Composer and lyricist Mark Weiser is organizing a fundraiser to support the development of his new musical, Ivanhoe, based on Walter Scott's 1819 novel. Weiser tells Playbill On-Line that there will be a reading of Ivanhoe at the Salon (45 Bleecker Street) on June 19.
At the Mazer, Weiser plans a party with an open bar and disc jockey followed by a midnight performance by the band Kissing Judas. Admission to this fundraiser is $20 and all proceeds go to support the Ivanhoe reading.
Based on Scott's novel, Weiser's Ivanhoe is a swashbuckling adventure that explores post-Crusade, Plantagenet themes with a decidedly poignant twist.
"I've adapted the novel," Weiser explained, "and rather than using The Scarlet Pimpernel or Robin Hood and any number of other source works, I chose this one because it contains two strong, dominant Jewish characters -- Isaac of York and his beautiful daughter, Rebecca."
Weiser was intrigued by the idea of the father and daughter struggling to eke out a living while straddling the fence between the Normans and Saxons, both driven by their desire for Rebecca, who is written as "the most beautiful girl in all England." "Rebecca is a prototypical Disney ingenue -- 17 going on 30," Weiser said. "She's well-educated but sheltered by her widowed and over-protective father. The fact that she's Jewish lends a whole religious angle to story."
"Those are the guys I listen to," Weiser said, "because those are the guys who started bridging the gap between a pop form of music and incorporating that style into theatre.
One of Weiser's earlier works, The Cure featured a modern style itself, but Ivanhoe represents a new direction for the composer.
"I grew up as a dance music and rock and roll/pop writer," Weiser said. "Ivanhoe is my attempt at a more mainstream project."
For further information contact Mark Weiser at (212) 673-4813 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride