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Frankenspell Superstar
Tale of a Man-Made Messiah
Cover
Frankenspell Superstar
available on HearNow, CDBaby, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon and Spotify

Jump to:  Streamable Track List  •  Bonus Tracks

Frankenspell Superstar is a 60-minute one-act rock opera that brings to life the fable of Dr. Frankenstein's Creature in a new and inspiring way. Focusing on the short life of the Creature, Frankenspell Superstar chronicles his struggles to understand the world, his escape into the countryside, and his encounters with fear and rejection. In the mountains, he finds a little girl who is not afraid of him. Unlike most movie versions, the Creature does not accidentally harm the girl, but learns from her what it means to be human.

Unlike Mary Shelley's original story, this Creature is not immortal nor indestructible. As an allegory closer to current culture, this Creature is only a temporary creation, an experiment Victor Frankenstein considers more of a beta test, never intending it to last. When the Creature flees into the mountains to freedom, he begins to decay. He must return to his cursed creator to ask to be healed.

Also unlike the original tale, Mueller's interpretation includes three different choruses. The story is told by Gypsies who speak in a whirlwind of thought and enchantment. Lab animals help add lightness and humor, freed by the Creature as he flees into the wilderness. Most interestingly there is a chorus of spirits "attached" to the separate body parts which make up the Creature.

Frankenspell Superstar was first performed in 1992 as a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and was wildly successful. The cast consisted of junior high and high school performers (see below) with a chorus of 40 elementary school children playing the part of lab animals and forest creatures. The one-hour score was subsequently rewritten for Off Broadway and presented as a 90-minute two-act, performed for an extended run at the Thirteenth Street Theatre, Manhattan.

The show was reworked 3 more times under the title Creature, performed at the legendary John Houseman Theatre (which closed in 2005) and several other venues. Characters were expanded, some drastically altered, in order to transform the show from a Disney-like family musical into an edgier adult audiecne experience. Some of the newer songs appear on Best of the CenterStage Years and/or are listed below as Bonus Tracks. Two of those songs are included in this reissued recording: "Dreams" and "One Voice".*

If you are interested in any of these scripts or scores, please contact Tobin Mueller.

CenterStage Players on this recording include: Hilde & Creature
Gypsies: Jessica Flood, Kathryn Purdy, Lisa Jarret, Lindsey Teetaert, Holly Thomas
Victor Frankenstein: Chris Vanderlinden
Elisabeth, Victor's Fiance: Holly Thomas, Bonus Track versions sung by Jessica Flood*
Frederick, Victor's Brother: Kris Larson
The Creature: Matt Knudsen, Broadway versions sung by Tobin Mueller*
Hilde, the Mountain Girl: Emily Rohm
Additional Voices: Philip Vanderlynden, Dan Jessup, Anton Mueller, Will Mueller
Elisabeth on Bonus Tracks: Jessica Flood
Composer Demos on Bonus Tracks: Tobin Mueller (all voices)
Originally recorded at Bonzai Recording Studio, Jeff Maroscek engineer
Mastered at the Factory Underground Studio, Tom Stewart engineer
Based on "Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus" by Mary Shelley

All music and lyrics written and arranged by Tobin Mueller, with the exception of themes from "Man on the Hill" and "Meet Dr. Johnson from the New School of Life" written by Tim Mueller. All background music performed by Tobin Mueller.

Click the Play buttons below to listen (website may take a moment to start streaming).

Frankenspell Superstar, original version
Play button 1 The Gypsies: Prologue [Scene script]
Play button 2 High on a Hill [Lyrics]
Play button 3 The Gypsies: What If You Could See Forever? [Scene script]
Play button 4 Frankenspell Superstar [Lyrics]
Play button 5 The Gypsies: Until It Was Too Late [Scene script]
Play button 6 The New School of Life / Run Run Away [Lyrics]
Play button 7 The Gypsies: Escaped [Scene script]
Play button 8 I'm Gonna School Ya [Lyrics]
Play button 9 The Gypsies: Learning [Scene script]
Play button 10 What We Have Learned [Lyrics]
Play button 11 One Voice (from alt version: Creature) [Lyrics]
Play button 12 Dreams (from alt version: Creature) [Lyrics]
Play button 13 The Gypsies: Was Not to Last [Scene script]
Play button 14 Must Go Back [Lyrics]
Play button 15 The Gypsies: Epilogue [Scene script]
Play button 16 When You Came [Lyrics]
Bonus Tracks - from Alternative Versions
Play button 1 Do I Know Him (from alt Broadway version of Creature) [Lyrics]
Play button 2 I Won't Leave You (Broadway Finale)
Play button 3 The Resurrection Witch (Broadway version, sung by Elizabeth*)
Play button 4 A Promise (Broadway version, sung by Victor)
Play button 5 Fire Within: Making the Creature (Broadway version with underscoring)
Play button 6 This Is It (animals' song - composer's demo)
Play button 7 The River Never Stops (Broadway composer demo, sung by The Heart/Body Parts/Chorus)
Play button 8 Shape of My Life (Jazz version featuring Woody Mankowski)
Play button 9 Against the Great Unknown (composer's demo)
Play button 10 Awake to Me / Dreams (Jazz version featuring Woody Mankowski)
Play button 11 What Is The Shape of My Life (Broadway version, sung by Victor Frankenstein)
Play button 12 One Body (Jazz instrumental version, as recorded for Flow)

For more Jazz instrumental versions of songs from Creature, see: Rain Bather

©1992/1995/2019 Tobin Mueller.

