It started with a title. The Texas Chainsaw Musical! is the birth-child of author Christopher Minori. At the time, he had written some short stories, and gotten one published, but had not worked on any large projects. While performing in a play, Minori joked that his next project was The Texas Chainsaw Musical!. Enough people kept asking when it would be done, and Minori had always loved theatre, so he decided to take a go at it. He wanted to use the title, but not really base it on the film, which had a limited story line. So he decided to base it on Ed Gein, the notorious serial killer and cannibal that movies such as Psycho, Texas Chainsaw and Silence of the Lambs had based elements on. The only holdover from the movie is the setting of Texas, although the town of Plainfield does not exist (Gein lived in Plainfield, WI). Minori completed the script, but he had a musical with no music. Being a huge fan of a then little-known Danny Elfman, he wrapped the show around songs from Elfman’s band, Oingo Boingo. The first draft was vastly different than the play in its current format. Minori tried to get permission to use Elfman’s music, but was turned down. He spent the next couple of years looking for a composer. When Minori caught back up with his best friend from high school, Cory Bytof, he asked him to try composing for the play, and Cory ran with it. Bytof not only created a soundtrack that has drawn in countless audiences, but was a driving force in story-pacing and character development.
Minori and Bytof’s first production was a staged-reading, where they got to see an audience reaction for the first time. While there was some things that the audience liked (especially the music), there was a lot they didn’t respond to, so a new draft was started. Next stop was the famed San Francisco Fringe Festival, the Sundance of independant theatre. The play was well-received, and sold out all shows immediately. While running at Fringe, Bytof was approached by a producer for the Willows Theatre. A month long run was produced, again with great reviews, and sold out shows. Since then, the play has been produced in Ohio multiple times, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachussetts, and others. In 2012, the show was named one of the top 10 productions of that year by The Cleveland Plain Dealer.