Dead Outlaw

Previews begin Wednesday, February 28, 2024 ahead of a Sunday, March 10 opening night at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, between MacDougal & 6th Avenue – one block south of W. 3rd Street), Audible Theater’s creative home for live performances in New York. Limited engagement through Sunday, April 7, 2024.

Contact: Chris Boneau | Michelle Farabaugh | Angela Yamarone

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Dead Outlaw, a world premiere and Audible Theater's first commissioned musical, features a book by Tony Award winner Itamar Moses (The Band’s Visit), music & lyrics by Erik Della Penna & Tony Award winner David Yazbek (The Band’s VisitTootsie), and directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Band’s VisitThe Sound InsidePrayer for the French Republic). 

Elmer McCurdy was an ambitious, turn-of-the-20th-century outlaw whose death at the hands of a Western posse ended a life of failed crime and alcoholism and began a brilliant career as a mummified side-show attraction that travelled the USA for decades. By the time this journey ended, his name had been forgotten and his desiccated body was hanging in a house-of-horrors ride at an amusement park in Southern California, spray-painted a day-glo orange. Then one day, a grip for the “Six-Million Dollar Man” TV show jostled what he thought was “just a dummy” and an arm fell off, revealing a human bone and beginning a hunt for the origins of this enigma. 

David Yazbek, haunted by this true story for thirty years, told his friend and bandmate Erik Della Penna the story, and as the two of them discussed why this tale of money, ambition, fame, memory and death was so compelling, they started writing songs for a stage-piece based on this odd life and these universal yet somehow very American themes. Realizing they were onto something as unique and challenging as anything they’d heard or written before, they approached Yazbek’s The Band’s Visit collaborators Itamar Moses and David Cromer, who quickly became haunted and charmed by Elmer’s story. You will too.