Producer and former Broadway Digital Entertainment executive Andrew Barrett has written the book and lyrics to a new rock pop musical, In Sarajevo, which will receive four staged readings at the Fourth Street Theatre, Sept. 11-12.
Alan Altman is a producer-investor of the show, which has evolved since an initial private reading in Chicago during the summer of 1998. "That reading was of an early version of the play, which was titled Lords of the Sky," Barrett told Playbill On-Line. A second preview of the early version of In Sarajevo was presented at 890 Broadway in November 1998.
Barrett, who says he has never aspired to be a writer but felt he was called to tell this particular story, said the story involves six people and takes place in the span of a single evening in Sarajevo, a year and a half into the armed conflict that took place in the '90s. "We have a new script," Barrett explained, "which is based on the same people. The new version is different, because it isn't about trying to become an Americanized musical of Sarajevo."
"It's about six friends and how they make it through the night during the siege," Barrett explained. "It's about how the situation drives them to survive and believe in hope." Barrett said there is a love story involving two characters separated by the war, and that the plot addresses fundamental issues like why some people don't just leave a region the minute the first bomb drops.
"The story helps people understand that innocence is not stupidity," Barrett said. "It helps them understand the conflict without being threatened." Directed by Coy Middlebrook, Tina Landau's assistant on Bells Are Ringing, the creative ream for In Sarajevo comprises composer Ira Antelis and musical director Steven Oremus (musical director for MTC's Wild Party and Stephen Schwartz new work, Wicked).
The cast for the staged reading of In Sarajevo will be Jason Paige, Lori Scarlett, Dana Meller, Manoel Felciano, Julie Dingman and Chris Diamantopoulos. A seventh cast member will be announced.
For further information on the reading at Fourth Street Theatre call (917) 592-5662. -- By Murdoch McBride