Opera Santa Barbara has commissioned the opera, which will premiere Sept. 26 at the Grenada, with additional performances on Oct. 2 and 4.
Based on the novel by Mark McShane and the subsequent screenplay by Bryan Forbes, the opera features a score and libretto by Schwartz and will be staged by his son, Scott Schwartz. Scott Schwartz has staged the Broadway productions of Golda's Balcony, Jane Eyre and the recent Off-Broadway production of Rooms: A Rock Romance.
Lauren Flanigan, who has performed the role of medium Myra Foster since the early workshops of Séance, will star in a cast that will also feature Kim Josephson (Bill), Hila Plitman (Mrs. Clayton), John Kimberling (Mr. Clayton) and Craig Hart (Inspector Watts).
Additional casting will be announced shortly. Séance on a Wet Afternoon will have designs by Tony winner Heidi Ettinger (scenic design), Tony nominee David Lander (lighting design) and Alejo Vietti (costume designer). Valery Ryvkin will conduct. Opera Santa Barbara describes Séance on a Wet Afternoon as "a psychological thriller about a medium, Myra Foster, her doting husband Bill, and the spirit of their deceased eleven-year-old son, Arthur, who speaks to Myra and is her contact for her séances. Because Myra has never received the recognition she feels her gifts merit, they hatch a Plan: They will kidnap the daughter of a local wealthy industrialist, and keep her safe while the media frenzy over her abduction builds. When Myra has a 'vision' that leads to the successful recovery of the girl and the ransom, her fame will be assured. As The Plan is put into action, the girl's presence in the house leads to complex psychological responses from Myra, Bill, and Arthur. The delicate balance of Myra and Bill's relationship and Myra's sanity itself begins to fray, as long-buried secrets are revealed. The Plan goes badly awry, and in Myra's final séance, the drama comes to a devastating conclusion."
Opera Santa Barbara is also keeping fans abreast of the opera's progress through a series of video diaries on Facebook, which includes a trailer and a recording of the prologue to Séance.
Stephen Schwartz, a five-time Tony nominee for the scores of Pippin, Godspell, Working, Wicked and his lyrics for Rags, has earned Academy Awards for "Pocahontas" and "The Prince of Egypt." He also earned three Academy Award nominations for his work on "Enchanted." Schwartz also received Grammy Awards for the recordings of Wicked, Godspell and "Pocahontas."
Tickets for Séance will go on sale to the general public July 15. Tickets will be available by visiting OperaSB, or by phoning (805) 899-2222.
For further information, visit SeancetheOpera.