The hair-metal singer and star of 'Jekyll and Hyde' talks about his Broadway debut

By Ann Limpert and Clarissa Cruz
Updated August 11, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

He sold 22 million records by the time he hit his early 20s. He was the tortured screech behind such late-’80s cigarette-lighter classics as ”I Remember You” and ”18 and Life.” He had, arguably, the best hair in pre-grunge rockdom. So how much of a stretch was it for former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, 32, to morph into the crotch-grabbing, needle-toting star of the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde? Lazing in a white bathrobe in his midtown-hotel suite, the gangly rocker told EW what it’s like to be Bach on a different stage.

On the magic of the theater: ”I love the gorgeous clothes, I love the sets — it’s just so classy. It’s so classy when I beat the priest to death with a billy club and slit the hooker’s throat.”

On playing out Jekyll and Hyde‘s erotic scenes: ”At the beginning, it was very hard. And it’s still hard sometimes. I just said to [my costar Coleen Sexton], ‘Listen, there’s something straight I gotta get between you and me.’ But now that I’ve done 20 or 30 shows, it’s not so hard.”

On Method acting: ”The whole play is like a parallel of my life — the whole drug thing, the whole castigated-from-society thing, the sex thing.”

On role models: ”When I first saw Jekyll and Hyde, I didn’t know if it was schmaltzy or Barry Manilow or something — I had no idea. But when I watched [predecessor] Jack Wagner play the part, I believed in him the same way I believe in, like, Sean Penn. He made me see how cool Broadway could be.”

On stage fans: ”I got a letter yesterday that said, ‘I was your lover in your past life. This was in the 1800s. You were disabled and ugly and nobody liked you. Your name back then was Joseph Booze.’ I’m not lying to you! ‘You died in my arms of polio. How do I know this? Because of your beautiful singing voice and body.’ It was this crazy letter that said I was married to this chick in a past life and now she’s coming to the show. I’m like, ‘Okay … but come in November!”’ (Baywatcher David Hasselhoff takes over Bach’s role Oct. 15.)