Just under 20 years ago, Tori Amos asserted her sovereignty as her own producer and created the haunting, transporting album Boys for Pele. Nothing else sounded like it then, and nothing sounds like it now: inspired piano-and-harpsichord-based southern gothic rock epics don’t come along often. Many critics were confused by it; many of her fans consider it one of her masterworks.
Originals like Amos challenge audiences and critics alike, who, with no comparable frame of reference, often are polarized. Such was the case when it was announced that Amos would be writing the music and lyrics to a musical, The Light Princess. Created by the National Theatre of London as a work of art and unbridled imagination, the play is based on an obscure fairy tale about a princess who is so “light with grief” after her mother dies that she has no gravity. Throughout a series of devastations designed to make her cry and literally come down to earth, Princess Althea can only laugh.
Amos and the cast of the play have been hard at work in the studio, and the fruits of their labors will be revealed on October 9, when the original cast recording of The Light Princess is released. In conversation, Amos’s ongoing dedication to the project is clear: she hopes the play will make a Broadway appearance, because she wants young people to hear its message.
Tori Amos: I think it’s important that the album get out to the world. There’s some girl in Ohio that’s going to play this album and say, “this is my story, too.” And then, of course, the next step would be to take it to Broadway — with the right people. Of course, the storyline and the issues that we’re shedding light on is one that will need a brave commercial production team.