Gavin Creel stars in this surprisingly touching and often deafening musical retelling of the Greek myth.
It's also, improbably, touching and thought-provoking, thanks largely to a poetically adapted script by Steven Sater, who here illumines Greek mythology much as he did sexual repression in 1890s Germany with Spring Awakening. Still, it might be a good idea to go in knowing the general outline of the story in order to fully absorb the goings-on.
True to the play's title, Prometheus (Gavin Creel) is constrained a good portion of the time, but that doesn't prevent him from writhing and howling in protest. Sater, in fact, sees this Zeus-defier as the prototypal political prisoner -- and each night, a curtain speech draws attention to persecuted dissidents singled out by Amnesty International.
Prometheus' punishable offense was to favor humans with the gift of fire (hitherto a Zeus exclusive), and for that he's chained to a rock by a gang of villainous demigods. Leading the pack, decked out in full black-leather butch regalia, is the redoubtable jazz diva Lea DeLaria, who gets to do a bit of scatting later on -- pretty much the only time the milling crowd goes silent, out of awed respect.
She starts out evilly cackling, and there's some cause for trepidation during the opening scenes, when -- with all the bondage and Tasering -- Prometheus threatens to veer into an exercise in stylized sadism. Then the "daughters of the aether" -- a trio of rock lovelies -- swoop in with sighs of solace, and the focus turns back to Prometheus and just what statement he's trying to make.