Bryan Batt Press - Genre
Genre Magazine, December 1999

Genre

Yeah, Yeah, yeah, so the critics panned Saturday Night Fever, the musical. I mean, what did we expect? It's hardly The Iceman Cometh. Be that as it may, with something like $4 million in advance tickets sales (at $85 a pop), the producers are hardly crying. Neither are its stars.

"It's obviously not meant to appeal to the theater snobs," says Bryan Batt, a scene-stealer as Monty, the DJ in the Broadway production, "but the audiences love it. They're jumping to their feet and dancing. This is just sheer entertainment and I'm having a lot of fun."

Looking like a cross between porn star Ron Jeremy and Kenny G, Batt, as Monty, belts out '70s standards Disco Inferno and Disco Duck with equal amounts of verve, tacky gusto and bawdy abandon. "Oh, Monty's a letch," spews Batt. "He loves women. He wants to fuck them all. If it's warm and alive, he'll do it."

This is a far cry from Batt's other scene-stealing role - that of Darius, the role he originated in Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey. As the hilarious Cats dancer, Batt played the part not only in the New York and Los Angeles runs, but also in the Orion Classics film, where he played opposite Patrick Stewart. His other big Broadway credits include Sunset Boulevard, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats and Starlight Express.

Raised in New Orleans, Batt's grandfather owned the famed Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park, a Louisiana institution for over 60 years. "I only performed there once in a band called The Singles," Batt recalls. "We wore very tight jeans and bandanas. We thought we were so damn hot. I was also in another band called Barbie and Mystery Dates."

A self-described sweet Southern boy, Batt remembers being shocked the first time he saw the movie Saturday Night Fever. "I was a freshman in high school, and I thought, 'These are the worst people alive!' I was a very naive kid. I don't want to say sheltered but... I mean, here were people getting pregnant and doing drugs and cursing - that was just wrong," he laughs. "These were just bad kids."

Batt's a long way from home now, though, and if ticket sales are any indication, he'll be deeply ensconced in the world of Bay Ridge, cocaine, Farrah flips, Rocky posters and rum and cokes for a long, long time. - Seth Flicker