Massachusetts' American Repertory Theatre production of Aristophanes' Lysistrata begins performances May 10 after much ado.
A.R.T. founding member and Tony Award winner Cherry Jones stars in the production under the direction of Andrei Serban at the Loeb Drama Center through June 9. The staging will then transfer to Philadelphia's Prince Music Theatre June 15-30.
The originally announced adaptation subtitled (Sex and the City-State) by Larry Gelbart with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Zippel was dropped by A.R.T. Instead, they went with an adaptation by A.R.T. artistic director Robert Brustein, with original music by Galt MacDermot and lyrics by Matty Selman.
Gelbart told The New York Observer he was told Feb. 5 that actress Cherry Jones, production designer Michael Yeargan and director Andrei Serban were not happy with his, Menken and Zippel's version and were uncomfortable being a part of it. Brustein told The Boston Globe the Gelbart version is "ferociously obscene — much more than Aristophanes." He also told the Beantown paper the new play does not adhere very closely to the classic, and "it's almost a play of its own. It comes out of a tradition of American burlesque."
Of the Gelbart version, Brustein told The Globe: "It was Disneyfied. And the whole thing was moving more in the direction of a Broadway play than any of us wanted." The Greek classic comedy about how the women of Athens, weary of the years of war with Sparta, unite to withhold sex from their battling beaus. Jones heads a cast that includes Karen MacDonald, Chelsey Rives, Paula Plum, Hannah Bos, Stephanie Roth-Haberle, Amber Allison, Will LeBow, Thomas Derrah, Alvin Epstein, Jeremy Geidt, Remo Airaldi, Benjamin Evett, Remo Airaldi and Craig Doescher.
Serban's creative team features set design by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Maria Draghici, lighting by John Ambrosone and sound by David Remedios. Handling music director duties is Michael Friedman.
For tickets to any of the productions at A.R.T., 64 Brattle Street, just outside Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, call (617) 547-8300. For more information, visit their website at www.amrep.org. Also visit thePrince Music Theatre's website.