences. This material has true rock potential.”

We agree and hope that our DC readers will check out the show. It’s playing at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. It runs from July 15 through August 7. Check out rockbottommusical.com for more details.

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