Composer-Lyricist Holds Fundraiser for Ivanhoe, April 15

News   Composer-Lyricist Holds Fundraiser for Ivanhoe, April 15 Composer and lyricist Mark Weiser will hold an April 15 fundraiser to support the development of his new musical, Ivanhoe, based on Walter Scott's 1819 novel.

Composer and lyricist Mark Weiser will hold an April 15 fundraiser to support the development of his new musical, Ivanhoe, based on Walter Scott's 1819 novel.

As reported earlier, Weiser told Playbill On-Line that the fundraiser will help support a planned reading of Ivanhoe at the Salon (45 Bleecker Street) on June 19.

On April 15 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."

Weiser grew up as a dance and rock 'n' roll writer, but in theatre he said his influences include Alan Menken, David Zippel, Claude Michel Schoenberg and Alain Boublil.

"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 asongulove@aol.com.

-- By Murdoch McBride