Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A New Musical Next Season

Plus the return of an old favourite. Richard Ouzounian reports:

"Making its return for the first time since 1999 will be West Side Story, the Jerome Robbins/Arthur Laurents/Stephen Sondheim street-gang retelling of Romeo and Juliet. (A Broadway revival, by the way, is expected to open in January 2009).

"Talented Chicago stager Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) is being talked about as the Stratford director and, in a nice piece of symmetry, Sergio Trujillo is reportedly returning to choreograph.

"It was Trujillo's work on the 1999 Stratford production that led him down the path that brought him to his close association with McAnuff and his current worldwide success with Jersey Boys, opening [in Toronto] on Aug. 21.

"The other musical we hear being set for next year is reasonably new and it involves a little bit of crow-eating on my part.

"I wrote several months ago that as soon as McAnuff was announced as a member of the Stratford team, people started falsely predicting he would bring commercial projects he had been working on to Stratford.

"Well, he didn't. Not the first year.

"However, it now seems likely that a show he has been working on for some time will hit the Stratford stage next year.

"It's called Zhivago and it's based on the Boris Pasternak novel, Doctor Zhivago, later turned into a famed 1965 David Lean movie.

"The music is by Lucy Simon (sister of Carly), best known for The Secret Garden, the book by Michael Weller (Moonchildren), with lyrics by Michael Korrie and Amy Powers.

"It was workshopped extensively in La Jolla before finally opening on May 24, 2006, to mixed reviews that called it everything from 'sprawling, ambitious and occasionally stirring' to 'dizzying, but never tedious. Still it rarely, if ever, packs an emotional wallop.'

"McAnuff and Trujillo shared the staging duties in La Jolla.

"It's expected they will do the same at Stratford.

"And sorry to disappoint you, but 'Somewhere, My Love' is not in the score."

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