by Ryan Leeds
No one can accuse singer-songwriter, Duncan Sheik, of being a slacker. Between the release of his latest solo album, Legerdamain, the work he’s done on Broadway’s current revival of his Tony- and Grammy Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, the final touches he’s putting on his next Broadway venture, American Psycho, and a recent concert tour, Sheik is not letting the proverbial dust collect at his feet.
On Saturday, November 21, Sheik took to the stage at Carnegie Hall to kick off WFUV 90.7 FM’s Live at Zankel series. With his band, consisting of a bassist/cello player, drummer, and pianist, Sheik opened with 2 somber numbers from his latest release. Clad in semi-casual black garb and standing at the keyboard, Sheik promised his audience that, “it will get more exciting as the evening goes on.” He then shared about visiting a small English town and taking daily jogs, an experience which inspired his next song “Summer Mourning.”
With the help of the current cast of Spring Awakening, Sheik presented two numbers from that show, “Mama Who Bore Me” and “I Don’t Do Sadness.” Picking up the tempo, he played a cut from the latest album “Photograph” and dedicated it to Nora. “Hopefully I won’t f*** it up,” he mused.
Stage star Jennifer Damiano joined him in two selections promoting American Psycho: “Seduction” and “A Girl Before.” Damiano will play leading lady, Jean. Assuming the leading man role of Patrick Bateman (which will be played by Benjamin Walker), Sheik joked that he’d have to work on his abs. Both numbers perfectly embody the psychological eeriness captured in novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis’s commentary on wealth and greed. Audiences will have the chance to hear the full score when the tuner opens on Broadway in March. Sheik closed the show with another piece from the show, “This is not an Exit.”
Other selections from his new album included “Bicycle Thief,” “Distant Lovers,” “Birmingham,” and the album’s final cut, “So There.”
Alice By Heart is yet another stage show to which Sheik is attached, along with his Spring Awakening writing partner Steven Sater. The show, a darker look at the classic Alice in Wonderland story premiered in London in 2012, and Sheik hinted that New Yorkers may see a commercial production at MCC Theater.
True to his roots and his fan base, Sheik concluded the evening with, “Barely Breathing”—the song that propelled him to the top of the pop charts in the late 90s.
Ryan Leeds is a freelance theater journalist who lives in Manhattan. He is the Chief Theater Critic for Manhattan Digest and a frequent contributor to Dramatics Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @Ry_Runner or on Facebook.