"Trapped in the Closet is an alien," said R. Kelly last night. "I'm glad to be one of the astronauts to take this trip to a place unknown."
It was another bit of loony lyrical beauty meant to preface the megalithic pop star's beautifully loony lyrical odyssey, Trapped in the Closet. IFC premiered the next volume of Kelly's absurd r&b opera on Monday evening at New York City's Sunshine Theater, which airs this Friday, and though the official invite promised the Robert Sylvester's presence, we confess harboring a healthy skepticism that the Soulacoaster author would even show, given his recent string of cancellations. But he did, in a dapper suit with red leather gloves and prop cigar. Perfectly creased, his temples shiny and sleek, Robert Sylvester Kelly was graciously disarming at every point.
After his brief introduction and the 40-minute-or-so screening (more on the episodes here by our man Rich), Kells submitted to a question-and-answer session with E! correspondent Alicia Quarles. There were a few things to be learned from this dialogue, including that Kells's favorite movie is Star Wars ("When I was nine years old, I went on a field trip and watched Star Wars and I was like, ‘Wow! Luke is awesome!'"), the singer considers himself "a scientist of music," and that this particular saga won't be over anytime soon.
"I got 85 chapters sitting in the studio, waiting for you guys," he told the audience. Quite a lot considering the night began with #23.
But most interesting detail of all was Kelly's announcement that he'd "just got an offer from Broadway to do a Broadway version."
"Would you star in it?" nudged his interviewer. "Are we gonna see you singing on Broadway?"
"Some of the cities, I can't guarantee all of them, and that's what's being negotiated right now because it takes a lot of time to do these chapters—I'm the only one in the studio writing these chapters," he reminded us. But he's already started adapting the script for the stage, he said. Think "Bridget," "midget," and the Macy's Day Parade.
And then R. Kelly led the crowd in an impromptu "I Believe I Can Fly" singalong and it was awesome.
[photo from IFC.com]