Children's Educational Music: CenterStage-Musicals
To Save the Planet, an environmental musical.
Danger Dinosaurs, about the exctinction of the dinosaurs and the importance of friends.
Music of the Planets, about the solar system.
Mickey Spleen Saves the Day, swing-jazz anatomy musical.
I Want to Know, about the history of science & invention.
The Sound of Money, about economics.
Say "Yes" to Life, anti-drug/pro-self musical.
Frankenspell Superstar, Tale of a Man-Made Messiah, based on Frankenstein.
Robin Hood and the Free People of the Forest, musical drama about freedom and revolution.
Tobin Mueller: The Best of the CenterStage Years, a 2-volume 44-track compilation.
Best Of CenterStage cover
TOBIN MUELLER: Best of the CenterStage Years - soundtrack/musicals. Compilation of 42 songs from Mueller's 9 musicals produced under the CenterStage banner. Volume One highlights his delightful children's educational music; Volume Two presents his Broadway offerings. From humorous wordplay to clever histories, romantic soliloquys to powerful rock opera duets, this music informs, inspires, entertains and satisfies.

*Available directly from Tobin Mueller. Contact him for more information.
Tobin's Other CD Collections
Tobin's Solo Piano Collection
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller is a double album featuring Mueller's reinterpretations of Bach's greatest hits (Disc 1) plus two original jazz piano suites by Mueller (Disc 2). Inventive, playful, joyous, beautiful, full of emotion and intelligence. Mueller embraces the sense of timelessness one achieves when in the state of flow, bridging the centuries, letting Bach's 300 year old manuscripts inspire through new expression. Jazz influences include Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording. Highly recommended." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice.
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller is the final addition to Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy" in which he explores the intersections of classical and jazz piano. Mueller reinterprets Chopin's most iconic piano solos (Disc 1) and uses the preludes to inspire three original jazz piano sonatas (Disc 2). Seductive, rebellious, heroic and beautiful. Jazz influences include Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water & Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. Tobin uses the written notes as if they are light and his imagination as if it is water, creating all new interpretations. This post-Impressionist music illustrates the intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music. You will never hear these works the same again. The gorgeous CD booklet is a work of art in itself, pairing an Impressionist painting with each piece. One of the three album in Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy".
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. A delightful and sometimes surprising album destined to become one of your annual holiday favorites. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely New Age background music. Its gentle intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. Influences include Aaron Copland, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz. Tobin used illustrations of 13 medieval masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and 20th Century avant-garde classical. Influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Scott Joplin, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. These pieces will startle and delight. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art." Jazziz's 2017 Critics' Choice.
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Although this is mainly an ensemble album, half the tracks on Disc 2 of this two volume recording are solo piano arrangements. Think of this is a piano album with fabulous guest artists sitting in on 2/3s of the tunes! See Standard Deviations project page for complete Liner Notes and several Bonus Tracks. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Tobin's Jazz Collection
JAZZ ENSEMBLE
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Keyboardist Tobin Mueller is joined by Grammy-winner Paul Nelson (guitars), Woody Mankowski (saxophones), Lamar Moore & Mike Nappi (percussionists) to breathe new life into 33 standards in this fresh Two Volume CD. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Bernstein, Berlin, Kern, Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Billy Strayhorn and more. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Come In Funky cover
Come In Funky Old School Funk and and small combo Jazz featuring legendary bassist Ron Carter. "You guys can play! These are, almost without exception, very complicated numbers in terms of rhythm and the general sync of solos with ensemble playing, a stellar set of recordings that, I believe, adds seriously to the body of jazz that this represents. A remarkable work in every single way I can think of. This is such a bright and happy album that is played with a spirit of invention and joy from the first notes to the last." - Paul Page
The Muller's Wheel cover
The Muller's Wheel is a collaborative project combining the talents of pianist Tobin Mueller and saxophonist Woody Mankowski, featuring their jazz quartet and their larger 8-pieace ensemble, playing swing to bop to fusion to funk. The styles of Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers, Weather Report and more influence this homage to the jazz greats. This is joyous music. "It reminds us of the happiness we relive when returning to our musical roots," say Mueller and Mankowski.
Rain Bather cover
Rain Bather is an 80 minute long play CD featuring superlative solo performances by all-star band members. Most of the tunes are in the jazz-funk-fusion vein, but many others try to break new ground, defying easy labels. Tobin Mueller - B3 organ, synth; Woody Mankowski - soprano sax; Chris Mueller - acoustic piano; Jeff Cox - acoustic bass; Dane Richeson - drums; Tom Washatka - tenor sax; Doug Schnieder - tenor sax; Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn; Bob Levy - trumpet; Sal Giorgianni - flute; Bill Barner - clarinet.
SOLO PIANO JAZZ
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art."
