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Grunge Musical Could Feature Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains Songs

Kevin Winter / Frank Micelotta / Paul Hawthorne, Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Frank Micelotta / Paul Hawthorne, Getty Images

A musical theatre project underway in Seattle aims to explore the roots of the grunge movement – and the show could feature music by Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and other icons of the genre, producers have said.

Seattle Repertory Theatre has commissioned the writing of an “original, fiction story” set in the early ‘90s. Variety reports that the plot is in “early days” development by creator and director Wendy C. Goldberg with playwright Matt Schatz.

The senior team also includes former Nirvana manager Janet Billing Rich, who’s now a music licensing executive, and BMG operative Elyse Cogan. The tie-up with BMG means producers potentially have access to material held by that label, including tracks by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.

It’s thought that the death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell in May has contributed to an increased interest in the story of the grunge movement. Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room at the age of 52, and his passing was ruled a suicide by investigators. Nirvana mainman Kurt Cobain died of a shotgun wound in 1994, aged 27, at the height of his fame; while Alice In Chains’ original vocalist Layne Staley died of a drug overdose in 2002.

Variety noted: “The grunge movement that emerged from the Seattle music scene in the 1990s has proven enduringly influential. The recent death of Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden frontman who was a significant figure in grunge, brought the era back to the spotlight and elicited new appreciation for its music and its key players.”

Since the lyrics of any songs used will become part of the play’s storyline, the songwriters will be credited as co-authors of the musical. Further details will be revealed in due course.

Grunge developed as a rock subculture in the Seattle area in the mid ‘80s and was sometimes referred to as the “Seattle sound,” and spearheaded by releases on the Sub Pop record label. The blend of punk and metal, merged with deliberately introspective and dark lyrical themes, achieved global success when Nirvana and others broke through to the mainstream in the early ‘90s – wiping out many of the competing rock and pop genres of the moment.

Gallery: 25 Most Influential Grunge Albums Ever

Next: The Most Influential Grunge Musicians

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