Ninja Turtles: The Impossible Story Behind The Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour

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It was August 1990, and there was no more popular franchise than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The comic book that two creators–Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird–created as a joke and printed in their garage had spawned a hit animated series and, now, a blockbuster movie. Following a March 30 release, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie went on to earn over $202 million at the box office. The sky was seemingly the limit on what could be done with this property. Then the next step for the franchise was revealed: The Ninja Turtles were becoming a band and going on a live stage tour that would eventually take them around the world, pitting them nightly against their archnemesis The Shredder and his gang of Foot Clan thugs in an attempt to save rock and roll.

It was unlike anything that had ever been done before. This wasn’t a Broadway musical about a cartoon character like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark or a touring show akin to Disney on Ice. This was a concert with a storyline. On the surface, the move to give the characters instruments, release an album, and go on a concert tour heavily sponsored by Pizza Hut seemed like a quick cash grab; a chance for the creators of the Ninja Turtles and a company that serves up their dish of choice–there’s a song on the album called “Pizza Power,” after all–to capitalize on the mainstream popularity the property was enjoying. The real story behind the Coming Out of Their Shells tour, though, is very different.

In reality, this entire endeavor was born out of a desire two “punky little kids” had to change musical theater. “I started out as a musical theater performer in New York, working as a dancer and a singer in musical theater and industrials,” Bob Bejan, who co-wrote the album and wrote and produced the live show, told GameSpot. At the time, though–the mid-1980s–Broadway musicals were a lot different than they are in 2020, and Bejan had the first-person experience to know it after performing in revivals of both West Side Story and Grease. “There really [was] not, other than like Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, a lot of rock and roll in the theater like it is now,” he said.

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Source: Game Spot Mashup