Herman Melville's sweeping, romantic epic, "Pierre," gets a world premiere stage adaptation May 9-June 8 by Denver Center Theatre Company, the Tony Award-honored troupe committed to new works.
The 19th-century story closes the 2001-2002 season of DCTC, and is part of the annual spring TheatreFest of new plays and readings.
The 1852 novel by the author of "Moby-Dick" was called "Pierre, or The Ambiguities" and was not well received by the public. Bruce K. Sevy directs on The Stage Theatre. Official opening is May 16.
According to production notes, "Theatregoers will journey back to the Berkshires and New York City of the 19th century where romance flourished and passion's blood was often spilled on a field of honor." Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (Three Viewings, Scotland Road, Work Song, One Foot on the Floor and Bon Voyage) "was drawn to Herman Melville's critically unpopular novel 'Pierre; or The Ambiguities' because the work, while difficult to read, was music to the ears when spoken. He envisioned an operatic swirl on stage in the style of a Victorian melodrama and the result is the Denver Center world premiere..."
For director and associate artistic director for new play development, Bruce K. Sevy who introduced the script of Pierre at the company's TheatreFest 2000 new play readings, "the scope of Melville's story is matched only by the scope of the production — an acting company of 27 performing more than 60 roles and a production design challenged to effortlessly transport the audience through 150 rapidly changing scenes." Director Sevy's artistic staff includes Gary Grundei, composer of Pierre's original score; and Colleen Kelly (resident fight director at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, making her Denver Center debut), director of the fight sequences and choreographer of the waltzes.
Designers are Vicki Smith (set), whose design includes a series of clouded sky scrims in sepia tones; Kevin Copenhaver and Andrew V. Yelusich (costumes), Dan Darnutzer (lighting), David R. White (sound).
Christopher Kelly (DCTC's Much Ado About Nothing and The Cripple of Inishmaan) plays the title role of Pierre Glendinning. He is joined by principal members of the cast Morgan Hallett as Isabel, Gordana Rashovich as Mary Glendinning, Caitlin O'Connell as Dorothea Glendinning, John G. Preston (making his DCTC debut) as Glen Glendinning, Shannon Koob as Lucy Tartan and Aaron Serotsky as Charlie Millthorpe.
Tickets are $26-$42. For information, call (303) 893-4100 or visit denvercenter.orgwww.denvercenter.org.
— By Kenneth Jones