By Kristen Fiandaca
The 33-year-old New Yorker with a tousled head of blond hair doesn’t exaggerate. He’s taken his life story and turned it into a critically acclaimed one-man music show, The Lion, that kicks off the Merrimack Repertory Theater’s new season Aug. 26.
“The Lion is me trying to tell the truth the best way I know how,” Scheuer says.
Originally from the small town of Larchmont, N.Y., he began playing music before the age of 3, when his father gave him a homemade banjo constructed from a cookie tin, rubber bands and an old necktie.
He hasn’t stopped strumming on strings since.
Stripped down, honest and incredibly heartfelt, The Lion follows Scheuer from boyhood to manhood and tackles some dark personal themes including a stormy father/son relationship. The same gentle man who turned him onto music, was also prone to bursts of cruelty.
“My relationship with my father was a tumultuous one,” he says. “I’ve tried my best to understand and make peace with my father in order to make peace with myself.”
From family to chemotherapy, to love, Scheuer exorcises demons and finds peace in a story told through six different guitars, including his personal favorite — a 1929 Martin 018, which plays the role of his dad’s old guitar in the show.
Scheuer’s road to a theater stage started by gigging and performing autobiographical acoustic songs in front of audiences around New York’s Greenwich Village. It’s how the idea for The Lion was born.
“I wanted to play the best gig I could, and so I wrote a script,” he says.
The play, directed by MRT’s own Artistic Director Sean Daniels, made its debut in New York City in 2014. Its return signals the power of Scheuer’s writing and stage presence.
While his performance is filled with a sweet folk-rock flavor, catchy choruses and moments of thunderous energy, the singer-songwriter credits a wide variety of artists for influencing his theatrical style from Eminem and Kendrick Lamar to Nine Inch Nails, Paris Monster and Eddie Van Halen.
“I’ve always been in love with music,” Scheuer says.
To learn more and purchase tickets visit mrt.org.