A musical version of Oscar Wilde's novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," about beauty, youth and a decadent society, is expected to be part of the 2000 Goodspeed-at-Chester/Norma Terris Theatre season in Connecticut.
The new-musicals development arm of the Goodspeed Opera House will present Dorian, by librettist-lyricist composer Richard Gleaves, May 11-June 4, under the direction of Gabriel Barre, who is fresh from Off-Broadway's decadent The Wild Party.
The musical's plot is drawn from the stylish novel: Isolated in a single room during his childhood, Dorian Gray inherits his grandfather's vast fortune and finds freedom in a decadent society that craves to exploit his innocence. Yearning to preserve his youthful beauty, Dorian forfeits his soul so his portrait ages while he remains forever young.
The dramatic musical was first developed by Goodspeed in partnership with the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and presented in a 1997 staged reading at Goodspeed-at-Chester and in 1998 at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival of New Musicals. Gleaves is a graduate of the University of North Texas. Dorian is his first musical.
This is not the first time the novel has inspired a musical: There is also an opera called The Picture of Dorian Gray, which had its American premiere by Florentine Opera in Milwaukee in spring 1999. *
As previously announced, Dorian will be followed by the world premiere of Summer of '42, Aug. 10-Sept. 3. Barre will also direct. A fall musical is still to be announced.
The season in the intimate Norma Terris in Chester, CT, offers full stagings, but the productions are not open to reviewers because the work is still in development.
Goodspeed-at-Chester subscriptions are available for $75 beginning March 26. Single tickets go on sale April 2 through the Goodspeed box office at (860) 873-8668.
-- By Kenneth Jones