A spokesperson for the production confirmed that the musical — a love story inspired by the historic events that occurred at Masada — will play the Chicago theatre Sept. 19-Oct. 24, 2004. Timothy Sheader, who recently helmed the workshop of Sweet Charity, will direct. There are hopes for a Broadway run in early 2005.
The new musical has lyrics by David Goldsmith and a book by Glenn Berenbeim. Masada was the site of one of the most symbolic acts in Jewish history, where rebels committed suicide rather than subjecting themselves to capture by the Romans. About the musical, composer Levy told Variety, "It is Aida crossed with Norma crossed with West Side Story . . . .Some have thought it doesn't make any sense, this story about 900 Jews who killed themselves on a mountain 2,000 years ago, but once they heard the music, they felt it."
Masada will be produced by Shuki Levy, Anita Mann of LevyMann Entertainment and veteran Broadway producer Barry Brown. Alan Wasser Associates will be the general managers, and a director will be announced shortly.
Masada debuted in Los Angeles at a charity benefit concert in 1998. That concert, which raised over $1 million for D.A.R.E., featured the talents of Jon Voight, Rita Moreno and Davis Gaines. No casting has been announced for the Chicago or Broadway productions.
Book writer Berenbeim was co-executive producer of CBS-TV's "Touched By An Angel." He has also written for "A Different World" and the PBS series "Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn." Lyricist David Goldsmith wrote the lyrics for the touring musical Hot Shoe Shuffle as well as songs for such films as "Pepita," "Set It Off," "Thief of Always" and "A Christmas Carol." His play, Hotel Buzz, has been optioned by Rent producer Kevin McCollum.