Composer Sheik comes from a younger modern-rock generation than Elton John and the cohort of '60s heroes who have fueled the "jukebox musical" genre that relies on proven catalogs of hits. He grew up interested in musical theater as well as rock and decided to try his hand as a stage composer when approached in the late '90s by Sater, a poet and playwright he had met in a Buddhist group to which they both belonged.

Another Mayer-directed musical by a rocker who emerged in the '90s, Patti's Griffin's "10 Million Miles," is now playing at the Atlantic Theater Company, the same off-Broadway theater that spawned "Spring Awakening." Meanwhile, "Passing Strange," by the veteran L.A. alt-rocker Stew (Mark Stewart), has won glowing reviews in its current New York run at the Public Theater, and Des McAnuff, who staged two of the most successful jukebox musicals -- "The Who's Tommy" and "Jersey Boys" -- is working on a musical with the Oklahoma alt-rock band the Flaming Lips.

mike.boehm@latimes.com

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Boehm reported from Los Angeles and Pacheco from New York.

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TOP WINNERS

Musical: "Spring Awakening"

Actor, Musical

David Hyde Pierce, "Curtains"

Actress, Musical

Christine Ebersole, "Grey Gardens"

Play: "The Coast of Utopia"

Actor, Play

Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"

Actress, Play

Julie White, "The Little Dog Laughed"

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