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Three original jazz piano sonatas make up Disc 2. Each shows Chopin influences, but draws more from contemporaries Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck and Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s - especially one with the playing chops to fulfill his or her vision." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice Award.
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Two post-bop jazz piano suites make up Disc 2. Each shows Bach influences, but draws more from contemporaries Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch and Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording project to date... a journey that inevitably explores the interactions of Baroque and jazz." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice Award.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water and Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and contemporary jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. "The listener has the sense that Mueller is having his personal conversation as a composer and pianist with these great 19th- and 20th-century composers." This is third album of "The Masterworks Trilogy" which includes Flow and Of Two Minds.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection, these New Age and Neo-Classical pieces do more than evoke emotion: they tell stories. Influences include Aaron Copland, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz, influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Rock Collection
Progressive Rock
WONDER cover
WONDER - progressive rock/pop fusion. This tour de force double album combines the power and virtuosity of prog with the intimate simplicity of lullabies. Track list alternates between vocals songs and instrumentals, giving time to contemplate Mueller's poetic lyrics. Styles transcends prog and pop, with influences of jazz, classical, electronica and world music layered throughout. Features appearances by Michael Hedges, Scott Rockenfield, Bob Piper (Pleiades), Anton Mueller (Audiocracy), Steve Stone, Aaron Paul, Lennon Loveday (Shadow of Nine), more...
Alternative Rock
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs Tobin's been accumulating for a decade, A Bit of Light includes some of his favorite collaborations with saxophonists, fiddle players and guitarists, mixing jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. World renown violinist Entcho Todorov, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin and L.A.'s Woody Mankowski, Enlish fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals: Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. Six free Bonus Tracks available here.
September 11 Project
September 11 Project cover
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.
Fusion
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Keyboardist Tobin Mueller is joined by Grammy-winner Paul Nelson (guitars), Woody Mankowski (saxophones), Lamar Moore & Mike Nappi (percussionists) to breathe new life into 33 standards in this fresh Two Volume CD. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Bernstein, Berlin, Kern, Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Billy Strayhorn and more. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Rock Musicals
Best Of CenterStage cover
TOBIN MUELLER: Best of the CenterStage Years - soundtrack/musicals. Compilation of 42 songs from Mueller's 9 musicals produced under the CenterStage banner. Volume One highlights his delightful children's pop rock educational music; Volume Two presents his rock opera and dramatic Broadway offerings. From humorous wordplay to romantic soliloquys ro rock anthems, this music informs, inspires, entertains and satisfies.
Tobin's Standards Collection
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - The only instrumental album in Tobin's "Standards" collection. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Henri Mancini, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer and more, featuring great players and innovative arrangements. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Song Of Myself cover
Song Of Myself - Tobin's favorite songs from The American Songbook, reinterpretted. Intimate, heartfelt, devistatingly honest music. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Song of Myself page. Ballads, blues, showtunes, folk rock, jazz - the music of Tobin's roots. These are songs he's song for decades, arrangements that have evolved and matured with him. "American Tune" by Paul Simon. "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan's "Dignity." A Joni Mitchell and an Elton John medly. "Being Alive" from Company (Stephen Sondheim). "Impossible Dream" from Man of la Mancha. "Oh Danny Boy." "Frozen Man" by James Taylor. Many more, plus two original songs by Tobin Mueller.
Hard Place To Find cover
Hard Place To Find - Tobin has released a second volume of his favorite songs from The American Songbook. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Hard Place To Find project page. "Still Crazy" by Paul Simon. Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" and "Bob Dylan's Dream." Richie Haven's "Paradise." "Dulcinea" from Man of la Mancha. "Alfie" by Bacharach. "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Many more, plus one original song by Tobin Mueller. All songs have to do with journeying, questing, searching. Released June 2nd, 2013. "Tobin Mueller is something of a Renaissance man of the arts, and 'Hard Place To Find' presents another volume in his prolific and impressive output. More of an art-music album than a pop release, I recommend it if you are looking for something different and deeply personal!" - Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs featuring Mueller's vocals and a long list of his best friends and collaborators, including world renown violinist Entcho Todorov, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin, L.A. saxophonist Woody Mankowski, English fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and Texan guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The music melds jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals - Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. 6 free Bonus Tracks available here.
September 11 Project cover
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.