From the Chico Enterprise-Record:

Jerry Miller, who wrote and directed Shakespeare in the Park's 16th season premiere production, "Oedipus Rocks!" said the inspiration was none other than William Shatner.

"About 15 years ago, I saw a Canadian film of a play. It starred William Shatner. He was only 18 or 19. It was in mask! But there was no mistaking his voice. I was absolutely fascinated at this play in mask. It was such a powerful thing. And, it just would not leave my head."

Four years ago, with script royalty fees out of their price range, Miller and Marcel Daguerre, two of the foursome who adopted the summer theater company, wrote their first musical. Miller took the role of writer-lyricist and Daguerre became composer-band leader.

"In the past," said Miller, "we used '50s, '60s, '70s rock hits and created a story around them." In contrast, he said, "Oedipus Rocks!' is ... the story by Sophocles, Oedipus Rex.' It's a rock n' roll musical. Our songs are rock/pop numbers."

The plot of a classical Greek tragedy translates well into a rock musical, Miller said. "There's so much irony in Oedipus Rex' that lends itself to dark humor." Besides, he added, "Greek tragedies already incorporate a choral element."

Accordingly, in "Oedipus Rocks!" songs take the place of choral recitation and monologues to move the action along. "The text and the dialogue (of the musical) is all new but the story and the events are unchanged," he said.

Miller adapted the script from the William Butler Yeats translation used in the Shatner film, and Miller promised the audience, "tons of fun," as well as "both an eyeful and an earful. All the (ancient Greek) actors had to use masks. They worked in these large amphitheaters and you couldn't see the stage or any expression unless you were in the first couple rows, so they created masks so their qualities and their character's could be seen at great distances. They're fascinating to watch because masks create a sort of magical quality where you can see the expressions changing You project it from the voice, the body language -- You can actually feel emotions coming off the mask."

The director noted Shakespeare in the Park's presentation of "Oedipus Rocks!" is a perfect fit for the pageantry of the grand Cedar Grove setting in Bidwell Park. Also, for the second year, a castle format replaces the former "Old Globe" replica, providing more seating as well as a more flexible stage.

Finally, Miller noted that he is "proudest that the show will be so unlike anything else anybody's seen, at least in this town."

OMG ... taking inspiration from hearing William Shatner singing? Then applying it to Sophocles somehow? Yikes ... and why has all that ABBA stuff from Momma Mia suddenly pushed the Kurt Cobain earworm out of my head? gag ....